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Boro leaders plan tribute to Holocaust in May

These two simple words serve as a constant reminder of the eternally horrific lessons of the Holocaust as well as a tribute to the millions of victims, survivors, civilians and soldiers involved in the fight against evil. Now, 60 years after the end of World War II, local religious and political leaders are planning an official boroughwide tribute later this spring at the Holocaust Resource Center at Queensborough Community College in Bayside. Representatives from the Jewish War Veterans, political figures, and Jewish leaders gathered in the lobby of Borough Hall Friday to announce the plans for the tribute, which will be organized by a consortium of local Jewish and veterans organizations. Though details were not yet finalized for the event slated for May 2, officials stressed the spirit of remembrance behind the tribute. "We look at catastrophes that happen when man inflicts great deprivation," said Borough President Helen Marshall. "This marks one of the great catastrophes." "We will always remember those who sought our deaths, our destruction," said Rabbi Michael Miller, executive vice president of the New York City Jewish Community Relations Council. "And we will also remember those who gave of themselves." Jan Fenster, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council, noted the May 2 tribute was scheduled the day before a contingent from the metropolitan area is to depart for the March of the Living during which an estimated 18,000 people from around the world journey to the sites of former concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe and then to Israel. The New York delegation is being organized by the Holocaust Resource Center. At Borough Hall, City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) spoke of the importance of ensuring the past is not forgotten in the future. "If we're not talking about it, I don't know how younger generations will ever find out about it," she said. "We still have so much to do."Indeed, recent bigotry reinforces the need for remembering the legacy of the Holocaust, according to state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing). "We have to take a look at what's happening outside of the United States," Stavisky said. "The resurgence of anti-Semitism, particularly in pockets of Europe, I find very troubling." "The Holocaust was a singular event in human history," said Rabbi Manfred Gans of Congregation Machane Chodosh in Forest Hills who is a concentration camp survivor. "God forbid, never again." Councilmen John Liu (D-Flushing) and David Weprin (D-Hollis), and state Assemblymen William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) and Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) were also present at the announcement. Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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