Atlanta’s Eternal Life-Hemshech was founded in 1964 by a group of Holocaust survivors who commissioned the creation of a Memorial to the Six Million at Greenwood Cemetery. Hemshech means continuation in Hebrew, and for these survivors who had no burial place to honor their loved ones, the Memorial is truly sacred ground — both as a grieving site and a place to say kaddish. Since its dedication in 1965, the Memorial has been the site of Atlanta’s annual community Yom HaShoah service.
Some twenty years later, with foresight and love, members of Eternal Life-Hemshech established a legacy endowment fund at Federation to support the Memorial. Significantly, the fund was intended not merely for physical upkeep, but to fund programming that would expand public understanding of the Holocaust. The endowment has provided scholarships for students and teachers to engage in Holocaust studies and has brought many Jewish cultural events and Holocaust scholars to Atlanta.
The founders of the Memorial have fully funded the endowment since its origin. Now, as the principal draws down, they are hopeful that the Atlanta Jewish community will step up and honor its relevance by providing a new era of financial support.
Atlanta native Karen Lansky Edlin has taken up that cause. She is the current president of Eternal Life-Hemshech, and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, both of whom were founders of the Memorial. Karen’s mother, Lola Lansky, worked closely with Benjamin Hirsch and Abe Besser, who guided the design and construction of the site, and was instrumental in establishing the endowment to sustain it. (Hirsch was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and was a child survivor rescued by the Kindertransports to France.)
As the world loses its remaining Holocaust survivors and as global antisemitism rises, Karen Edlin is understandably passionate about maintaining the Memorial and renewing attention to this unique public site. “The Memorial is a surprisingly little-known site with enormous historical significance,” she explains. “It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 and deserves to be remembered and preserved.” Edlin is currently spearheading a $211,000 fundraising campaign to repair the Memorial’s six 20-foot-high gas torches representing the six million by adding new gas lines, electronic starters, cleaning and waxing all the plaques, repointing of the walls, and so much more.
“The Memorial is a gift Atlanta survivors left to us. It’s an important place in our city and state that holds many deep personal stories. I hope that by strengthening the fund that Atlanta’s survivors started, we will continue to tell those stories for as long as there are generations willing to listen.”
Please consider a gift to Eternal Life-Hemshech in support of Atlanta’s public Memorial to the Six Million. Your donation will not only restore the Memorial, it can teach new generations how to understand and uphold the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.