Promise for Life

About the Sculpture

promise for life sculpture
Promise for Life is a memorial to the Holocaust and a first step in the journey together as communities of faith and humanity, of study and learning, and of sharing our stories of suffering and visions of hope. Holocaust victims cast in bronze huddle on the granite base of the statue. Rising out of the pain of human hurt is the flame of God’s vision of life, peace and justice. The promise for life is symbolized by the man, woman, and child reaching up toward the future—the hope to which God calls each of us.

Promise for Life began as an idea inspired by sculptor Alfred Tibor in a seminary lecture, and came to life with the formation of an interfaith group of religious, business, and community leaders in January 1997. This Living Sculpture Committee eventually raised more than $200,000 to fund the sculpture and the surrounding landscaping.

The sculpture and garden were dedicated in an interfaith ceremony on May 23, 1999. With its granite base, the bronze sculpture of rising flames reaches a height of 27 feet. The Columbus firm of Allied Fabricating and Welding fashioned the flames from 3/16-inch sheets of solid silicone bronze. Combined with the life-sized bronze figures, cast by Southern Ohio Bronze, the sculpture weighs more than 6,000 pounds. Peter Krajnak, of Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects, coordinated a team of contractors and consultants in the creation of an appropriate, dignified environment for Promise for Life. Framed by a backdrop of the seminary’s 1923 brick structures, the sculpture has become a landmark on the corner of the campus. The Columbus and Bexley Public Service Departments later installed street signs designating College Avenue, between Main Street and Medford Road, as “Remembrance Way.”

About the Artist

Many people in Columbus – and throughout the country – have come to know and love the work of artist Alfred Tibor. His sculpture, Hope, is placed at the entry to the James Cancer Clinic in Columbus. Freedom, a gift to the city, is displayed in Battelle Park, and To Life is featured in the Governor’s mansion. Other works are displayed in Indianapolis, Indiana; Clearwater, Florida, and Youngstown, Ohio.

Mr. Tibor and his wife, both survivors of the Holocaust, have dedicated their lives to the establishment of remembrance works, which, while reminding us of the evil power of racial and ethnic hatred, powerfully proclaim the vision of life and hope for all humankind. “Although I survived my imprisonment by hating, once I was freed I knew I would have to give up hating,” says Mr. Tibor. “I want coming generations to understand the concept of brotherhood and give up hate and destruction. We must honor and love each other.”

"Remember” Bricks

The Promise for Life plaza is paved with more than 100 bricks engraved with the word “Remember” in the languages of the world—a testament to suffering around the world and the hope for peace and justice. Individuals, families, and organizations have donated $100 for each brick sponsored. This ongoing project helps to fund the sculpture, its upkeep, and the continuing series of events centered on Promise for Life. To become a “Remember” brick sponsor, contact the Office of Development.

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Continued Funding for Continued Education

Promise for Life stands as the focal point for a series of continuing education events that are free and open to the public. At these events, members of the community can discuss, contemplate, and learn about interfaith issues, issues of peace and justice, and the lessons and consequences of the Holocaust and other instances of genocide. To fulfill the original vision of the Promise for Life sculpture project, and its focus on continuing education, the Living Memorial Committee of Promise for Life seeks to raise $100,000. These funds will permanently endow educational events sponsored by the Promise for Life Program Committee in collaboration with various religious, educational, community, private, corporate and government organizations. The Promise for Life Endowment Fund is held by the Columbus Foundation and managed by the Promise for Life Board, which consists of persons representing a cross section of the Columbus community. To support the Continuing Education Phase of Promise for Life, contact the Office of Development.