A plan to add new markers at a Holocaust memorial on city parkland in Brooklyn’s Manhattan Beach has generated opposition from some area residents.
The new markers would recognize those killed for reasons other than being Jewish, including gays, the disabled, the Roma and other minority groups.
But Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who led a group of protestors on Sunday, said “These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regards to the Holocaust. It is so vastly different. You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims.”
The park already includes a list of groups persecuted by the Nazis on the base of the central memorial. The other privately sponsored markers throughout the park are inscribed with names of people and communities that suffered during the Shoah.
The committee that oversees the memorial says it had a memorandum of understanding with the Parks Department that any changes would be submitted to them, an agreement they say has been abrogated.
City officials are favoring the new markers.
“It wasn’t only the Jews that were massacred,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, said “There’s no doubt that most of the atrocities at the Holocaust were done upon Jewish people. But it goes against history and their memory to not commemorate all groups that were persecuted by the Nazis.”
Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, who represents Sheepshead Bay, released a statement in support of the new markers, saying “the park’s purpose is most definitely to educate as well as commemorate. Excluding Holocaust victims who were not Jewish would be sending a message that is 180 degrees opposite of what we need to communicate.”
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor told The Jewish Week “there’s nothing wrong with reflecting the universality of the victims. The Jews were first, but someone can find a way to make clear that there were others.”