Today, people around the world are commemorating one of the darkest chapters in human history as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Every year, on January 27th, Jews and non-Jews pay tribute to those murdered by the Nazis, honour survivors and teach the important lessons of the Shoah.
Sadly, much of the world remains ignorant of the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities.
In 2005, to raise awareness, the United Nations chose this date for International Holocaust Remembrance Day as it marks the anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of the largest, most notorious Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Emblematic of the evil of the Holocaust, it’s where the Nazis killed more than 1.1 million people, 90 per cent of them Jews from all over Europe.
On this solemn day of commemoration, we honour the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazi persecution. It’s also a day to support the development of educational programs about the Holocaust to help prevent future genocides.
Today, exactly 77 years after Auschwitz was liberated, Canada and other countries are facing an alarming resurgence in antisemitism, along with a worrying increase in Holocaust denial, distortion and trivialization. All the more reason to commemorate the Shoah and listen to what the diminishing number of survivors have to say, so we can carry on the lessons of the past for future generations. The Holocaust must forever be a warning to all people of the danger of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.
This evening, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, the Azrieli Foundation and the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre will be hosting a special virtual program to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. If you have not already done so, please register to join us.