New York governor pledges $2.6 million to aid state’s Holocaust survivors

Kathy Hochul says Holocaust Survivors Initiative will fund programs that provide health care and other services to 40,000 victims of Nazi genocide, 40% of whom are in poverty

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during an event in New York, Nov. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during an event in New York, Nov. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK — New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced $2.6 million in funding to support the state’s Holocaust survivors during a speech marking Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday.

The Holocaust Survivors Initiative will provide funds to 29 organizations for health care and other critical services for survivors, Hochul said.

“Survivors endured tragedy beyond anyone’s imagination — they deserve a lifetime of compassion and healing,” Hochul said.

New York is home to nearly 40,000 survivors, and around 40% are in poverty, said Hochul, who took over for resigned ex-governor Andrew Cuomo in August and is campaigning for New Yorkers to keep her in the post when they go to the polls this fall.

There are around 65,000 Holocaust survivors living in the US, and about one-third live below the poverty level, according to the Blue Card, a New York-based group that assists survivors.

Hochul announced the funding at a meeting with survivors and Jewish community representatives in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

She said she met with a group of survivors before the conference.

“There’s no one with as much heart, but as much strength, as these incredible women,” she said, thanking them for “the lessons you have taught us.”

Hochul also addressed rising antisemitism in the US.

“I will continue to call out these acts and to protect people,” she said, highlighting $25 million in the state budget to fund security for nonprofits targeted by hate crimes. “No one should have to live in fear. Fear can be debilitating.”

“New York stands with the Jewish community on this solemn day, and we reaffirm our commitment to fighting against hate wherever it rears its ugly head,” she added.

Hochul has repeatedly spoken out against antisemitism in New York, has taken action against anti-Jewish crimes and has close ties to New York Jewish communities.

Hate crimes against Jews are rising in New York, around the US and internationally.

The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday said there were 2,717 antisemitic incidents in the US in 2021, representing a 34% increase over 2020 and the highest total since the ADL began publishing annual counts in 1979.

The high total is partially due to better and more widespread data collection. The tally included physical assaults, verbal abuse, graffiti and other incidents. There were no deadly attacks in 2021.

In New York, there were 416 antisemitic incidents in 2021, the highest of any state, and 24% more than 2020. There were 51 antisemitic assaults in New York last year, a 325% increase over the previous year.

Jews are targeted in hate crimes more than any other group in New York City, by far, year after year. Anti-Jewish attacks accounted for 38 percent of all confirmed hate crimes in New York City last year, according to NYPD statistics.

Antisemitic hate crimes in the city are soaring so far this year. Last month, there were 23 antisemitic attacks, representing a 92% increase over the same period last year, according to police data.

Jews are the victims of 47% of all confirmed incidents in the city since the start of the year, according to the data.

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