Governor Kathy Hochul signed a legislative package to honor and support Holocaust survivors in New York State.The legislation addresses Holocaust education, Holocaust art stolen during the Nazi era, and the requirement of the state’s Department of Financial Services to publish and annually update a list of banks which voluntarily waive transaction fees for Holocaust reparation payments.
The new legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie, will require that the NYS Department of Financial Services publish a list of banks which have agreed to waive their processing fees, post the list publicly on its website, and update it annually.This will ensure that survivors, many of whom live in poverty, can choose to avoid paying these fees which can add up to substantial amounts. Additionally, this will persuade the banks that have yet to agree to waive these fees to do so.
“As New Yorkers, we are united in our solemn commitment to Holocaust survivors.We will never forget,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “These are individuals who have endured unspeakable tragedy but nonetheless have persevered to build lives of meaning and purpose right here in New York.We owe it to them, their families, and the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust to honor their memories and ensure future generations understand the horrors of this era.”
“We can’t heal the trauma that elderly Holocaust survivors endured, but we can take steps to help them make ends meet,” said Senator Zellnor Myrie.“I’m grateful to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law and to Assembly Member Eichenstein for his partnership. I encourage all state-chartered banks to voluntarily waive these transaction fees for survivors and look forward to seeing them on the state’s list next year.”
“Our Holocaust survivors are a precious gift and it is incumbent upon us to assist them in any way we can,” said Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein.“This bill, which I sponsored with Senator Myrie, will make sure that our Holocaust survivors are aware of which banks are waiving fees on reparations payments, fees that could add up substantially. Thank you Governor Hochul for recognizing the significance of this bill and signing it into law today.”
Assemblyman Eichenstein represents a district with the largest number of Holocaust survivors in the nation.As such, he is keenly attuned to their needs.“Our elderly survivors who have endured so much should not be charged corporate transaction fees for payments that are rightfully theirs,” he said. “They deserve better.”
New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris said,"New York is taking a critical step to support Holocaust survivors by waiving transfer and processing fees associated with reparations payments. I thank the Legislature and Governor Hochul for passing this important bill and signing it into law, so that survivors have access to 100% of their payments to meet their everyday needs. Through the Holocaust Claims Processing Office, DFS will continue to work with state, federal, and international counterparts to serve as a meaningful resource to provide long overdue justice for Holocaust survivors, victims, and heirs."