Nov. 9, 2022
TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada enthusiastically welcomes the Ontario Ministry of Education’s decision to introduce mandatory Holocaust education, starting in Grade 6.
“This is a major step in the right direction,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, who attended the Wednesday announcement at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in North York, Ont. “At this point of history, with stark amounts of antisemitism and dwindling numbers of Holocaust survivors, it is essential for our young students to be aware of the atrocities created by the Nazis and to be armed with knowledge so that this horrendous crime against humanity never recurs.
“It would be ideal if other Canadian provinces follow Ontario’s example.”
Six-million Jews were murdered at the hands of Hitler and his henchmen and, sadly, many youngsters have not been sufficiently educated in recent years about the Holocaust.
A 2019 Canadian study found that one in five students were unaware of the Holocaust and its horrors. A more recent North American study found that nearly a third of students don’t know what to think about the Holocaust, believe the number of Jews who died has been exaggerated, or question whether it even happened.
Furthermore, the study found a striking 40 per cent of students learned about the Holocaust from social media, which, of course, is dangerous since misinformation and false history are commonplace online.
Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, made the important announcement concerning Holocaust education on the eve of Kristallnacht.
The threat of antisemitism “is the most ancient form of hatred,” Lecce told the conference. “It has taken root in our schools, campuses, and across this country. It is absolutely unacceptable.”
Lecce cited B’nai Brith Canada’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which reported and documented a dramatic increase in Jew hate in this country in 2021.
“As free people we declared the words, ‘never again,’” Lecce said. “So how is it that one in three students in this country believe that the Holocaust was exaggerated with many unsure if it happened at all?”
Lecce said mandatory Holocaust Education in Ontario will begin next September.
“We are proud to do this,” the Minister said. “Words are insufficient and today we need action. Antisemitism has no place in our society, especially in our schools.”
B’nai Brith makes itself available to aid Canadians in the battle against antisemitism. Please be advised that we offer multiple tools to report antisemitic incidents, including a hotline and a mobile application, on both Apple and Android stores.