Museum of Jewish Heritage Commemorates Losses Among Community of Survivors
The Museum of Jewish Heritage, located within Wagner Park, in Battery Park City,
is memorializing the loss of Holocaust survivors who perished during the pandemic.
Today is Yom HaZikaron laShoah Ve’laG’vurah, the Hebrew words for “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.” It is the annual occasion on which Israelis reflect about the genocidal campaign by Nazi Germany to erase Judaism from human history.
Battery Park City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage is marking the occasion by launching a new tribute page that shares the stories of people who survived the Nazi campaign of genocide, but perished during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (The memorial can be be browsed at: https://mjhnyc.org/in-memoriam/)
All Holocaust survivors are at least 75 years old and COVID is particularly lethal to seniors. From the beginning of the pandemic, the Museum deputized staff to engage with survivors affiliated with the Museum, calling them weekly, teaching those who normally would speak in person to students and others how to connect through technology, and supporting efforts by the Museum’s café to deliver weekly meals to survivors in the New York area, as they self-isolated.
Rough estimates indicate that 38,000 survivors live in the greater New York metropolitan area. The actuarial tables indicate that this population will likely to decline to 23,400 within the next four years, but those passings seem likely to have been accelerated by COVID. Although these is not yet a definitive account of how many Holocaust survivors have died due to the disease, it is known that in Israel, some 900 people who endured the concentration camps have now succumbed to the pandemic.
Among those remembered on the new tribute page at the Museum of Jewish Heritage website is Harry Bialor, who lost both parents and three siblings to Nazi genocide at age 12, then hid for two years with his sister beneath a farmhouse, surviving on scraps of stolen food. They both survived the war.
He died of COVID-19 on May 7.
Among those remembered at the Museum’s site is Harry Bialor, a 91-year-old composer who displayed such precocious musical talent that he attended the Munich conservatory before the Nazis began ostracizing Jews from civic life. At age 12, he lost both parents and three siblings to the organized murder that followed. With his surviving sister, Masha, the young Mr. Bialor lived for two years beneath the farmhouse of a Polish woman who risked her life to shelter them. They both survived the war. He died of COVID-19 on May 7.
“How is one to speak of such things and not lose one’s mind, and not beat one’s fists against the wall?” Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (who died in 2016) once reflected, in recalling his own experiences at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, that “it is as impossible to speak of them as not to speak of them. One would have to invent a new vocabulary, a new language to say what no human being has ever said.”
Showcasing images and testimonials from relatives of those who lost their lives to COVID-19 (and other causes) since the pandemic began, the memorial seeks to remember those who survived the Holocaust and provide a space for relatives to share their memories of loved ones. To date, the Museum has collected 26 tributes, mainly from families based in New York. The Museum continues to seek more of these stories and asks relatives from the New York area and beyond to share submissions (along with photos) at: https://mjhnyc.org/those-weve-lost-memorial-submissions/
“Over this past year, as we endured a devastating pandemic, we have heard from relatives who have sought ways to share the stories of perseverance and resilience in times of pain and in times of hope,” explains Jack Kliger, president of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “Since our founding days nearly 25 years ago, the Museum has dedicated our work both to those who lost their lives during the Holocaust, and those who survived, and their children and grandchildren. This new tribute page will ensure their lives will not be forgotten.”
On Sunday, April 11, the Museum will host the Annual Gathering of Remembrance at 2:00 pm. The live-streamed event will include appearances by Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, Senator Charles Schumer, Elisha Wiesel, Israeli Consul General Israel Nitzan, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Cantor Joseph Malovany, Daniel Kahn, and Zalmen Mlotek. Anyone wishing to view the event should R.S.V.P. at: https://mjhnyc.org/annual-gathering-remembrance/
How Much Is Too Much?
CB1 Discussion Will Examine BPCA Finances
Tonight (Wednesday, April 7) the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) will host a review of the finances of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA). To participate in this online meeting, which starts at 6:00 pm, please browse: https://live.mcb1.nyc.
