Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958
Jennifer Chait (212) 788-8479
This square is named in honor of the people of Ungvar, Czechoslovakia. Ungvar, Czechoslovakia, was one of the most dynamic centers of Torah scholarship. The rich Jewish heritage of this city was all but erased as a result of the Holocaust. However, as a result of the actions of Grand Rabbi Menashe Klein, who was a concentration camp survivor and a scion of the Torah scholars, much of the heritage of this city managed to survive.
Immediately after his liberation from the Buchenwald concentration camp, Rabbi Klein set about rebuilding the tattered remnants of the Ungvar community. Although still very young, he managed to convince the American military supervisors in the Displaced Persons Camps to allow him to travel to France with over 400 orphaned Holocaust survivors. He committed himself to giving them a new life of hope and promise. Eventually settling in the United States in 1946, Rabbi Klein and many of his students were able to create a complete educational program which emulated the yeshivas of Ungvar.
In June 1993, a major campaign was initiated to expand the synagogue and yeshiva facilities in Brooklyn, New York, based on those in Ungvar, Czechoslovakia. That month, a groundbreaking ceremony took place to construct a four-story Martyrs Commemorative Hall complex at 53rd Street and 16th Avenue.
It is therefore fitting, in recognition of the Holocaust martyrs, to call the intersection of 53rd Street and 16th Avenue "Zichron Kedoshim Square."
For the reasons previously stated, I will now sign the bill.