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.
"It doesn't matter what color or sexual orientation you were."
Daily Gotham picked on the story in a June 8 posting titled, "Who Owns the Holocaust?"
The posting noted that, "The first concentration camps did not house Jews, but rather political dissidents including Catholics, communists and liberals.
"Racial genocide was aimed to a large degree against Jews, but also Gypsies and Slavs. Plus the mentally ill of all races were targeted for genocide."
Added the posting, "Those are facts, and they are pretty harsh and brutal facts.
"Nazi Germany targeted a wide range of humanity in their insane, disgusting attack on civilization."
The posting accused Hikind of "want[ing] to rewrite history so that only Jews were affected by the Holocaust," going on to declare, "The Holocaust is by NO MEANS AT ALL A UNIQUELY JEWISH EVENT."
Noted the posting, "The Holocaust STARTED against political dissidents and from beginning to end included millions of non-Jews."
The posting posted that Hikind's views constituted another form of "Honocaust denial," stating, "Dov's version of Holocaust denial is JUST as disgusting as that of Iran or neo-Nazis who deny that Jews were targeted for genocide."
The posting also recollected that Assemblyman Hikind had supported racial profiling as a means of identifying which passengers on public transportation should be have their bags searched by officials.
Hikind, according to a Wikipedia entry, had promoted the searches of Middle Easterners and Muslims.
The Wikipedia article also said that Hikind had promoted greater closed-circuit camera security on the subway lines that service Jewish neighborhoods, and had compared marriage equality to letting people in incestuous relationships wed.
Said Hikind, "If we authorize gay marriage in the state of New York, those who want to live and love incestuously will be five steps closer to achieving their goals as well."
A bill currently before the New York state Senate to extend marriage equality to gay and lesbian families in that state passed the Assembly last month.
Two years ago, the Assembly approved a similar bill, which the then-Republican-dominated state Senate never voted on.