The BPCA’s finances are of particular interest to condominium owners, for whom the cost of owning a home in the neighborhood is becoming increasingly prohibitive. These themes are closely linked because of the exotic nature of property ownership in Battery Park City, where homeowners, landlords, and developers do not own outright the acreage they occupy, but instead lease the space (through the year 2069) from a government agency—the BPCA—in exchange for yearly remittances of “ground rent,” as well as so-called “payments in lieu of taxes” (PILOT). To read more…
A shape-shifting trickster on a kung-fu quest for eternal life, Monkey King is the unforgettable protagonist of Journey to the West, one of China’s four great classic novels. Join us as China historian Julia Lovell, who recently translated the text for Penguin Classics, talks about her experience bringing the story to life for modern readers, and the mischievous hero at its center, that gives us an important window into Chinese culture. Free
Mark Schonwetter was a young child in Brzostek, Poland when Germany invaded and his family was forced out of their home. After his father was taken by the Gestapo, Mark fled along with his mother and sister. They spent time in a nearby ghetto and then went into hiding in the Polish countryside, where they remained for three years. By the end of the war, Mark was one of only a few surviving Jews from Brzostek. Mark emigrated to the United States in 1961 and found work in a jewelry factory. He ultimately purchased another jewelry company and remained in the jewelry business until he retired in 2018. Join Mark and his daughter Ann Arnold, author of Together: A Journey for Survival, for this Stories Survive program exploring Mark’s story of courage and compassion. $10
Webinar. Diversification is a core principle of investing. Yet money managers have not applied it to their own ranks. Only around 10% of portfolio managers—the people most directly responsible for investing your money—are female, and the numbers are even worse at the ownership level. What are the causes of this underrepresentation, and what are its consequences—including for firms’ and clients’ bottom lines? Free
Community Board 1 Landmarks & Preservation Committee
1) 100 Centre Street, request for LPC re-evaluation of the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building – Discussion & Possible Resolution
The Plots Thicken
Liberty Community Gardens Wait Listers Will Finally Get Their Hands Dirty
Mounded with dark soil, teeming with earthworms, 26 new community garden plots are ready for action at the corner of Albany and West Streets. Thanks to the deconstruction of the Rector Street Bridge and ramp in 2019, and the support of the Battery Park City Authority, the New York State Department of the Transportation and the New York City Department of Transportation, Liberty Community Gardens (LCG), a cherished part of the neighborhood, has expanded by about a third.
Liberty Community Gardens were founded in 1987 by local residents with the guidance of Battery Park City Parks. Initially, there were 24 plots on the north and south sides of Rector lawn.
State’s Highest Court Blocks Suit by Brewer, Chin Opposing Two Bridges Plan
On Tuesday, the New York State Court of Appeals effectively ended a lawsuit begun in 2018, in which Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Margaret Chin sought to compel the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to subject several massive residential developments planned for the Lower East Side to the highest-possible degree of legal scrutiny. New York’s highest judicial review panel upheld an August ruling by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, which itself had overturned a 2019 lower-court decision favoring Ms. Brewer and Ms. Chin. To read more…
Harboring Good Will
Highly Regarded Maritime School on Governors Island to Expand
A years-long campaign by Lower Manhattan community leaders, elected officials, and parents came to fruition on Monday when an agreement to expand the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on Governors Island was released.
The Trust for Governors Island and the School Construction Authority (SCA) announced that several long-standing priorities will be addressed in one package of funding: the Harbor School will grow into a building adjacent to its current home, where it will have room for an additional 18 classrooms, a pool and a gymnasium. To read more…
Getting Squeezed Coming and Going
Washington Okays Congestion Pricing Program that Local Leaders Fear will Penalize Lower Manhattan Residents
The prospect of Lower Manhattan residents being penalized for the privilege of driving to or from their homes moved a step closer to reality on Tuesday, when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sent word to City and State officials that they would allow the congestion pricing plan, devised by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, to move forward under the less rigorous of two possible environmental oversight standards.
The FHWA, an arm of the federal Department of Transportation, decided to allow New York to move ahead under the looser benchmark of an environmental assessment, rather than a full environmental impact statement. “An Environmental Assessment generally requires less time to complete than an Environmental Impact Statement, should no significant impacts be identified,” the agency said in a statement. To read more…
Governor Opens Hurricane Maria Memorial
On Friday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the opening of the Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City, located at the corner of Chambers Street and River Terrace. Mr. Cuomo made this announcement at an unrelated event in the Bronx, which was closed to the press, as has become the embattled Governor’s custom in recent weeks, while he faces multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, along with allegations that his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic led to thousands of deaths in New York that might otherwise have been prevented. To read more…
Pearl of Wisdom
Brewer Pushes for FiDi Thoroughfare to Be Made Pedestrian-Friendly in Perpetuity
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is pushing the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand and make permanent a trial implementation of the Open Street program in Lower Manhattan. Since last summer, the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has each day restricted vehicular access to Pearl Street, between Broad Street and Hanover Square, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and again from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm To read more…
Alliance For Downtown New York Hosts 2021 Shred-A-Thon
And Clothing Drop-Off
After a year like the one we all just endured and the promise of a brighter day emerging, the idea of “spring cleaning” takes on new energy and meaning.
