The middle panel is most symbolic of the individual, whether representing the prisoners that perished or the prisoners that survived. This individual curled up in an obviously painful pose universally symbolizes suffering, whether emotional or physical, spiritual or psychological. The Ner Tamid is the Eternal Light above this tunnel-like structure where the being trapped at the bottom, physically symbolizing the depth of despair and aloneness. The viewer is left to speculate whether the Eternal Light is present with us no matter how much we suffer, or to feel we are abandoned, wondering why we have been left to suffer through such atrocities. Some people feel both.
The individual is disrobed, stripped of all artifacts that celebrate life and self-expression. Shown below the person are the precious items that reflect a fully lived life, like Torah, Mezuzahs, Sader goblets, and Menorahs, along with the mundane personal items of day-to-day life, like leather shoes, jewelry, books, Tallit and Yarmulke. They have been gathered in piles to large to comprehend.
Some parts of History are too difficult to display but the symbolism of the baby shoes detailed with a slight red at the opening of the shoe subtly hints at babies’ mouths crying as they were removed from their families’ arms to meet an untimely passing.
There are three layers to this panel to show Persistence of time and how past, present and the future all merge. The material items left behind are like ghosts of the souls. The Magen Davids that float gently up against the white background as gilded essence leave this material world: small stars, large stars, and medium stars, representing all different ages passing. The appearance of a room or a tunnel within which a figure embodying pain is sculpted in three dimensions is as real a form as we, the viewers. This is to give complete respect and honor to the beings that have endured such a part of History and that they are not just a 2 dimensional representation of a statistic, or a tattooed number, but rather a living breathing being we get to bear witness to, and for a moment let them know they are not alone. We stand in their presence.