Arkady Zaltsman grew up in Moldova, part of the former Soviet Union, where his childhood interest in the arts paved the way to a successful career as an architect.
Before immigrating to the United States with his family in the early 1990s, Zaltsman helped design the parliament house in his hometown of Kishinev. Upon arriving in the U.S., Zaltsman was determined to continue his architecture career in New York City.
“He was just willing to push through, and he would just pack up his briefcase with his portfolio, which was very impressive from Russia, and go to offices, go to firms and advertise himself,” recalled his daughter Laura Khait in an oral history recorded by the 9/11 Memorial Museum. She went on to further describe her father’s work ethic, commitment and tenacity in pursuing his passion.
On September 11, 2001, Zaltsman was working as a project manager for the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. After dropping his daughter off at school, Zaltsman arrived to his morning appointment at Aon Corporation on the South Tower’s 105th floor. He was 45 years old.
“An interesting fact, also, that because he was so busy, his appointments overlapped, and he was always late,” recalled his wife Zahnna Galperina. Her husband was always running from one appointment to the other. “But on that particular day he was there on time,” said Galperina.
A sample of Zaltsman’s design work is now on view in the memorial exhibition and showcases his proposal entry into a design competition for the Oklahoma City Memorial, erected in honor of those killed in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The selection of artifacts currently on view in the memorial exhibition all speak to the hobbies, writings or drawings of 19 of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 and Feb. 26, 1993 terror attacks.
By 9/11 Memorial Staff