By Fred Hanson
The Patriot Ledger
MILTON – Sculptor Fred Manasse’s first reaction was anger when he heard a portion of the memorial he made for his sister and 1.5 million Jewish children killed in the Holocaust was stolen.
Gone were the two bronze Stars of David of “Myriam’s” Memorial,” one of which included two small hands. They were removed from their marble base in Milton Cemetery last weekend.
A Holocaust survivor, Manasse felt that something he created to recall history’s greatest “hate crime” could contain a valuable lesson in an election year where issues of race and religion have played a central role.
“This history seems to now have been transformed into hating Muslims, Hispanics and other groups as well,” Manasse said in a statement read by School Superintendent Mary Gormley during a vigil at the cemetery Thursday night.
“I cannot help but think that now, when its desecration has left it bare of its bronze stars and hands, it can be even more important in its meaning to young people who have seen it,” he said.
“Now it can serve to remind people who have never thought of how many Jewish children we could have saved during second war years had there not been such bigotry toward Jewish refugees,” wrote Manasse, who also lost his parents due to racial policies of the Nazis.
More than 100 people, including town and school officials, attended the event. It included prayers, the reading of a proclamation from the town’s selectmen and the lighting of six candles, which took the place of the missing sculpture.
Cemetery Director Therese Desmond said that it has been an honor to house the memorial.
She said she hopes to host a similar event “when the memorial is made whole again.”
Rabbi Alfred Benjamin of Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills said he was “ecstatic” with the turnout and the support his congregation has received from the community.
“I have no doubt this will be resolved in a positive way,” he said.
Milton Police Chief John King said the department is actively investigating the incident. Detectives searched the cemetery and nearby woods, and firefighters searched the adjacent pond without locating the piece. They have also checked with scrap metal dealers to see if there has been an attempt to sell it.
Anyone with with information on the missing sculpture is asked to contact Milton police detectives at 617-698-3800, the crime tips hotline at 617-698-COPS, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the original article at The Patriot Ledger.