NYC Council Renames Holocaust Survivors Initiative in Honor of Elie Wiesel
NEW YORK – The New York City Council has renamed its $2.5-million program to provide Holocaust survivors living at or below the federal poverty line with a wide range of services as the “Elie Wiesel Holocaust Survivors Initiative” in honor of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, who passed away last month.
“As one of the world’s most prominent Holocaust survivors, Elie Wiesel channeled the pain of his experiences to speak out against genocide, champion for human rights and promote basic human dignity,” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement after meeting with the Wiesel family in New York on Thursday. “The Elie Wiesel Holocaust Survivors Initiative will ensure New York City’s Holocaust survivors can live their lives out in dignity and is a fitting tribute to a man whose extraordinary grace in the face of inconceivable anguish is a testament to the endurance and triumph of the human spirit.”
The City Council pledged to invest $2.5 million into the program in the FY2017 budget. The program was launched in 2015 by Councilmembers Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn) and Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), who is also Chair of the Jewish Caucus.
New York City is home to 55,000 Holocaust survivors and as many as 30,000 survivors are living near, at or below the federal poverty line, according to a recent report.
“We are renaming the Holocaust Survivors Initiative after Elie Wiesel because he was a survivor who spent his life giving back to others who suffered so greatly in their lifetime,” said Espinal. “The Council’s Survivors Initiative is in a sense a direct result of Wiesel’s life work, and it is truly fitting that we will rename it in his honor,” added Levine.
Elisha Wiesel, who attended the meeting hosted by Mark-Viverito and the Jewish Caucus, thanked the Council for honoring his father’s memory with this initiative. “My father became a US citizen in New York after the war,” he said. “My father loved this country, and I know that he would be moved to know of the work the city is doing to ease the burden of his fellow survivors.”