Jewish Politician: Memorial Not for Gays, Others Also Killed by Nazis
An anti-gay New York politician has ruffled feathers by proposing that a Holocaust Memorial in Brooklyn exclude all victims of the Nazis except for Jews.
State Assemblyman Dov Hikind acknowledged that in addition to six million Jews, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered an estimated 5 million non-Jews, including gays, people with physical and mental challenges, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others.
However, "To include these other groups diminishes [the murdered Jews’] memory," said Hikind in an address at Holocaust Memorial Park.
The park was dedicated in 1985. In 1997, the memorial was added. More recently, there has been interest in adding to the text at the memorial by referencing non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
A June 8 article in the New York Post reported that state Assemblyman Dov Hikind made his comments June 7 during an appearance at the park together with his mother, an 89-year-old survivor of one of the most infamous of the Nazi death camps, Auschwitz.
If other groups who were victimized by the Nazis are to be remembered, Hikind argued, it should be with a separate memorial.
Said Hikind of non-Jewish victims of Nazi violence, "These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regards to the Holocaust."
Added Hikind, "It is so vastly different. You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims."
The Post reported that the memorial is slated to include references to gays, Gypsies, political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others who also were marked out for death under the Nazis.
Openly lesbian City Council Speaker Christine Quinn commented, "There’s no doubt that most of the atrocities at the Holocaust were done upon Jewish people," the Post reported.
"But it goes against history and their memory to not commemorate all groups that were persecuted by the Nazis."
Noted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also spoke out, noting, "It wasn’t only the Jews that were massacred."
The mayor also defended the idea of memorializing various demographics that had been targeted and persecuted by the Nazis, saying that "diversity is something we want emphasized--not deemphasized" by the memorial.
Community Board 15 president Theresa Scavo said, "The Holocaust memorial means you memorialize anyone who died in the Holocaust.