Before the Second World War, this square was the heart of a lively neighbourhood: the Jewish Quarter. Since 1625, Sephardic Jews fleeing from Catholic Spain and Portugal found a new home in The Hague. From 1670 onwards, Azkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe joined them. The Hague Jewish community numbered some 17,000 before the war. The Nazis murdered more than 12,000 of them.
To keep the memory of them and of the Jewish neighbourhood alive, in 2015 the Stichting Joods Monument Den Haag commissioned artist Anat Ratzabi to make a monument on this quiet square. The wish was to include the existing Amalek monument by Dick Stins - originally on the busy Gedempte Gracht - and the plaque Rachel weeps. The Jewish Children's Monument is located on the same square. The monument was unveiled on 28 January 2018.
Usually, the Dutch-Israeli Ratzabi makes classical and realistic-looking figures in bronze and ceramics. As the heart of this composite monument, she created a monumental stone door that stands ajar. By the artificial light shining from it, you think to find an opening. But there is none. Just as it was not there for the deported Jews. The crumbling stone next to the door refers to this. Ratzabi has placed the Star of David of Stins on the door itself. A replica of the plaque Rachel weeps has been mounted on the wall of the garden surrounding the Nieuwe Kerk. Two separate bronze suitcases - one next to the door and one on the square - remind us of the abrupt deportations.
Opposite the monumental door, Ratzabi placed six stone oval elements. They refer to the six million Jews who were murdered during the Second World War. On each of them, she placed two bronze reliefs with a representation of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. In Judaism, six and twelve are magic numbers. Just like eighteen, chai. Translated from Hebrew, it means: life.