Landau Memorial

One of the USSR’s finest physicists and the first physicist from Baku to win the prestigious Nobel Prize, Lev Landau is an undoubted star in the history of Baku’s Jewish community.

He was born on 22nd January 1908 in the oil settlement of Balakhani, where his father served as a senior engineer in the oil company owned by the Rothschilds – the famous Jewish dynasty who played a great role in developing Baku’s oil industry. Later the Landaus moved to an apartment in this elegant Oil-Boom era building in central Baku on the corner of Samad Vurghun and Nizami streets. Incidentally, in Soviet times there was a little bar on the first floor and people used to say, “Let’s go to Landau”, which meant “let’s go and have a drink”. The young Landau showed a great talent for science from early childhood and at the age of just 14 was admitted to Baku State University, where he studied physics and chemistry (later dropping chemistry). In 1924 he left Baku to immerse himself in studying theoretical physics at Leningrad State University, from which he graduated in 1927. During his working life he served as head of the physics department of the National Scientific Centre at the Institute of Physics and Technology in Kharkiv, and later of the theoretical department of the Institute for Physical Problems of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Moscow. In 1938 he was arrested and spent a year in prison for his anti-Stalinist views.

Landau was revered as a teacher and made world-famous by his many discoveries and theories in topics such as nuclear theory, solid-state physics, quantum field theory and astrophysics. For his groundbreaking work concerning condensed matter, especially liquid helium, he won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1962, the same year he sustained serious injuries in a car crash that led to his premature death 6 years later.

Solomon Gusman and Lola Barsuk Memorial

Memorial represents Solomon Gusman and Lola Barsuk, who once lived in this house. They were were outstanding members of Baku’s Jewish community. Another important point on the Jewish map of Baku is the memorial board on Alovsat Guliyev Street to Solomon Gusman and Lola Barsuk on the house where they lived. Both were outstanding members of Baku’s Jewish community. Solomon Gusman, born on 9th May 1904, was a famous doctor who served in the Caspian Flotilla and as a military doctor during World War II. After the war he worked at the Sabunchu hospital, as well as teaching at the Medical Institute. His wife Lola Barsuk, born on 7th April 1916, was a famous linguist and researcher at the Institute of Foreign Languages and later at the Mirza Fatali Akhundov Azerbaijan State Pedagogical Institute of Languages. Prior to her career as a foreign language expert, she was an actress. Their two sons, Yuliy Gusman and Michael Gusman, are an award-winning cinema and theatre director and a journalist and TV reporter respectively of the USSR and the Russian Federation.

Yama Memorial Complex

The Yama Memorial Complex is a memorial to all Jews who died in the Minsk ghetto. This is a tribute to the memory of the Jews who were shot during the worst punitive operation of the Nazis: on March 2, 1942, five thousand Jews were killed. It was the first memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in the USSR, on which it was allowed to make an inscription in Yiddish.

Photo credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. / Global Photo Archive / Flickr.

Maly Trostenets Holocaust Memorial and Massacre Site

The Trostenets extermination camp, created in the autumn of 1941, became the largest on the territory of the Soviet Union. In terms of the number of victims of fascism, Trostenets became the fourth after Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka. Civilians and prisoners of war from all countries of the Soviet Union, as well as citizens of Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland were murdered there.

Image credit: The Together Plan – subject to copyright ©

Khatyn Memorial Village

The Belarusian village Khatyn is known all over the world, although its life ended tragically on March 22, 1943. The village was not abandoned, but died with its inhabitants. It is a symbol of the terrible tragedy that people experienced during the Great Patriotic War. The memorial complex is dedicated to the death of this and other Belarusian villages and the death of every fourth Belarusian.

Photo credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. / Global Photo Archive / Flickr;

Emma Lazarus Memorial Plaque

This memorial plaque honoring Emma Lazarus, American Jewish poetess, is located in The Battery’s famous monument walk in Manhattan. The plaque itself is made from Israeli limestone and bronze gifted from the State of Israel to the Sisterhood of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogues.

Born on July 22, 1849 in New York City to a wealthy sugar refining family of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish descent whose roots extended to the very early days of New York City as a British colonial city, Emma Lazarus was the poet who wrote “The New Colossus” Aside from writing, Lazarus was also involved in charitable work for refugees. At Ward’s Island, she worked as an aide for Jewish immigrants who had been detained by Castle Garden immigration officials. She was deeply moved by the plight of the Russian Jews she met there and these experiences influenced her writing.

