“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
Learn more about the activities of IHRA Chair Dr. Mario Silva in his latest blog post below.
New Post – 8 May 2013
Shortly after my visit to Hungary and Poland, I returned to Canada and spoke at the Yom HaShoah event on Parliament Hill and at the Canadian War Museum. Since the establishment of a National Holocaust Remembrance Day by the Parliament of Canada in 2003, the Government of Canada signaled once more its longstanding commitment to ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are enshrined in the hearts and minds of Canadians. The Government of Canada also announced the site of Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa.
The event is lead by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, with hundreds of dignitaries, Parliamentarians and community members in attendance. I had the honour, along with Senator Linda Frum, Minister Rona Ambrose and Ambassador of Israel Miriam Ziv to light one of the Yad Vashem Menorah, with its six-branched candelabra representing the six million Jews who perished. Minister Jason Kenney, Member of Parliament Mark Adler and Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Chair, Fran Sonshine presented a certificate to 60 survivors that were in attendance. Many of the survivors I spoke with were delighted to be invited to the Parliament of Canada and to receive a certificate on behalf of the Government. Upwards of 30,000 Holocaust survivors settled in Canada in the years immediately following the war.
I also participated in the “If Not Now When? Holocaust Responsibility and Memory” conference at Carleton University in Ottawa. Over 200 participants, including Canadian parliamentarians, senior Holocaust scholars and survivors, attended the conference, which was held in recognition of Canada’s assumption of the Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The conference goal was to generate further public discourse on the importance of Holocaust education and the preservation of Holocaust memory. I noted in my speech that “Because the Holocaust was a failure of humanity, remembering it is our duty, our obligation, to the future.” Holocaust survivors were present to strengthen the memory of the Holocaust with unsettling and horrific accounts of their experiences in concentration camps.
On the April 28 and 29, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum marked two decades of honouring Holocaust memory with a tribute dinner to Holocaust Survivors and World War II Veterans. Over 840 survivors and 110 World War II veterans joined thousands of international guests, dignitaries and Museum partners to mark the milestone and challenge new generations to continue the Museum’s important work. President Bill Clinton gave the keynote address at the opening Tribute Ceremony along with the Museum Founding Chairman Elie Wiesel. The museum presented its highest honour to World War II veterans who ended the Holocaust. Susan Eisenhower accepted the award on behalf of her grandfather, U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and all veterans of the era.