World War II ended in Europe in 1945, but memorials to Holocaust victims didn’t exist in U.S. communities until three decades later. Among the first to be established on public land was the New Haven Holocaust Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut, planned and built by the city and its residents.

The New Haven Holocaust Memorial

Doris Zelinsky, who helped spearhead the project in 1976, was a staff member of then-New Haven Mayor Frank Logue. New Haven city officials, including Logue, the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees, Holocaust survivors and their neighbors, and many Jewish and non-Jewish residents worked together to commemorate the lives of Holocaust victims in 1977, when the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in Edgewood Park on Whalley Avenue.

The half-hour documentary People Forget, New Haven Remembers chronicles the evolution and aftermath of the New Haven Holocaust Memorial. It also showcases the oral histories of four Holocaust survivors who resettled in New Haven after the war and who worked to make the memorial a reality: Dr. Ralph Friedman, Helene Rosenberg, Shifra Zamkov, and Hannah Cooperstock.

This program premiered on CPTV in May 2020.

More About the Program

New Haven Mayor Frank Logue (fourth from left) and the New Haven Holocaust Memorial Planning Committee

“The Holocaust was a time of huge challenge and deprivation,” observed Doris Zelinsky, executive producer of People Forget, New Haven Remembers. “The survivors who resettled in Connecticut vowed to never forget the lives which were lost. But, this searing loss did not overwhelm their lives.”

Fay Sheppard, the film’s associate producer, added, “Survivors rebuilt families and communities. And, they worked with their new Connecticut neighbors to erect this memorial.”

Zelinsky continued, “What a gift to us in our time. The memorial reminds us of tremendous loss but also of faith and hope for the future.”

People Forget, New Haven Remembers was commissioned and sponsored by Greater New Haven Holocaust Memory, Inc. (GNHHM), a volunteer nonprofit corporation dedicated to maintaining the memorial and creating educational programs related to the Holocaust. Zelinsky serves as the organization’s president.

The program was produced and directed by filmmaker Elena Neuman Lefkowitz of Neuman Films in New York.