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YU News

Gov. Hochul Signs Landmark Legislation to Support Holocaust Survivors and Education

(l-r) Emil A. Fish, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Dr. Shay Pilnik

The Yeshiva University community expresses its immense gratitude to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Queens) and State Senator Anna Kaplan for all their efforts in passing the Holocaust Education Bill.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Rozic and Sen. Kaplan, was signed by Gov. Hochul to ensure that New York State schools are providing a high-quality education on the Holocaust to students. According to a 2020 study by the Claims Conference that covered the 50 states, New York is among those with the lowest Holocaust knowledge scores, with 58% of Millennials and Gen Z being unable to name a single concentration camp. The study also found that 60% of young people did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

Assemblywoman Rozic has been a great friend and partner of YU and its students over the years, working with the University’s Office of Government Relations on many causes. She has also attended YU’s Yom HaShoah commemorations, where, at one, she strongly encouraged YU’s students to get politically involved and use their power to make a difference. Sen. Kaplan, who was born in Iran and fled the country as a child, is not only a friend and supporter of YU, she is also a graduate of Stern College for Women and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

At the event, held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park, the governor also signed legislation requiring museums to acknowledge art stolen from the Jewish community during the Nazi era in Europe as well as legislation requiring the state’s Department of Financial Services to publish a list of banks that voluntarily waive fees for Holocaust reparation payments.

“As New Yorkers, we are united in our solemn commitment to Holocaust survivors: We will never forget,” said Gov. Hochul on her website, who has a history of supporting Holocaust survivors. “These are individuals who have endured unspeakable tragedy but nonetheless have persevered to build lives of meaning and purpose right here in New York. We owe it to them, their families, and the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust to honor their memories and ensure future generations understand the horrors of this era.”

In attendance was Dr. Shay Pilnik, director of the Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Yeshiva University, Emil Fish, and Jon Greenfield, director of government relations at YU, all of whom worked with the two representatives’ offices to help get the legislation passed.

“As the flagship Jewish university, Yeshiva University is unwavering in its commitment to combatting antisemitism and educating the next generation on the lessons of the Holocaust,” said Greenfield. “We applaud Gov. Kathy Hochul for her leadership in mandating Holocaust education across New York State and commend Assemblywoman Rozic and Sen. Kaplan for securing its passage in the state legislature.”