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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Historians and a team of volunteers began work early Wednesday to relocate the sidewalk memorials outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.

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The 11 Stars of David, stones, candles and thousands of flower bouquets will be moved inside and protected from the elements.

“The notes, the love, the caring, it’s just so remarkable,” said Laurie Eisenberg.

PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 31: Mourners visit the memorial outside the Tree of Life Synagogue on October 31, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven people were killed in a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on October 27. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Eisenberg is the historian who will lead the relocation process.

She works at Carnegie Mellon University and is a board member at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

She said she volunteered to manage this project because she felt helpless following the Oct. 27 shooting.

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“Finding a project like this is actually very satisfying,” said Eisenberg. “And while I’m certainly not happy to have this undertaking to work on – It feels good to be doing something positive.”


She said the team will work for several days and deconstruct the two memorials located along Wilkins Avenue. A volunteer photographer captured every detail of the memorial for purposes of cataloging and preserving each item.

The materials preserved will be located in the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center, where they will be available to researchers, historians and members of the public.

As part of the process, some of the flowers will be dried and pressed, while the rest will be composted. The remaining items will be relocated to a more secure and climate-controlled location.

The plan is to construct a similar memorial inside the glass doors in the Tree of Life’s main sanctuary lobby, which was unaffected by the shooting.

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The public will be able to view the new memorial through glass doors but not enter the building.