NISKAYUNA — Dr. Michael Lozman, president and founder of the Capital District Jewish Holocaust Memorial Inc., has restored Jewish cemeteries throughout Eastern Europe — but his latest project is a long time coming.
The orthodontist from Latham has been working for three years to create the Capital District Jewish Holocaust Memorial, which he said may now be the first U.S. Holocaust memorial created through a partnership with the Catholic Church. On Thursday, the memorial — designed in consultation with the local community — moved a step closer to reality after Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, signed over a deed to two acres of land across from the Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery.
“Today marked a very unusual happening,” Lozman said. “The Albany Diocese — Catholic Church — and myself, representing the Jewish community, got together as a team and worked on a memorial that talks against hatred, bigotry and prejudice. Yes, today we transferred the deed over, but today what also happened was historical. And it’s a great, great beginning.”
Construction is set for 2023. The backers of the memorial describe the structure: It consists of walls arranged in the shape of the Star of David, making it a six-sided structure connected to significant events from the Holocaust. The memorial will feature six leaning towers centered on a pedestal containing representations of the personal objects from the Holocaust. The area will also include a gate reading the phrase, “Never Again.”
“I want to thank Dr. Lozman for coming to me with this project and for allowing the Diocese of Albany to partner with him in making his dream a reality,” Scharfenberger said. “From the outset, I recognized the power and potential of his plan for a local Holocaust memorial. It will not only provide a sacred space to remember the millions of Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust but will also provide a place and platform for educating future generations so that the evils of that particular moment in history are never repeated.”
Lozman said the educational aspect is huge for his vision of the memorial. Sharing the lessons of the past, especially those that involve bigotry and hatred, is the best way younger generations can learn from history.
“It is a place where we will have lectures, it is a place where the community will come on special days that are dedicated to the memorial. It will be a learning institute.”
Lozman said the Memorial Board is currently working on a campaign. But for now, he’s looking forward to seeing his vision come to life.
“From a historical perspective, it deals with the past, it deals with the present and it deals with the future,” Lozman said. “For all those purposes, it’s extremely important that it’s created, structured and built.”