Changes to proposed Niskayuna Holocaust Memorial, residents continue to speak out

April 11, 2018 04:42 PM

NISKAYUNA - The Niskayuna town attorney made it clear at the start of the public hearing that the board would not decide whether this project would get a special use permit tonight, or at the next meeting, for that matter.

The goal of Tuesday night's meeting was so the developer could present project changes and for the board to hear the community's feedback on it. 

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Residents spilled out of the Niskayuna Town Hall into the hallway to hear from Dr. Michael Lozman, a Latham orthodontist turned developer who has proposed building a Holocaust Memorial on a two acre site along Troy Schenectady road.

"This is not a replica of Auschwitz concentration camp, there is no barbed wire, there is no gas chamber, there are no bodies lying around. These are all things I have heard," Lozman said.

Dr. Lozman presented design modifications that include a shorter wall to symbolize gas chambers, plaques that showcase the names of Capital District Holocaust survivors and the addition of more 8-10 foot trees to block the view of the site from the road.

Still, even with the changes some community members who support the idea of the project, disagree with it's execution.

"We don't take things like the railroad tracks that brought Jews to the concentration camps and turn them into a holy symbol," Niskayuna resident, Mishka Luft said.

Another resident and Army veteran who served in Iraq insisted the center of the town is not the appropriate spot for a memorial of this magnitude.
"I do everything I can to go out of my way not to have a reminder of death and destruction," Anthony Lombardi said.

But then there were those who felt the educational aspect was worth pursuing.

Carl Rosner was liberated by American troops from a concentration camp in 1945 when he was 16 years old.  

"This is an unbelievable event and the more it can be understood and presented and discussed in a rational way- I don't want to talk about the details," Rosner said.

A traffic expert said the site would bring no more than 20 cars an hour to the area but for those who have lived across the road from the proposed location for more than three decades, those findings just don't add up.

"Accidents are common place, so introducing somewhere else where people are going to stop look decide if they're going to turn in, pull out, turn left, and especially in school buses, is a bad, bad, bad idea and makes this a very bad location," Carolina Wierzbowski said.

The project will not begin work until all the funds or pledges are raised.

This Holocaust Memorial is estimated to cost $1.4 million dollars. 


Karen Tararache

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