University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


George Segal Monument

George Segal's public sculpture, "The Holocaust," sits in Legion of Honor Park in San Francisco overlooking a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. Often visitors find the sculpture an unexpected intrusion on the view, and an unfriendly reminder to one of the most significant genocides of the 20th century. Segal's outwork work is executed in bronze and painted white. It has been the subject of grafitti, but Segal mentioned, at a 1998 conference at Notre Dame University, that he did not find this a problem since grafitti was a reminder that problems of prejudice have not been solved.

Segal's ensemble of bodies is not random. One can find a "Christ-like" figure in the assemblage, reflecting on the Jewishness of Jesus, as well as a woman holding an apple, a reflection on the idea of original sin and the biblical connection between Jews and Christians, and raising the question of this relationship during the Holocaust.

The essential figure of the man standing at the fence is probably derived from Margaret Bourke-White's famous Life Magazine 1945 photograph of the liberation of Buchenwald.

Another plaster version of Segal's "The Holocaust" can be found at The Jewish Museum in New York.

For other monuments see: