February 2020 -- Shevat-Adar 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 2

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Governor Joins World Leaders as Only U.S. Elected Official at Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

During his trip to Poland, January 26-27, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recommitted to fighting anti-Semitism in all its forms with actions that include passing a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law, enacting a diversity curriculum for schools and expanding the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The Governor attended the official commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau as the only U.S. elected official to attend the official commemoration events.


“The official commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau was a somber, yet powerful reminder of what the Jewish people have gone through and what they are still going through today,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel. We must continue to speak out and fight back against these abhorrent acts of hate whenever and wherever we see them.”


The Governor also toured Auschwitz-Birkenau and saw the concentration camp’s barracks. He laid stones from the New York State Capitol on the train tracks leading into Auschwitz as a symbol of the State’s pledge to never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust. The mementos and tokens from Auschwitz survivors and from New York State elected officials and Jewish community leaders that were brought on the trip were given to the Izaak Synagogue in Kraków.


During the trip, the Governor met with Holocaust survivors and their descendants from New York State and all over the world, as well as Ambassador Ronald Lauder and his wife Jo Carole Lauder; London Mayor Sadiq Khan; Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, founder and co-chairman of the March of the Living; and Richard Heideman, President of American Zionist movement and his wife Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, President of the International March of the Living.


“Words alone fail to describe the experience of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and being there together with holocaust survivors. Auschwitz was an unimaginable hell come to life, and it is now a symbol of what the Jewish people have endured and what this world allowed to transpire,” Governor Cuomo said. “During this visit I met survivors and heard their stories of pain and suffering. I stood on the ground where millions of Jews and countless others were tortured and killed. But I also learned of the hope and resilience of the Jewish people. Every single New Yorker must learn the lesson of Auschwitz, so that we never allow such hatred to rise again. New York will be the state that continues to tell these stories to ensure this horrific stain on our history is never repeated.


Particularly at a time of rising anti-Semitism, we must stand strong and united and fight hatred in all its forms. We remain committed to the agenda I laid out in the State of the State to make sure every child in New York is educated on diversity, tolerance and religious freedom and we will keep fighting to pass a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law. We will always stand united with our Jewish community, and we will never allow the world to fail the Jewish community again.”