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Boston Holocaust Memorial Rededicated After Vandalism

BOSTON (CBS) - Boston's Holocaust Memorial is whole again, and has been rededicated with a message of remembrance and hope.

The glass memorial was vandalized just two weeks ago. Today, the community came together to say nothing will destroy the meaning of the memorial. With the tug of a few ropes, a piece of fabric dropped unveiling a new glass panel replacing the damaged one.

"We remember this time when the fact that people were created in the image of God was forgotten. And at that moment, women and men and babies and children were thrown into the fire," said Barry Shrage, the president of Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial in Boston. (WBZ-TV)

At the end of June, a man authorities say suffers from mental illness threw a rock through one of the panels. When the memorial was built more than 20 years ago, the organizers knew vandalism was possible and they created extra panels. That's why the new one could be installed so quickly.

"It's very important to remember what this memorial stands for, who it represents and the horrific events it speaks to," Gov. Charlie Baker told the gathering today.

holocaust memorial damaged
Boston's Holocaust Memorial damaged by vandal (Ben Parker/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

The panels on the memorial's 6 towers are etched with millions of numbers that represent tattoos on the arms of the Jews murdered by the Nazis. "It stands as a clear commitment that we will never forget what happened during the Holocaust," Mayor Marty Walsh said.

Politicians and community leaders spoke today, but none more memorably than Izzy Arbeiter, a Holocaust survivor. "Yes, I do remember. After five and a half years as an inmate in six concentration camps including Auschwitz, I remember every day of my life," he said.

Others who joined today's rededication included Steve Ross, another survivor who is one of the founders of the memorial, and former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn who was instrumental in finding a home for the structure in the heart of Boston.

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