The Holocaust Memorial Park Committee has asked for Borough President Marty Markowitz’s support in their push to stop the city from adding stones that would include homosexuals, gypsies and Jehovah’s Witnesses killed in the Holocaust −− but it doesn’t look like Brooklyn’s biggest cheerleader is going to race to their aid.
“I understand both sides,” Markowitz told this paper Sunday after he spoke at the park’s 25th anniversary celebration. “The Holocaust was primarily directed at the Jews, but there were other groups murdered and there are those who want them to be recognized. But there are those that argue that the committee already has included them.”
“Both sides have a valid argument, but the property belongs to the city,” he said. “It is not privately−owned land and the city had decided what they want to do.”
When asked if there is a solution, Markowitz only had one to give: “That the remembrance goes on.”
“The park will always be there primarily for people to reflect,” he said. “That’s what this is all about.”
Yet despite Markowitz’s call for calm reflection, the debate rages on about the five markers honoring the memory of homosexuals, Roma and Sinti gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled and political prisoners persecuted and killed by the Nazis.
The city approved the measure after repeated requests 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 the park was dedicated.
“I supported the Holocaust Memorial Park from the onset, but was saddened when the Committee refused to inscribe the stone markers telling what happened to the other victims of the Nazi era,” explained Landman, who lost 17 members of his family during the Holocaust. “I am not equating the groups, but believe that one needs to learn what happened to these groups in order to fully understand how a civilized country like Germany became a mass murdering machine.”
Committee members said that the plight of these victims are reflected on the base of the memorial’s center spire, which honors “the five million other innocent human beings who were murdered under German rule during World War II.”
Nothing was said publicly about the markers at Sunday’s celebration, although some attending the event had their opinions on where these markers should go.
“I can understand what the Parks Department is trying to accomplish, but I think it’s the wrong place to do it,” Sheepshead Bay⁄Mill Basin State Senator Carl Kruger told this paper. “This park was created as a remembrance for the Jews lost in the Holocaust. That was always the spirit and the intent.”