Now is the time to round up all the old clothes and unwanted documents that have been piling up and bring them over to Fulton Street (between Cliff and Gold Streets) for the Downtown Alliance’s annual dual shred-a-thon and clothing drop-off Saturday, April 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A shredding truck parked on Fulton Street will securely dispose of and recycle all your sensitive documents, tax receipts, junk mail and old bills.
The Alliance is also partnering with NYC clothing recycler Wearable Collections, which is providing a bin to collect all dry, used clean clothing including shoes, sneakers, belts and hats, as well as household items such as linens, towels and handbags.
Rain or shine, the Alliance will be there to dispose of your much-loved old outfits and no-longer-needed memories, minus a few items (e.g., carpeting, rugs, bath mats, comforters, pillows, large luggage). This spring will be even sweeter when you’ve got some extra space.
Local Leaders Get Irredentist to Reclaim Park Space Dispossessed for a Decade
Community Board 1 (CB1) wants the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to give back park space beneath the Brooklyn Bridge that was “temporarily” closed more than a decade ago. The area, informally known as “Brooklyn Banks,” is an iconic destination for skateboarders, because the streetscape provides an undulating terrain of ramps, rails, ledges, and jumps. Long before any of these stunts were legal in New York, boarders from around the United States would come to the City to compete there, and connect with one another. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Matt Keating is a singer/songwriter who lives in Lower Manhattan with his wife Emily. In a recent post on Facebook, he described his friendship with a man who took shelter outside his building, and how he helped this man receive his federal stimulus check.
This is my neighbor Jamal. We became friends about a month ago when I met him taking shelter outside of my building under the construction scaffolding that’s been put up for a while now. He is currently without a home and asks politely for any help from me whenever I walk by so I started giving him something every once in a while whenever I had it. He was very grateful and we struck up a conversation about politics and the current situation of inequality in this country.
About two weeks ago, as Emily and I were leaving to do our weekly visit to the Union Square Farmers Market, he came up to us and showed us that his shoes were falling apart. His soles were flapping and it was wet out. To read more…
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
1732 – David Rittenhouse, American astronomer, inventor, and mathematician (d. 1796)
painting by Charles Wilson Peale
1093 – The new Winchester Cathedral is dedicated by Walkelin.
1766 – First fire escape patented, wicker basket on a pulley and chain
1789 – House of Representatives first meeting
1820 – The Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Melos.
1838 – Steamship “Great Western” maiden voyage (Bristol England to New York City)
1879 – Milk was sold in glass bottles for first time
1935 – Bartok’s 5th String Quartet premieres in Washington D.C.
1943 – President Franklin Roosevelt, in an attempt to check inflation, freezes wages and prices, prohibits workers from changing jobs unless the war effort would be aided thereby, and bars rate increases to common carriers and public utilities.
1946 – League of Nations assembles for last time
1952 – President Harry Truman seizes steel mills to avert a strike
1985 – India files suit against Union Carbide over Bhopal disaster
2008 – The construction of the world’s first building to integrate wind turbinescompletes, in Bahrain.
2012 – Gunter Grass labelled persona non gratta by Israeli internal affairs minister Eli Yishai
1460 – Ponce de Leon, Spain, searched for fountain of youth, found Florida
1732 – David Rittenhouse, American astronomer, inventor, and mathematician (d. 1796)
1892 – Mary Pickford, [Gladys Smith], actress (Poor Little Rich Girl)
1918 – Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States
1929 – Jacques Brel, Belgium, singer/actor
1937 – Seymour Hersh, award winning investigative reporter (NY Times)
1948 – Robert Alan Litchfield, Mass, bank robber (FBI most wanted in the 1980s)
1963 – Julian Lennon, Liverpool UK, singer (Too Late for Goodbyes) and son of John
1779 – US Defector General Benedict Arnold (38) weds Peggy Shippen (18) at Shippen’s townhouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
217 – Caracalla, [Marcus Antoniius], Roman emperor (198-217), murdered at 29
1947 – Henry Ford, US industrialist, dies at 83
1973 – Pablo Picasso, Spanish/French painter (Guernica), dies at 91
1981 – Omar Bradley, last US 5-star general, (Normandy) dies in NY at 88
2007 – Sol LeWitt, American artist (b. 1928)
2013 – Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister (1979 – 1990) dies aged 87