Let not one victim be forgotten.
That was the message city officials relayed to members of the Holocaust Memorial Park Committee last week when they authorized one group’s longtime bid to have markers honoring homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled, political prisoners and Roma and Sinti gypsies persecuted and killed by the Nazis.
The park, located at Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard, is dedicated to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
The additions were outlined in a letter sent to Holocaust Memorial Committee honorary chair and founder Pauline Bilus last week.
“After careful consideration, the city has authorized the addition of inscriptions on smaller makers at the Holocaust Memorial which honor five groups targeted for persecution and extermination during the Nazi regime,” wrote Jonathan Kuhn, director of Art and Antiquities for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, who added that the city must approve the inscriptions before they are constructed.
The push for the new markers was spearheaded by Rick Landman, co−chair of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Children of Holocaust Survivors.
Landman said his organization has been trying to get the markers placed in the park for these forgotten victims since 1997.
“After 13 years, we finally have been given permission to take this to the next step,” Landman said. “I am so excited that everyone is finally working together on adding to the educational and memorial aspects of the Holocaust Park, by telling the story of what happened to the other victims of the Nazi Era.”
Attempts to reach Bilus for comment were unsuccessful as this paper went to press.
Neighborhood insiders said that Landman’s plans to honor other victims was initially met with opposition by some Orthodox religious leaders who thought that the park should be solely dedicated to the Jews who lost their lives in the ghettos and concentration camps.
Other residents disagreed.
“I don’t care who you are or what you are, if you’re a victim you should be remembered at that memorial,” said Community Board 15 chair Theresa Scavo. “They were all killed for the same reason, so it doesn’t matter what their sexual orientation or the color of their skin was.”
It’s not believed that these forgotten victims will be remembered on the centerpiece of the memorial park, but on five markers on the grounds. The markers are expected to be dedicated to the specific community that fell to the Nazi regime, as well as a brief synopsis of what happened.