The Examiner

Residents Propose Chappaqua Holocaust Memorial Near Gazebo

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The area near the gazebo in downtown Chappaqua where a local Holocaust memorial has been proposed.

Discussions are underway for the Town of New Castle to introduce a Holocaust memorial near the gazebo in downtown Chappaqua.

Town residents Ali Rosenberg and Stacey Saiontz, who are spearheading the effort, recently approached town officials with a plan to include a weeping cherry tree, which would symbolize the suffering of the Holocaust, with a rock near its base and an engraved plaque affixed to it. There would also be a bench alongside the tree.

After looking at various sites throughout town, Rosenberg and Saiontz recently proposed that the memorial be on the town’s property because it is easily accessible and visible to visitors. Rosenberg said the site would be on the front side of the gazebo and would be a place for quiet reflection. The town’s annual Holocaust Remembrance ceremony could also be held there.

“The gazebo is such a beautiful piece of our town and behind it is also a very peaceful spot,” Rosenberg said.

The two organizers have reached an agreement with Manzer’s Landscaping in Peekskill, which will donate the materials for the memorial. Money would need to be raised to pay for the rendering, Rosenberg said.

Part of the plan is also to give students from Horace Greeley High School a key role in helping to develop the memorial. Rosenberg said she helped establish the club Educate Now on Understanding Genocide and Hate (ENOUGH), which will lead the fundraising efforts. It isn’t yet known how much money would need to be collected, she said

Students could work on identifying an existing quote that would be appropriate to have inscribed on the plaque, Rosenberg said.

She and Saiontz have also learned of an Atlanta-based nonprofit Holocaust education and awareness organization that has launched The Daffodil Project, which has a goal of planting a daffodil for each of the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust. Rosenberg said that the first 250 daffodils are free as long as over the next two years at least 250 more are purchased at 30 cents apiece.

Rosenberg said she and Saiontz were moved to propose the project because hate incidents have been climbing, including an increase of incidents in schools by about 25 percent during the past two years.

“I just felt like this was a moment to recognize that (Holocaust) survivors are dying and there are so many lessons to be learned from studying this most horrific event in human existence and to use those lessons to help students learn how to stand up to identify hate, to understand what happens when hate is accepted and to learn how to not let that happen,” she said.

Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein said the town could also create a Holocaust and Human Rights Commission to not only oversee the memorial but organize programs and events.

He said Rosenberg and Saiontz are highly motivated and that the site they have selected would be a good site if logistics can be worked out.

“The gazebo is perfect – especially if it rains,” he said.

Rosenberg said for remaining local survivors, all of whom are elderly, the gazebo would be an easy-to-access spot with parking nearby.

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