Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Honor and Support Holocaust Survivors in Educational, Cultural, and Financial Institutions

Legislation (A.472C /S.121B) will help ensure that New York schools are properly educating students on the Holocaust. The legislation directs the New York State Education Department to determine whether school districts across the state have met education requirements on instruction of the Holocaust, which have been required by law since 1994. It will also require NYSED to identify how non-compliant schools will close gaps in knowledge of the Holocaust in schools.   

State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “With antisemitism on the rise, and Holocaust misinformation exploding around the world, it’s never been more important that we learn the lessons of the Holocaust, and ensure our next generation knows about our history, no matter how dark or difficult the conversation may be. It’s why I’ve fought tirelessly to pass the Holocaust Education Bill, so that we can ensure this vital history is being taught to students in New York, and so that we may never forget what happened. I’m so grateful for my partnership with Assemblymember Nily Rozic, for the leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul, and for the countless advocates and organizations who fought alongside me since day one of this important effort.”   

Assemblymember Nily Rozic said, “Never Again must serve as a call to action, not just empty words we say. As antisemitism rises across New York and Holocaust survivors age, this new law will ensure that New York students are taught about what happens when hatred goes unchecked. I’m grateful to Governor Hochul for signing this package of legislation, and to all the organizations and advocates whose tireless work brought us to this moment.”   

Legislation (A.3719A/S.117A) requires museums to acknowledge the origins of art pieces that were stolen from Europeans during the Nazi era, primarily from Jewish families. During World War II, the Nazis looted some 600,000 paintings from Jews, enriching the Third Reich and eliminating all vestiges of Jewish identity and culture. Museums across New York display this stolen art with no recognition of or transparency around their origins, and this legislation will require museums to disclose information on the history of these stolen art pieces.   

State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “During the Holocaust, some 600,000 paintings were stolen from Jewish people not only for their value, but to wipe our culture and identity off the face of the Earth. Today, artwork previously stolen by the Nazis can be found hanging in museums around New York with no recognition of the dark paths they traveled there. With the history of the Holocaust being so important to pass on to the next generation, it’s vital that we be transparent and ensure that anyone viewing artwork stolen by the Nazis understand where it came from and its role in history.”  

Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine said, “80 years later we are still forced to confront the horrors of the Holocaust. Too many people remain ignorant of the indiscriminate wholesale murder of more than six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II, plus the countless examples of humiliation and, in cases such as this, blatant profiteering. This law is indicative of how we must continue to fight hate through education.”   

Legislation (A.9338/S.8318) requires the New York State Department of Financial Services to maintain and update a list of financial institutions that waive wire fees associated with Holocaust reparations payments. About one-third of Holocaust survivors in the U.S. live in poverty. This legislation will ease unnecessary burdens that banks may place on Holocaust survivors that receive reparation payments.    

State Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “We can’t heal the trauma that elderly Holocaust survivors have endured, but we can take steps to help them make ends meet. I’m grateful to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law and to Assembly Member Eichenstein for his partnership. I encourage all state-chartered banks to voluntarily waive these transaction fees for survivors and look forward to seeing them on the state’s list next year.”   

Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein said, “Our Holocaust survivors are a precious gift and it is incumbent upon us to assist them in any way we can. This bill, which I sponsored with Senator Zellnor Myrie, will ensure that our Holocaust survivors are aware of which banks are waiving fees on reparations payments, fees that could add up substantially. Our elderly survivors that have endured so much should not be charged corporate transaction fees for payments that are rightfully theirs. They deserve better. Thank you Governor Hochul for recognizing the significance of this bill and signing it into law today.”