In 1883, William Maxwell Evarts and author Constance Cary Harrison asked Lazarus to compose a sonnet for the “Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty”. In turn, Lazarus, inspired by her own Sephardic Jewish heritage, her experiences working with refugees on Ward’s Island, and the plight of the immigrant, wrote “The New Colossus” on November 2, 1883. After the auction, the sonnet appeared in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World as well as The New York Times. She died in New York City on November 19, 1887, most likely from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Lazarus’ famous sonnet depicts the Statue as the “Mother of Exiles:” a symbol of immigration and opportunity – symbols associated with the Statue of Liberty today. After its initial popularity however, the sonnet slowly faded from public memory. It was not until 1901, 17 years after Lazarus’s death, that Georgina Schuyler, a friend of hers, found a book containing the sonnet in a bookshop and organized a civic effort to resurrect the lost work. Her efforts paid off and in 1903, words from the sonnet were inscribed on a plaque and placed on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Brown Building (Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire)

The Brown Building, formerly known as the Asch Building, was the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911. One hundred and forty-six Jewish and Italian immigrant workers died in the blaze. It was the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City history. In its aftermath, outraged advocates demanded stronger workplace safety protections and better working conditions for those who toiled in the city’s sweatshops.

The Brown Building occupies 23-29 Washington Place in Greenwich Village New York City. It was completed in 1901 and is an example of the neo-Renaissance architectural style. It features a stone base and brick upper walls with terra-cotta trim. Five limestone pilasters decorate the front façade and are topped with terra-cotta capitals. Originally the building housed retail shops on the ground level and factory space on levels 2-10. After the 1911 fire, the building was refurbished and sold to Frederick Brown, who rented it to nearby New York University. In 1929 Brown donated it to NYU and it was renamed in his honor.

The Brown Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark on July 17, 1991. On March 25, 2003, it was named a New York City Landmark. As of 2020, it hosts classrooms and science labs. Memorial plaques commemorate the victims. Each March on the fire’s anniversary, the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition organizes a memorial gathering. As of 2020, the Coalition is in the process of developing a permanent memorial to the fire’s victims.

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

The deadliest disaster to strike New York until the 9/11 attacks, 90 years later, was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster. The Brown Building stands as a monument to the 146 Jewish and Italian immigrants killed by a massive fire and locked doors and is both a National Historic Landmark and a New York City Landmark.

Currently, The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition educates the public about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire through its ongoing projects, educational outreach, and its social media presence. It also supports the annual remembrance activities on the anniversary of the fire on March 25 and is in the works of establishing a permanent memorial for those who lost their lives on the site.

Alexander Zaïd Monument

Alexander Zaïd, (1886 − 10 July 1938) a founder of the Jewish defense organizations Bar Giora and Hashomer, was a prominent figure of the Second Aliyah.

On a hilltop overlooking the Jezreel Valley lies a bronze statue of Alexander Zaïd on horseback, sculpted by David Polus. His legacy lives on in a variety of ways. Poet Alexander Penn dedicated his poem, Adamah, Admati (“Land, My Land”) to Alexander Zaïd while both Givat Zaid and Beit Zaid were named after him.

Jewish Tercentenary Monument

In 1654, fearing oppression by the Portuguese who had recently conquered the Dutch settlement of Recife, Brazil, Jews living there set off for the Netherlands. However, rather than arriving safely in Amsterdam, one of the 16 ships carrying them was blown off course and robbed by pirates. The 23 survivors were picked up by a French ship heading to Canada and left off in New Amsterdam, as New York was then known.

In 1954, to mark the 300th anniversary of the arrival of Jews in North America, observations were held in many cities. Rabbi Ferdinand M. Isserman of Temple Israel formed a St. Louis committee to erect a suitable monument in Forest Park. The resulting sculpture was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1956.

Created by Danish-born Carl C. Mose, head of the Sculpture Department at Washington University, the monument features a flagpole with a wave-like limestone base. Depicted on the base are Biblical quotations relating to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “Four Freedoms”: freedom from tyranny; of religion; from fear and war; and from want. Among other figures, a ship, symbolic of that which bore the refugees to New Amsterdam, is also represented.

In 1989, renovation of the monument was undertaken at the request of Forest Park Forever. Civic leader Howard Baer, then 87 and the sole living member of the original 1954 committee, chaired the fundraising effort and engaged Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum as architects for the project. The sculpture was raised up on a pedestal of nine steps and lighting, benches and sidewalks were added to Lopata Plaza surrounding the monument — named in honor of major contributors Lucy and Stanley Lopata. Ted and Nancy Koplar donated the fountains on the west side of the monument