Holocaust memorial unveiled at New York State Capitol

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's "Courage to Remember" exhibition intends to remind viewers of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

L-R: Sen. John Brooks, Sen. Phil Boyle, Sen. John Liu, Assemblymember Gina Sillitti, Sen. Rachel May, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Sen. Anna M. Kaplan, Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, Michael Cohen, Sen. Jim Gaughran, Sen. George Borrello, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Sen. Sue Serino, Sen. Roxanne Persaud (photo credit: SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER)
L-R: Sen. John Brooks, Sen. Phil Boyle, Sen. John Liu, Assemblymember Gina Sillitti, Sen. Rachel May, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Sen. Anna M. Kaplan, Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, Michael Cohen, Sen. Jim Gaughran, Sen. George Borrello, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Sen. Sue Serino, Sen. Roxanne Persaud
(photo credit: SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER)

A new exhibit on the Holocaust debuted Tuesday at the New York State Capitol. The display, on view through Friday, intends to remind viewers of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

The “Courage to Remember” exhibition, organized by Jewish human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), features 40 panels showcasing nearly 200 original photographs and facts detailing the Holocaust.  Democratic State Senator Anna Kaplan coordinated the exhibition’s arrival in New York's capital Albany.

"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," Kaplan said.

"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."

Russia’s invasion has unleashed significant devastation worldwide, but for Holocaust survivors, especially those from Ukraine, the crisis has cost many lives and sent a unique shock with heightened anxiety and grief reported as many Holocaust survivors feel as if they are being traumatized again by the invasion.

 RABBI ABRAHAM COOPER, pictured in his office at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. (credit: MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS) RABBI ABRAHAM COOPER, pictured in his office at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. (credit: MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC associate dean and director of global social action, told reporters at the exhibit's opening that the center endorses the efforts by Senator Kaplan to deepen and expand Holocaust education in New York State.

Kaplan has been fighting to pass S.121a/A.472a, which would provide oversight of how the history of the Holocaust is being taught in schools around the State of New York.

"Too many adults don’t know how to impart the core lessons of the Holocaust," Cooper said.

"Our kids are bombarded on TikTok, 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.”