print this page

Chair's Blog - New Post


Learn more about the activities of IHRA Chair Dr. Mario Silva in his latest blog post below.

Read the IHRA Chair's Blog

Follow the IHRA Chair on Twitter

New Post - 15 April 2013

I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet the new Polish Head of Delegation to IHRA, Ambassador Krzystof Olendzki, and Deputy Head of Delegation Sebastian Rejak during their visit to Canada on March 22nd. Poland joined the IHRA in 1999 and has also held the Chairmanship in 2005.

Canada’s Head of Delegation, Colin Boyd, and I went to Washington in early April and met with Paul Shapiro at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and later in the day we met at the State Department with US Head of Delegation Douglas Davidson, Deputy Head of Delegation Liz Nakian, and Susan Sandler.  The meeting afforded us an opportunity to discuss various issues regarding the IHRA. 

Canada commemorates Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) with several ceremonies of observance across the country.  The ceremony was inaugurated in 1953 by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and today is observed by several countries.  For 2013, Yom Hashoah began at sundown on Sunday, April 7.

On April 7, I participated in the Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah Community Holocaust Commemoration at the Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus (Schwartz/Reisman Centre in Vaughan).  The ceremony was co-sponsored by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem and Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.  Participating organizations included B’nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the Consulate General of Israel, General Wingate Branch 256 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Hillel of Greater Toronto, Canadian Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants, Jewish War Veterans of Canada, the Toronto Board of Rabbis, the Toronto Council of Hazzanim, and Vaad Ha’Rabbanim.

Approximately 1,500 people gathered for a solemn and moving ceremony that involved the participation of Holocaust survivors, students, Jewish war veterans, politicians and community members alike. I was honoured to attend.

Later that day I flew to Montreal and spoke at the Yom Hashoah commemoration at the Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem.  The ceremony was organized by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre with the theme of commemorating the 70th anniversary of the uprisings of 1943 in Warsaw, Vilna, and other ghettos.

The following day it was back to Toronto where I attended the annual League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada joint event with the Law Society of Upper Canada. This year's topic was "The Road from Democracy to Dictatorship, from the Holocaust to the Present Day." The event was very well attended with great panelists, who reminded us that the freedoms of democracy can still be exploited. I was honoured by Frank Dimant, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada, with a certificate recognizing my efforts to promote Holocaust education and awareness.

The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, which holds an annual event at Ottawa’s War Museum, will hold their ceremony on April 23rd due to the fact the Canadian Parliament was not in session during the week of April 7.