NEW YORK (JTA) — A New York state assemblyman said a Brooklyn Holocaust memorial should only be for Jews.
Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat, said the memorial should not recognize the other victims of the Nazis, the New York Post reported. The memorial in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood was erected by the City of New York.
"These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regards to the Holocaust," said Hikind, an Orthodox Jew whose district includes the heavily Chasidic section Borough Park. "It is so vastly different. You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims."
Along with 6 million Jewish victims, millions of gays, disabled people and Roma also were persecuted by the Nazis — a fact that several city officials played up in their defense of a plan to recognize those groups at the memorial.
"It wasn’t only the Jews that were massacred," said the city’s Jewish mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
"There’s no doubt that most of the atrocities at the Holocaust were done upon Jewish people," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "But it goes against history and their memory to not commemorate all groups that were persecuted by the Nazis."
Hikind, who speaks out frequently on Jewish issues, made the comments at a news conference attended by his 89-year-old mother, Frieda, a survivor of Auschwitz.