Holocaust Memorial Park should be wired up with cameras, residents say

Holocaust Memorial Park should be wired up with cameras, residents say
Stop hate: Ruven Rabinovich and around 500 Brooklynites from all walks of a life gathered on the Boardwalk on Aug. 12 to rally against bigotry, following the vandalism of the Brooklyn Holocaust Memorial last week.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Civic leaders outraged over the anti-Semitic graffiti left in Holocaust Memorial Park say they want to wire up the memorial with 24-hour surveillance cameras to keep an eye on people going in and out of the sanctuary dedicated to Nazi concentration camp victims.

On Aug. 9, someone entered the city park and marred the memorial by writing the word “F—” and a Star of David on it.

Civic leaders rallied against the vandalism in Brighton Beach on Sunday, claiming that the city park should be under constant watch at all times.

“I’ve called for live 24-hour video surveillance of the Memorial Park and all houses of worship, including yeshivas,” said former Community Board 15 District Manager Ben Akselrod, who is running against Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz in September. “We go through security when we go on the plane. I don’t enjoy it, but unfortunately it’s necessary at this point,”

Last week’s vandalism marked the second time the West End Avenue park had been hit with graffiti since it was dedicated 15 years ago, leading some to believe that Akselrod’s demands are excessive.

Yet residents are quickly getting behind his plan.

“I think they should look up every elected official to get the financing for it,” said CB15 chairwoman Teresa Scavo. “It’s not like Big Brother will be watching. If someone put a camera in front of my house, that would be Big Brother watching. But schools and public places like Holocaust Park should definitely get cameras.”

Yet some didn’t think that the cameras should be paid for with taxpayer dollars.

“I don’t know if that’s something that the state should be responsible for,” said Edmond Dweck, a spokesman for the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association. “I think each organization should have the right to do so at their discretion.”

Akselrod, who has formed a group called Brooklyn Memorial Watch, said the cameras he’s proposing wouldn’t be monitored 24 hours a day, but that the footage would assist police in apprehending any vandals who might strike the memorial in the future.

An NYPD spokeswoman said the Hate Crimes Task Force was trying to track down who left the hate-filled message at the memorial — which was discovered about a month after swastikas were found along a bulkhead in Gerritsen Beach and outside a yeshiva in Marine Park. As a result, members of the Jewish Defense Organization vowed to patrol Marine Park as a result of the yeshiva graffiti — and attack anyone caught committing a crime against Jews or Jewish property.

Anyone with information regarding the Aug. 8 hate crime is urged to call NYPD CrimeStoppers at (800) 577–8477. All calls will be kept confidential.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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