Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, a second generation Holocaust survivor, presented a New York State Resolution, which he sponsored, proclaiming May 1st as Holocaust Remembrance Day in New York State to Rhonda Barad, eastern director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Michael S. Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. The ceremony was held at Manhattan’s Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“It says much about our society that the Assembly paused from its usual deliberations to remember the Holocaust and honor all those who were lost during this horrific period in world history,” Cymbrowitz stated. “If we don’t use the lessons that can be learned from the Holocaust to prevent future atrocities, six million of our brethren would have died in vain. I won’t let this happen. This is why focusing attention on the Holocaust is so important.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center was chosen for the ceremony because its founder, Simon Wiesenthal, has become an icon for reminding the world of the atrocities perpetuated during the Holocaust, as he hunted down those responsible for the deaths, in the decades following the Holocaust.
Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rhonda Barad highlighted the importance of perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust stating, “I commend Governor David A. Paterson for passing Assembly Resolution No. 1607 proclaiming May 1, 2008, as Holocaust Remembrance Day in the State of New York. 2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide of European Jews, we must remain vigilant in our efforts confronting anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism worldwide to ensure the memory of the Holocaust is never lost. As Simon Wiesenthal himself stated, ‘If all of us forgot, the same thing might happen again, in 20 or 50 or 100 years.’”
Michael Miller of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York pointed out that, “One of the painful lessons of the Holocaust is that ‘remembrance’ must never be passive in nature. May the memory of our martyred six million brothers and sisters, men, women and children, continue to serve as a galvanizing force toward the vigilance necessary for such evil to never happen again — not to our people, nor any other.”
“With time moving on, there are fewer and fewer survivors, who can provide firsthand accounts of the horrors that occurred during the Holocaust,” Cymbrowitz explained. “That is why each year it becomes even more important to remember the Holocaust, to discuss its horrors and to disseminate its lessons. This resolution not only highlights the significance of the Holocaust, but it communicates a strong message to all New Yorkers, and the world, that New York State will not tolerate hatred,” Cymbrowitz concluded. “I sponsor an annual Holocaust Art, Poetry and Essay contest to motivate Brooklyn students, both public school and yeshiva, to study and think about the Holocaust and then express their emotions, thoughts and knowledge in the art form of their choice.”