(New York, NY)—The following is a statement from Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust President and CEO Jack Kliger and Chairman of the Board Bruce Ratner in response to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth:

“As a Holocaust memorial museum, we recognize that certain historic atrocities have no analog for the sheer magnitude and specificity of their cruelty. The Holocaust holds this status, as does America’s period of slavery.

Our Museum, along with other institutions and nations the world over, yearly commemorates key dates and victories that helped bring World War II to its end. We do so to honor heroic bravery and, more importantly, to reflect on the lessons of one of our darkest chapters and ensure that we never forget.

It is unfathomable that no such official holidays have yet existed to commemorate the end of slavery in this country. We must mourn the lives subjugated and families destroyed, we must celebrate the unsung resisters and heroes of abolitionism, and we must never forget that the persistent legacy of inequality and prejudice still exists in our world today. A symbolic holiday is but one imperative step.

We thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his responsiveness to calls for Juneteenth to be formally recognized. The nation should follow the Governor’s lead, so that June 19 becomes a day where we observe a historic moment in our nation’s history, and recommit to address the systemic racism and inequality that unfortunately still exist in the world around us today.”

About the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of more than 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.

Currently on view is the acclaimed exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. This is the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust ever presented in North America, bringing together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world.

Also on view are Ordinary Treasures: Highlights from the Museum of Jewish Heritage Collection and Rendering Witness: Holocaust-Era Art as Testimony.

The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.

While the Museum’s building is currently closed in accordance with COVID-19 safety measures, an array of programs and educational resources is being presented online.

For more information, visit mjhnyc.org.