NJ ADL was very much involved in the situation in Clifton, NJ, regarding the attempt to re-name a section of Richardson Scale Park after Chester Grabowski, the longtime publisher and editor of The Post Eagle, a Polish-American newspaper that was long used as a vehicle for anti-Semitism. Because of our activism, this idea seems to be defeated.
In a letter to ADL, Mayor James Anzaldi said that, “a request was made at the last meeting and it was received and filed (denied)” and confirmed that the proposal would no longer be considered.
In an October 11 letter to Mayor Anzaldi and to the entire Clifton City Council, ADL expressed concern about the renaming, based on Grabowski’s long record of anti-Semitic statements, publishing anti-Semitic letters, and associating with extremists, including white supremacists, making him undeserving of such community recognition.
Mayor Grazaldi responded, telling Jeff Salkin, ADL community director, that the matter had been abandoned.
On October 12, 2012, ADL issued a press release, praising “Clifton, NJ mayor for abandoning proposal to name park after outspoken Polish publisher.”
“We praise Mayor Anzaldi’s wisdom and sensitivity in deciding to abandon the proposal to rename a section of this park in honor of Mr. Grabowski,” said Jeffrey K. Salkin, ADL New Jersey Community Director. “In so doing, he has upheld the good name of the City of Clifton.”
There is a poignant postscript to this story. The New Jersey office of ADL first became aware of this situation through a phone call from a non-Jewish Clifton citizen, who was outraged about the possibility of the park being named for someone who had demonstrated such anti-Semitic sentiments. Similarly, the lone voice on the City Council in opposition to the renaming of the park was that of Mary Sadrakula – a Polish-American.
Such interventions on the part of sympathetic gentiles remind us that while we have often been “a nation that dwells alone,” it need not be so. We can measure ADL’s success by the fact that in Clifton, we were not alone.