International Day for Holocaust Remembrance
January 27 marks the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Nazi Germany’s largest concentration and death camp. The UN-designated International Day for Holocaust Remembrance is dedicated to the memory of six million Jews, two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population, and millions of others who were killed by the brutal Nazi regime and its collaborators. This year’s theme is Holocaust Remembrance and Education.
“During the Holocaust, the Nazis went to great lengths to dehumanize their victims. Defying the Nazis took extraordinary courage.”UN Outreach Programme on the Holocaust, 2024
Dehumanization is a precursor to hatred, and hatred is often a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide. At a time of heightened tensions, it is urgently essential for people of all backgrounds to remember and learn about the Holocaust and continue to hold space for critical and self-reflective conversations in classrooms, workplaces and among communities about the horrors of antisemitism, dehumanization and genocide.
“I urge all Canadians to work together in unity to defend democracy and counter antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion in all their expressions. Never again also means to never again be silent, never again be indifferent.”Deborah Lyons, Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism
Amidst rising global tensions, incidents of antisemitism in Canada have surged in recent months. It is crucial to emphasize that no circumstances warrant acts of hatred, discrimination, or violence. Canadian Jews should not be held accountable for the decisions of a foreign government, and it is imperative to safeguard them from targeted discrimination, in accordance with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The CRRF remains committed to collaborating with Canadian law enforcement, policymakers, and community leaders to ensure the safety of all communities. Additionally, we strive to foster connections between communities as a poignant reminder of our shared humanity.
International Day for Holocaust Remembrance is an important moment for all in Canada to reflect on the phrase “never again”, and the urgency of nurturing and protecting a universal understanding of humanity to combat hate, racism and religious discrimination, prevent further atrocity, and build better understanding and affinity among all peoples on this land.