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NY legislation provides support for Holocaust survivors

This article was featured on WPIX11 by Rebecca Solomon: https://pix11.com/news/local-news/ny-legislation-provides-support-for-holocaust-survivors/amp/

NEW YORK (PIX11) – Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a legislative package Wednesday aimed at honoring and supporting the 40,000 Holocaust survivors living in New York State.

The governor said the new set of educational, cultural and financial measures came amid a rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

“I was a young girl and they took away everything from us because we were Jews,” said Judith Wohlberg, a Holocaust survivor.

Originally from Romania, Judith moved to New York in 1945, after her liberation from Auschwitz concentration camp and the Nazis.

Judith attended Wednesday’s BBQ at the Commonpoint Queens Tanenbaum Family Pool, alongside dozens of Holocaust survivors.

Despite New York having the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, Hochul said a rise in anti-Semitism, white supremacy and online radicalization means more needs to be done to support the remaining survivors of the genocide of six million Jews.

“We’re going to continue standing with our Jewish brothers and sisters because we know what happens when people turn a blind eye and ignore the facts, this happened in the 1940s,” Hochul said.

So history doesn’t repeat itself, Hochul signed legislation at the Jewish Heritage Museum in Lower Manhattan Wednesday, to help ensure schools are providing high-quality Holocaust education, require museums to acknowledge art stolen by the Nazi regime, and require the State Department of Financial Services to publish a list of financial institutions that voluntarily waive fees for Holocaust reparation payments.

“I believe we need all that very seriously,” said Wohlberg.

“As long as I have a breath in my body, I will stand to protect this community and stand to protect the people who had to endure the Holocaust,” Hochul said.

Back at the BBQ, the guests of honor are living in the moment, unable to forget their painful pasts, and hopeful for the future.

“It shouldn’t happen again, it’s a lesson,” said survivor, Louis Sherman.

“We need to educate so it never happens again,” said Wohlberg.

The bills go into effect immediately.

It’s unclear when schools will get the necessary and additional tools needed to instill the required Holocaust education.