BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio — One of America's first Holocaust memorials is one step closer to receiving national recognition.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill that would officially designate the Kol Israel Holocaust Monuument in Bedford Heights as a national landmark. The bill is sponsored by Northeast Ohio Rep. Shontel Brown and passed via a voice vote, with a member of the Kol Israel Foundation's board in Washington, D.C. to witness the moment.
Back in the 1950s and '60s, a group of Holocaust survivors who had settled in Greater Cleveland after World War II worked to form the Kol Israel Foundation. The Holocaust Monument at Zion Memorial Park was officially dedicated in 1961 as a tribute to those who lost so many family members at the hands of Nazi Germany, and the organization believes it to be "the first of its kind in the country."
"It's amazing for our community and communities beyond," Kol Israel Foundation Executive Director Hallie Duchon told 3News. "It needs to happen. It's very important so that it's a part of people who never forget about the Holocaust and that it did happen. It will keep the stories alive and the stories of people who went through these atrocities."
After years of working to push this legislation through the House floor, the foundation says it is thrilled but that the work isn't done just led, as the bill still needs to pass through the Senate and eventually be signed by President Joe Biden. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown has sponsored a similar measure in the upper chamber.