Over the past two weeks, the Education Department at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) has been busy with:
January 27th: Holocaust Remembrance
FSWC's International Holocaust Remembrance Day community programming held throughout the day on January 27th drew thousands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
First, FSWC partnered with the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem and Sinai Health to present a special educational program about Jewish Medicine in the Holocaust. The program featured Dr. Miriam Offer, author of White Coats in the Ghetto, and Holocaust survivor Menachem Warshawski on a panel moderated by Dr. Howard Ovens, a child of a survivor. Both Offer and Warshawski revealed the remarkable heroism of Jewish medical professionals working in unimaginable circumstances in both ghettos and concentration camps.
FSWC's evening commemoration event, co-presented by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre and the Azrieli Foundation, was attended by 3,500 community members.
We were thrilled to feature Holocaust survivors Max Eisen, Rose Lipszyc, Eva Olsson, Nate Leipciger, Eva Meisels, Andy Réti, Leonard Vis, Pinchas Gutter and Gershon Willinger who shared their heartfelt testimonies. Thank you to Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, the Honourable Irwin Cotler, for his poignant and meaningful remarks, and to Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl for his recitation of Kaddish. We also acknowledge all dignitaries who delivered special messages in recognition of this important day along with the numerous community partners who helped us reach out across Canada with this important event.
If you were not able to join us, both programs were recorded and are availably by clicking on the videos below:
Marking Holocaust Remembrance Day with the Canadian Government
Multiple departments of the federal government reached out to FSWC to schedule programming to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day last week.
Holocaust survivor Max Eisen shared his personal story of survival to more than 550 members of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Max was introduced by Deputy Minister Chris Forbes who commented on the importance of listening to the testimonies of survivors.
More than 450 members of the Communications Security Establishment, a security department of the Canadian government, welcomed Holocaust survivor Gershon Willinger to their virtual platform to share his moving testimony. One participant shared, "As a parent of young children, Gershon's story is especially poignant. I think about the difficult decisions for parents to separate from their children in order to secure their safety and survival...But the idea of being robbed of the opportunity to teach and love them is simply unimaginable to me. The very thought of it brings me to tears."
Professional Development with the Department of Justice
Last fall, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Canada reached out to FSWC requesting an educational program about antisemitism for their members. This program, created specifically for the DOJ was presented to more than 200 members of the legal team last week.
Tour for Humanity: Notes from the Road
Tour for Humanity was back on the road last week, presenting multiple workshops to teenagers in Thornhill. The first in-person stop in 2022 saw students who were actively engaged in the presentation that focused on the history of the Holocaust. Thoughtful questions from the students allowed for some meaningful conversations that deepened their understanding of events of the Holocaust.
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