In 1984, a small group of Holocaust survivors joined together to develop a permanent memorial in Miami to the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. A year later, the Holocaust Memorial Committee was formally established as a private non-profit organization.
The committee decided that Miami Beach was the perfect location for such a memorial, as South Florida has one of the highest populations of Holocaust survivors in the United States, with many of them residing within the city limits.
As preparations were being made to build the Memorial, there were those who objected to its erection. Several disapproved, arguing that Miami Beach was a place for “sun and fun” and the Memorial would be too somber for the vacation destination.
“Gloom is doom! Don’t turn one of this city’s few bright spots into a cemetery,” said Miami Beach Garden Club member Florence Shubim. In the mid-80s, the Garden Club had plans to expand their center adjacent to where the Memorial stands, which were quashed by the Memorial’s proposed footprint.
Others said the Memorial’s presence on city-owned land violated the separation of Church and State, arguing it was a religious monument. While the Memorial is in memo