Honoring The Victims, Combatting Hate: Chancellor Banks’ Holocaust Remembrance Message

January 27, 2024

In recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2024, we honor the memory of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.

This day also serves as a somber reminder of the countless other victims who suffered under the brutalities of the Nazis.  

The atrocities of the Holocaust are not merely historical facts; they are stark reminders of the consequences of unchecked hatred, bigotry, and fascism. As educators and stewards of history, we bear the critical responsibility of keeping the memory of these atrocities alive. It is imperative, especially today, as we witness a distressing resurgence of antisemitism, including here in NYC. Our commitment to educating the next generation about the Holocaust is not just about recounting historical events; it’s about instilling values of empathy, tolerance, and the unwavering defense of our common humanity. 

This commitment was further underscored this past Monday when I introduced a comprehensive plan designed to empower our educators with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively teach the history of antisemitism and other forms of hate and bigotry. This initiative is about more than education; it is a moral imperative to ensure that the lessons of the past inform our actions in the present and guide our path towards a future where such horrors are never repeated. 

The abhorrent attack by Hamas on October 7th, which resulted in a tragic loss of life, including Holocaust survivors, stands as a harrowing reminder of the persistent shadows of hatred and antisemitism.

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This attack—the most severe against Jewish individuals since the Holocaust—and, closer to home, the 214% increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes in NYC, underscore the urgent need for remembrance, reflection, and action. 

To that end, as part of our commitment to meeting this moment, we were honored to host Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein and Dr. Michael Berenbaum, leaders in Holocaust education, to share their reflections and collective wisdom with NYCPS staff members yesterday at Tweed Courthouse. 

On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us pledge to honor the memories of all who perished by recommitting ourselves to combatting antisemitism and all forms of hate.

“Let us educate with purpose, engage with compassion, and act with … determination…”

Let us educate with purpose, engage with compassion, and act with the determination to build a world that truly remembers and learns from the atrocities of the past. 

May their memories be a blessing. 

Photo credit: HWM.

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