APRIL 1, 2022 www.qns.com RIDGEWOOD TIMES
Middle Village elected officials, residents remember
the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, 111 years later
BY JULIA MORO
Six individuals were honored during
a memorial and awards ceremony
on Friday, March 25, to mark the
111th anniversary of the tragic Triangle
Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich
Village in which 146 people died.
The ceremony was held at Christ the
King campus in Middle Village.
The Triangle Fire Memorial Association
was formed in 1955 to help
perpetuate the memory of those lost
in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Each year, the association sponsors
memorials, ceremonies and projects
that encourage people to remember the
tragedy and its victims.
All of the victims of the fire were Jewish
and Italian immigrants and mainly
young woman in their teens.
Former State Senator Serphin
Maltese, the board chairman of the Triangle
Fire Memorial Association, told
the crowd that he lost his grandmother
and two aunts in the fire.
He shared the story of his grandfather,
and the pain he felt losing those
closest to him.
“I’d like to take a moment to remember
my grandfather,” Maltese said. “He
exemplifies many of the immigrants
of today that have come to the United
States, the land of opportunity, to set
up their homes.”
Maltese’s grandfather came from
Italy to be a shoemaker and after a year,
his family — his wife, three daughters
and two sons — came through Ellis Island
to join him. His youngest daughter,
Maria, died shortly after getting sick on
the ship to New York.
“Four years after that, his wife and
his two daughters went to work on the
morning of March 25, 1911,” Maltese
said. “He never saw them again alive.”
Maltese, after sharing his own family
history, said that he is grateful to those
still honoring the many lives lost.
“We are here not only to commemorate
the 146 victims, but to honor six people
that have progressed the Triangle Fire
tradition and go and honor the memory
of those lost,” Maltese said. “We believe
that we carry out the message, not only
for those who were lost, but to those
who find their way to America as the
land of opportunity.”
The first honoree, Amy Koplow, a
family member of a Triangle Fire
victim, was awarded for her work as a
lifelong teacher of Triangle Fire history
and service as an executive director of
the Hebrew Free Burial Association
(HFBA). She has also been a faculty
member at CUNY Queens College and
Six individuals were honored during the ceremony held in remembrance of the tragic factory fire in Greenwich Village
where 146 people died. Photos by Adrian Childress
“On the anniversary of someone’s
death, in our faith, it is customary to
speak their names and talk about the
deceased,” Koplow said.
Koplow went on to speak the names
and ages of the 22 victims, 18 women
and four men, all immigrants, buried
by HFBA in Staten Island.
Council member Robert Holden and
state Senator Jospeh Addabbo presented
citations of honor to the honorees.
Addabbo said that it’s important to
remember the tragedy that changed
“Those children should never have
been in that situation,” Addabbo said.
“The victims of the Triangle Shirtwasit
Factory Fire did not die in vain and are
still remembered over a hundred years
later. Because of that tragedy we have
safer work environments today.”
The second honoree, Dr. Fedele Vero,
lost his aunt, who was 15 at the time of
the Triangle Fire. Vero was recognized
for his service in the effort to remember
Other honorees included Stefanie De-
Fronzo, Donna Ferraro, Michael Lewis
and Genevieve Spanarkel.