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B’nai Brith Commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Jan. 27, 2023

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. B’nai Brith Canada solemnly remembers the millions murdered in the Holocaust and reaffirms its commitment to combat antisemitism and hate, advocate on behalf of the marginalized and promote freedom and human rights.

The Holocaust, unparalleled in its scope and depravity, resulted in the murder of upwards of 12-million people between the years of 1933-1945. Committed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, the Holocaust is unique in how its perpetrators unleashed its horrors with a systematic, all-encompassing and genocidal zeal that terrorized humanity.

Over 6-million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Other groups targeted included Soviet POWs, Roma, disabled people, sexual minorities, political dissidents, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Nazi regime in its quest for so-called “Aryan supremacy” implemented increasingly punitive measures to totally disenfranchise, isolate, and eventually destroy European Jewish communities.

It was hellish. Yet, today, the type of hatred and antisemitism that inspired the Holocaust is surfacing at an alarming rate worldwide, including in Canada. History often repeats but it is our mission to make sure this ugliness does not return. Never again.

Jewish groups across Canada, such as B’nai Brith, have succeeded in persuading governments to take steps in the fight against antisemitism. In Ontario, children will soon be receiving compulsory Holocaust education in the sixth grade, and the Northwest Territories has committed to doing the same.

In addition, several provincial governments, notably Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, have taken the vital step of adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and opposition leaders have issued statements commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day and vowed to combat antisemitism and support Holocaust education.

“Since its inception in 2005, International Holocaust Remembrance Day has functioned as a necessary and important reminder of the consequences of unfettered hate,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The Holocaust represents the worst of human nature and cruelty. In the span of a decade, the Nazi regime decimated European Jewish communities that existed for centuries, murdered two in three European Jews and destroyed cherished religious, civil and cultural institutions.”

Mostyn reiterated that B’nai Brith is dedicated to fighting contemporary antisemitism, racism and advocating on behalf of the disabled and marginalized.

“Of course, we continue to support our Holocaust survivors in Canada,” Mostyn said. “We are there for them in their advanced ages and provide them with food security, affordable housing, much-needed companionship and community support. Holocaust survivors endured indescribable horrors. It is our honour to continue to serve and assist them with the humanity they deserve on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and for the rest of their lives.”