OTTAWA – Minister for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney issued the following statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination camp (1940-1945), and the 10th annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust:
“This poignant day marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp, where more than one million people – most of them Jewish – were sent to gas chambers and to their agonizing deaths.
“The horrifying atrocities of the Shoah must never be forgotten. The extent of the cruelty of the Nazis in carrying out their campaign of mass murder is a reminder of the darkness to which humanity can sink, and strengthens our resolve that such atrocities must never happen again.
“Six million Jews, including 1.5-million children – one-third of the world’s Jewish population at the time – perished in the Holocaust. We remember them, as well as many others who were killed because of their ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, disabilities, or political views, by vowing to never forget. It is our solemn duty to honour the heroic survivors by teaching future generations their stories and learning the lessons from their experiences.
“Canada is proud to be an international leader Holocaust education, remembrance and research. That is why we are pleased to announce that in commemoration of today’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom has provided a $100,000 grant to UNESCO’s Holocaust education program.
“Part of this grant has helped to fund an important Holocaust remembrance event that took place today at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The remainder will help to fund a follow-up seminar, in partnership with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which will help countries around the world to integrate Holocaust education into their educational curricula.
“As Minister for Multiculturalism, I encourage all Canadians to remember the victims of the Shoah, to learn about this tragic chapter in world history and to reflect on the dangers of anti-Semitism, for it is through Holocaust education that we give new resolve to the words, ‘never again.’”