Chaim was born in Russia in 1927. He and his family fled Russia to escape the oppressive communist regime and moved to Tel Aviv, Israel in 1931. In 1943, at the age of 16, Chaim joined a special unit in the Haganah to defend his country and its new settlers from Arab attacks. In 1948 the state of Israel was born, and the Haganah became known as the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). After World War II, Chaim bravely helped Jewish refugees from European death camps enter Israel and settle there, often at grave personal risk. Chaim continued to serve in the IDF until 1950 and spent an additional six years in the reserves.
The horrors Chaim observed in his youth remained buried in his subconscious. Between 1933 and 1945, Jews in Nazi occupied lands were forced to wear yellow Stars of David on their clothing containing the inscription "Jude."
As Chaim thought of the Stars of David, he felt the suffering of six million souls. He was determined to preserve his reaction and that of millions of survivors for the next generation. He directly observed the pain of the survivors of the concentration camps and his compassion kept those raw emotions alive though deeply buried. Years later, Chaim’s visit to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum caused his feelings to surface. Seeing the atrocities of the Holocaust left him angry and emotional, and he was determined to create a visual expression that would preserve the victims’ memories of their experience for future generations. This unleashing of emotions eventually led to what would become the concept for the Holocaust Memorial’s design.
Michael took this project from conception through maturity. He adapted the original design for structural and aesthetic soundness, all the while maintaining the integrity of Chaim’s vision. He labored for many months, seeking the perfect balance in this multi medium design.
Michael is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute. He has been featured in numerous publications and is well known for his many metro area sculptures and other metal work, including “Aileron” in Nashville, “Ascension” in Duluth, Ga and “Victory” in Milton, Ga. As well, over the past two decades Michael has built high end Architectural pieces for many homes in the Southeast including recent work in the new Mercedes Benz stadium. Visit Michael’s website at www.dillonforge.com.
Olivia immediately connected with our project, understanding our concept for the connection between the monument and the memorial garden. She painstakenly created a design of plantings that flowed in color, texture and bloom season. Olivia’s spiritual vision guided her from the monument to the gardens to fulfill our vision for the compliment and connection between the two.
Olivia has a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia, and over 30 years experience in the landscape industry. She is a published author and a frequent guest lecturer at professional events and educational institutions.
Machiko’s stonework design added depth and dimension to the plaza surrounding the monument. She was also vital in the integration of the stonework atop the monument with the lighting fixtures that illuminate the flame of the monument.
When all others advised that the monument could not be engraved in the manner we desired after it had been placed on site, Kenny and Josh came to the rescue. Artisans extraordinaire, they made trip after trip to the site, postponing multiple times because the conditions were not perfect for their task at hand. Weather, temperature, stencils – all had to be perfect before they would begin. Their final product is a reminder to all of the breadth of countries involved in the mass genocide of millions of innocent people.
Steven is a master electrician, originally from South Africa. Debuting in this type of lighting design, Steven worked tirelessly to achieve the desired lighting effect for the illumination of the flame of the monument and surrounding gardens, which was no easy task.
Without Marc’s assistance, we would still be looking at a jungle of underbrush, instead of a beautifully landscaped Memorial Garden. Marc was dedicated to clearing the area so that we could design and plant our garden. A long time member of our community, we are so very grateful for Marc’s tireless efforts to assist with this project.
Marc and his wife Sandye, began their affiliation with Chabad with Rabbi Yankel , of Blessed Memory, and Faye Kranz in Richmond, VA in the 1970's. Marc and Sandye are original members of Chabad of Cobb with Rabbi Ruvi and Ahuva New. They continue their support of Chabad of Cobb and Rabbi Ephraim and Channi Silverman.
Kristine graciously designed the dedication plaques that stand at the edge of the Memorial Garden. With an abundance of patience, Kristine enabled us to memorialize the highlights surrounding the establishment of the monument and garden.
Kristine is an Associate Professor and adviser of the Graphic Design Club at the School of Art and Design at Kennesaw State University.