As he departed for Poland to take part in the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pointed to the need of educating young people about the Holocaust.
Cuomo is the only elected U.S. leader traveling to the commemoration ceremony in Poland Monday amid heightened concerns over anti-Semitism in the New York City metropolitan area.
There has been an increase in the number of attacks against Jewish targets over the last year and Cuomo wants a new domestic terrorism charge to help combat the issue.
Cuomo's agenda this year also calls for adding diversity lessons to the state's education curriculum.
"People are going to have to resolve this issue. They're going to have to open their minds and open their hearts. They're going to have to understand each other. Understand the Jewish community," Cuomo said. "Understand the Holocaust. Understand what happened. Understand we lost 6 million Jewish people just because of their religious beliefs and this is a nation that was founded on religious freedom. How repugnant to the concept of America to show anger or hate to anyone based on race or religion. It's what this nation was founded on."
Cuomo departed for the trip at an event attended by Jewish leaders as well as Holocaust survivors. He is traveling with tokens and mementos for the occasion.
"We have to remember that. We have to teach our young people that. And we also have to open our heart and remember who we are as Americans, and who we are as New Yorkers and how we accept and how we understand and how we embrace and how we tolerate differences," he said. "That's what this is all about. That's what the trip to Auschwitz is all about. That's what we've been working here in this state about."