DES MOINES, Iowa — On Wednesday, the Iowa Holocaust Memorial was rededicated and open to the public once again.
In 2022, members of the Iowa Jewish community made it known that the memorial was falling apart. Lawmakers passed $100,000 in funds to renovated the monument.
“To reaffirm our categorical rejection of antisemitism we invested $100,000 to restore this memorial so that for years to come it will serve as a reminder that such hatred is not confined to the pages of history. That whenever and wherever it occurs it must be rejected,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
State lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were in attendance Wednesday morning along with leaders in Iowa’s Jewish community.
“Because we are rapidly losing all firsthand witnesses of the atrocities from concentration camps memorials like this very one play an increasing, really important role in educating our youth and adults about what happens when evil is left unchecked or not confronted by truth,” said Michael Wolnerman, the son of Iowa’s last known Holocaust survivor David Wolnermen. David just passed away at the beginning of September.
Iowans gathered around the memorial after the ceremony to look at the refurbishing. One woman was eager to see her father’s photo on the structure.
“This one is my father,” said Lola Szneler, pointing at her father Jacob. Lola is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. She was at the initial dedication a decade ago and knew it was important to be there again. “It’s beautifully done. And to know that Iowa is the only state that has one for the Holocaust is amazing and says a lot about our state and our people here.”
Iowa is the only state with a Holocaust memorial on the State Capitol building grounds. Another man said that with the Hamas terror attacks in Israel just weeks ago, the memorial is a reminder.
“To know that beyond the Jewish community there are so many Iowans standing with us, alongside us, means a lot to the small community here,” said David Ginsburg, from Des Moines.
Gov. Reynolds said that the lights at the Iowa State Capitol building will be blue and white in support of Israel. She also signed a proclamation, calling the week of October 22 to be Blue Ribbon week, asking Iowans to stand in solidarity with Israel by wearing a blue ribbon.