David Adelman

In 1964, America’s first Holocaust memorial was unveiled in central Philadelphia at the head of Benjamin Franklin Parkway. More than 50 years later, the location surrounding this historically significant monument houses an interactive plaza, the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza, a living monument to the 6 million lives lost in the Holocaust. The new plaza opened in October 2018 with onsite installations to inspire visitors to remember and reflect. To enhance the experience, USC Shoah Foundation developed a testimony-based app featuring IWalk to orient visitors, ground the experience in the local context and keep the memory of the Holocaust alive through the stories of individuals who lived through it. At each section of the plaza, users will be able to listen to testimony discussing topics addressed in the permanent installation. Now the nearly 3 million annual visitors to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be able to contemplate and reflect on the history of the Holocaust and its lasting impact with the witnesses as their guides. An even broader, global audience can also experience the Plaza through IWitness, where users can access the app and explore the memorial. Board of Councilors member and long time Philadelphia resident David Adelman, inspired by his grandfather Sam Wasserman’s story of escape from a Nazi death camp and subsequent survival, was instrumental in bringing the plaza to life. “I think it’s more important than ever to guard and honor the legacy of survivors like my grandfather by supporting organizations like USC Shoah Foundation,” Adelman said. “And spaces like Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza show us how testimony can be used in different and engaging ways.”