Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marked on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945 by the Soviet army. The Ottawa Jewish Bulletin has received the following statements from Canadian political leaders.
Statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau International Holocaust Remembrance Day
“On this day, we pay tribute to the memory of the millions of victims murdered during the Holocaust. We honour those who survived atrocities at the hands of the Nazi regime, and welcome their courageous stories of hope and perseverance.
“The Holocaust is a stark reminder of the dangers and risks of allowing hate, prejudice, and discrimination to spread unchallenged. It also reminds us that silence must never be an option when humanity is threatened.
“As we pause to educate ourselves and our families on the bitter lessons of the Holocaust, we also strengthen our resolve to work with domestic and international partners to continue defending human rights and condemning intolerance.”
Statement by Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
“Today we remember the countless innocent men, women, and children, including six million Jews who were murdered in Nazi death camps during the Second World War.
“We also honour those who survived the terrible cruelty of the Holocaust – tens of thousands of whom eventually made their way to Canada – and express our gratitude to those who put their own lives in danger to come to their aid.
“The fortitude of the survivors and the courage of those who gave them comfort and shelter in the face of unspeakable evil has been and remains an inspiration to generations since.
“Sadly, today is also a day to remind ourselves that the undisguised anti-Semitism of the Nazi-era still festers in too many parts of the world – and that it can reach even into our own society, clothed in more subtle garb.
“In too many parts of the world people still face terror, persecution, and oppression not for anything they have done, but simply for who they are or for what they believe.
“We call on the Government of Canada to continue to stand against this, both in words and actions, here at home and around the world.
“And we call on the Government to follow through on the all-party commitment to the international 2009 Terezin Declaration regarding the restitution of property stolen by the Nazis from Jewish families during the Holocaust.
“Today, on the seventy-first anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the death camps, all people who cherish freedom, justice, and tolerance are called upon to reflect on one of the darkest periods of human history. And we are called upon to renew our commitment to a solemn vow: “Never again.”
Statement by NDP Leader Tom Mulcair on International Holocaust Remembrance Day:
“Seventy-one years ago today, more than 7,000 prisoners were liberated from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp.
“Today, New Democrats join people of conscious around the world in honouring the memory of the millions of Jewish men, women and children who suffered and were murdered alongside countless others because of their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
“We must never forget the horror of the Holocaust – symbol of a true failure for all humanity – and pledge that never again will we be indifferent to intolerance, hatred and contempt for others.”
Statement by Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
“As we mark the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, we remember the six million Jews and the millions of other victims who were brutally murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
“In their honour, we must never let the worst chapter in human history be repeated or allow other violations of human rights to be tolerated. In the world we want, there is no place for racism, prejudice, violence, intolerance and persecution.
“Shoah survivors and all who have spoken about this abominable tragedy have highlighted the horror of anti-Semitism. On behalf of the survivors and in memory of those who died at the hands of a ruthless regime, we continue to work for a just, free world where all live in safety.
“This day is a poignant reminder that we must never forget and that the Holocaust’s remaining survivors must see justice served.
“It is deeply troubling that even after 71 years, victims and families still have not been compensated for assets confiscated by the Nazis. Canada reaffirms its commitment to the 2009 Terezín Declaration.”
Statement by Ontario Opposition Leader Patrick Brown on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
“Today, we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the victims of the Shoah, on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp (1940-1945).
“Six million Jews perished in the Holocaust. At the death camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau alone, more than a million individuals, mostly Jews, were murdered in gas chambers. Others who were killed included members of the Polish resistance and members of minority groups. The evil actions of the Nazis in carrying out their horrific campaign to annihilate millions is a terrible reminder to the darkness that fell upon humanity.
“Even in those dark times, there were occasions of light, including by Raoul Wallenberg and many courageous individuals around the world who worked bravely to save others.
“It is our solemn duty to remember the victims and those who resisted, honour those who fought the Nazis, and not forget this moment in history. We can do this by renewing our recognition of the dignity and value of every human being. Let us have the courage to protect the persecuted, the strength to defend the vulnerable, and the resolve to ensure this does not happen again.
“On this day, I join with all who are marking this occasion in our province, in the State of Israel, and around the world to never forget.”