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The push to honor gay victims of the Nazi regime at Holocaust Memorial Park took an ugly turn last week.
Officials said that someone smeared anti-gay epithets on two stones in the park located near Emmons Avenue and West Street on Thursday afternoon -- right where stones were set to be inscribed to honor homosexual victims of the Holocaust as well as gypsies and political upstarts killed by the Nazis.
The marred stones, one of which read “You gay ass Jewes” and was written in blue chalk, was discovered by a passerby, officials said.
Investigators were still looking for the person responsible for the vandalism, which has been determined to be “possibly biased in nature.”
The distasteful inscriptions were quickly washed away, officials said.
Holocaust Memorial Park has been at the center of an ongoing controversy over having stones inscribed for homosexuals and other victims of the Holocaust.
The push for the inscriptions was spearheaded by the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Children of Holocaust Survivors led by Rick Landman, who has been trying to get the markers in the park for the last 17 years so “visitors would know what happened to other victims of the Nazi era.”
Earlier this year, the city approved the dedications against the wishes of the Holocaust Memorial Committee, which has been responsible for maintaining the park and inscribing the stones.
The Holocaust Memorial Committee recently penned a letter calling on the city and the Parks Department to “reconsider” the proposal and “respect” their group as well as a memorandum of understanding they had hammered out with the city when the Sheepshead Bay park was dedicated in 1997.
Although the vandalism coincided with the controversy, Landman shrugged the incident off.
“[The vandalism] shows that the New York public schools have remedial classes for bigots,” he said commenting on how the vandal misspelled “Jews.”
“It’s sad to hear that there are still anti-Semites and homophobes still expressing their hatred, but it shouldn’t stop the project,” he said.
Anyone with information regarding this act of vandalism is urged to contact the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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