President Joe Biden signed a bill on December 23 to designate the Kol Israel Foundation Holocaust Memorial as the first National Holocaust Memorial in the United States.
The memorial at Zion Memorial Park at 5451 Northfield Road in Bedford Heights was built by Holocaust survivors and dedicated in 1961.
The National Memorial designation gives greater protection to the Holocaust memorial, makes damage or destruction of the site a federal crime and raises the profile of the Holocaust memorial, said Andrew Mizsak, a board member of the non-Jewish Kol Israel Foundation and a consultant on the project, who also worked to get the historic landmark, he previously told the Cleveland Jewish News.
In April, the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Warrensville Heights, and the U.S. Senate, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland. It was passed in the Parliament on September 19.
The bill was part of an omnibus bill that passed the Senate on Dec. 22 by a vote of 68-29 and the Senate on Dec. 23 by a vote of 226-201, before going to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
Robert Zelwin, president of the Kol Israel Foundation, told CJN on December 23, “As time goes on, people forget history, and this will be a lasting memory for those people who died in the Holocaust.” vote of the Assembly. “… We remember those who were lost, but we also remember those who built this monument in 1961, including my parents and a group of other people who had the foresight to actually (10 to 12) years after they came to this country.”
He shared that the bill also had bipartisan support, both locally and nationally, from U.S. Representative Dave Joyce and U.S. Senator Rob Portman, among others in and out of the state.
The memorial received an Ohio Historic Landmark in 2017 and the foundation may seek to add the monument to the National Register of Historic Places and designate it as a National Historic Landmark.
“This is the most important of all because this makes it a National Memorial site,” Zelwin said of the national memorial designation. “And a lot of people like to go around and see different places, national memorials. And this might be the first one in the entire country that’s connected to the Holocaust.”
The Holocaust Memorial is owned by the Kol Israel Foundation on land in Zion Memorial Park, which is owned by the Zion Memorial Park Association.
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