Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state will allocate about $2.6 million to increase financial and medical support for survivors of the Holocaust, the genocide of European Jews during World War II.
According to the Governor’s Office, about 40% of New York state’s nearly 40,000 Holocaust survivors live in poverty. At a news conference announcing the funding, Hochul said the money would be distributed to nearly thirty organizations who will provide social services to survivors.
“We are here to recommit ourselves to supporting the survivors,” Hochul explained. “It is our duty, not just as New Yorkers, but as citizens of the world, and it’s something I take very seriously.”
Hochul pointed out the youngest survivors of the Holocaust now are in their mid-70s, and will likely require more support and financial aid as they continue to age. The funding, which is carved from the state’s 2023 fiscal year budget, will go toward case management, mental-health services, emergency financial assistance and legal services, among other things.
The new funding comes as New York sees an uptick in anti-Semitic hate speech and violence. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) documented 416 anti-Semitic incidents across the state in 2021, the highest number since the organization began tracking such data.
Eva Ganz, a Holocaust survivor, said ethics and history lessons for young kids can be a major tool in rooting out anti-Semitism early on.
“This is America, this is a free country, and we have to protect that freedom,” Ganz emphasized. “When freedom is denied, then chaos comes in.”
The ADL last year documented more than 2,700 anti-Semitic incidents nationally, which included assaults, harassment and vandalism. It is also the highest annual number of incidents since the organization started tracking in 1979.
Hochul added the security funding in her budget will help prevent future assaults and violent incidents.
Born and raised in Indiana, he has been covering issues in Wisconsin for the past several years. Jonah previously worked at WORT 89.9 FM in Madison, Wisconsin. Now he covers a host of issues for the Public News Service as part of the New York News Connection. Click here to support their mission! Send them an email at [email protected].