SWC "Courage to Remember" Holocaust Exhibition Opens in NY State Capitol; Push for More Holocaust Education

March 22, 2022

L-R: Senator John Brooks, Senator Phil Boyle, Senator John Liu, Assemblymember Gina Sillitti, Senator Rachel May, SWC Associate Dean and Global Social Action Director, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Senator Anna M. Kaplan, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, SWC Eastern Director Michael Cohen, Senator Jim Gaughran, Senator George Borrello, Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin, Senator Sue Serino, and Senator Roxanne Persaud
Against the backdrop of the horrific invasion of Ukraine and continuing anti-Semitic attacks across the U.S., NYS Senator Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills), a leading advocate for increased Holocaust education in New York State’s schools, brought the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (SWC) “Courage to Remember” exhibition on the Holocaust to the New York State Capitol.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said "the lessons of the Holocaust are more important today than ever before, as we all watch in horror as a peaceful European nation is invaded under false pretenses, and cynically using Holocaust misinformation as an excuse to do so. It's critical that we know our history, that we learn from it, and that we ensure that "never again" isn't just a saying, but something we work to deliver. That's why I asked the Simon Wiesenthal Center to bring the "Courage to Remember" exhibition to Albany, so that everyone here can take it in and learn about this vital history, and so that we can continue to have this important dialogue around the issue of Holocaust education and how we're failing to properly teach this history here in New York."

Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin said “Disinformation and antisemitism are alive and well on our streets, so we must continue to send New Yorkers and the rest of the world the message: hate has no place here. Not against our Jewish siblings. Not against our Asian siblings. Not against any New Yorker—because hate is not who we are as a people. Thank you to Senator Anna Kaplan and the Simon Wiesenthal Center for bringing “Courage to Remember” here to remind us remind that, though the horror of the Holocaust is unique, the root causes that led to it are things we are still fighting today.”

Rabbi Cooper, said “too many adults don’t know how to impart the core lessons of the Holocaust. Our kids are bombarded on Tik Tok, in online games with pro-Nazi, antisemitic messaging. We are all subject to Holocaust denial from the Iranian regime. Holocaust distortion from Putin’s propaganda machine. And the co-opting of Holocaust imagery by some anti-vaxxers. We are here today as the world watches evil unleashed against innocent children, their parents, and we see cities reduced to rubble. In order to persevere today and plan for the future we need the courage to remember our history, and that’s what this exhibition is all about, and it’s why we must do a better job of teaching this history to our next generation.”

During the press event, speaking on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Cooper endorsed the efforts by Senator Kaplan to deepen and expand Holocaust education in the State. Senator Kaplan has been fighting to pass S.121a/A.472a, which would provide desperately needed oversight of how the history of the Holocaust is being taught in schools around the State of New York.

Rabbi Cooper concluded “The Courage to Remember exhibition puts a human face on the overwhelming tragedy of the Holocaust, while the events in Ukraine shed new light on the dangers of Holocaust distortion, which is a rapidly growing new variant of antisemitism. Furthermore the ‘Courage to Remember’ exhibition reinforces the importance of Holocaust education to combat efforts to erase history."
New York State Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein and Michael Cohen with SWC Government Advocacy Intern Program participant interns, Gabrielle Kaminsky, Saindy Weiss, and Allegra Timsit.
Holocaust memorial unveiled at New York State Capitol 
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