The Garden of Righteous Gentiles is the first monument in the U.S. to Christians who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust. The idea originated with Halina Wind Preston of Wilmington, a survivor from Lvov, Poland who dedicated her life to Holocaust education. Memorial trees planted on November 16, 1981 each feature a bronze plaque bearing a rescuer’s name. Survivors settling in Delaware have honored their rescuers in the garden, along with Ger and Gerard van Raan, rescuers who eventually resided in Delaware.
The garden was formally dedicated on December 11, 1983. In the 1990s, a circular garden at the center was added – bisected with a path to encourage visitors to view it from different perspectives. A belt of cherry laurels encloses the rear of the garden.
Considerable thought went into a new design with the same goals for the garden’s rededication on April 7, 2013. Grenfell and mason Gabriel Gonzales created a semi-circular entrance backed by a low, serpentine wall. Lettering from the original monument was refinished and reinstalled on the new entrance, which also provides sufficient space for educational events. Behind the new wall, a bed of azaleas, Japanese maple, and cypresses, was chosen for their four-season attractiveness, hardiness and ease of maintenance. Enclosing the sides of the garden are serpentine belts of native inkberry hollies. A sculpture, In Memory of More Than One Million Children Who Perished During the Holocaust 1933 – 1945, now stands at the center of the Garden of the Righteous Gentiles.