"It's something that has happened to many Jews in recent years, 'this concern about 'Will our children remember?' " she said. "We were very concerned that something be done to keep the (Holocaust) memory alive from generation to generation. And not
just for Jews. If the civil rights of anyone are threatened, then everyone is threatened. We hope the presence of this sculpture will be a reminder of what the Holocaust means to humanity. It's good to remember how fragile a thing freedom really is."
The memorial was funded by congregation members. The committee selected McCroskey as the artist because committee' members were impressed with her previous work.
McCroskey studied at the Maryland Art Institute in Balfimore, where she became interested in sculpture. A Seattle native, she said .growing up around mountains led to her interest in landscapes.
She recently sold some of her work to General Telephone Company of Indiana for its local corporate collection; but this is her first public work.
McCroskey,who is not Jewish, said she read accounts of the Holocaust, watched several Public Broadcasting System programs on the period and discussed the Holocaust with synagogue officials and members.
"You certainly don't have to be Jewish to have sympathy for the nightmare that was the Holocaust," she said. "It was an education for me to understand what really happened. But even more, this helped me get to know the people at the synagogue."
McCroskey made several models of her design and began work on the actual sculpture in January.
The memorial was dedicated May 4. Some elderly people cried and young people approached the work to place their hands in the palm prints.
A week later, McCroskey said she believes she captured the intent and mood she wanted.
"Of course, it's only successful if the people on the committee and in the congregation are happy with it - if they think it communicates what they want," she said.
A white-haired woman couldn't pass by the memorial without stopping and pointing out to the strangers looking at it two names on the end of the bricks. They were members of her family who died during the Holocaust.
It was a simple action, but little else could better demonstrate the memorial’s main purpose. To remember.