“Saying ‘never again’ is not enough”: Trudeau speaks on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Jan 27 2023, 9:33 pm

January 27 marks a sombre anniversary around the world but serves as an important reminder not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

That’s the message from Canada’s prime minister Friday on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Each January 27, on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1945, we come together to promise ‘never again,'” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Friday.

“In 2023, the Holocaust seems increasingly distant, so listening to and learning from survivors’ stories is now more important than ever. With the disturbing rise of antisemitism in our communities, we must uphold our collective responsibility to speak up against hatred and discrimination – wherever and whenever it occurs,” he explained.

Those incidents of hate include antisemitic symbols and messages carried by some during the so-called Freedom Convoy.

Many members of the Jewish community have also condemned the offensive comparison of suggesting vaccine mandates were like the Holocaust.

As well, there has been a 733% rise in crimes against members of Canada’s Jewish community in recent years, according to a report from Statistics Canada.

Canada is joining the United Nations in marking this year’s anniversary with the theme “Home and Belonging” to remember that victims and survivors of the Holocaust were forced to adjust their idea of belonging as the Nazi Party put its ideology into practice, identifying who could claim Germany as home. Those policies left millions of people homeless and stateless before and during the Second World War. You can learn more here.

“Focusing on the humanity of the victims prompts us to remember our humanity, and our responsibility to combat hate speech, combat antisemitism and prejudice — to do all we can to prevent genocide,” the United Nations website reads in part.

Among those who sought a new home, were hundreds of people who Canada denied entry into the country as a result of restrictive immigration policies at the time.

“This included more than 900 Jewish passengers of the M.S. St. Louis, who were refused entry into Canada, and were forced to return to Europe. Subsequently, when the Nazis invaded Belgium, France, and the Netherlands in 1940, more than 250 of the passengers who were denied entry were murdered in the Holocaust. Additionally, many Canadians lost relatives, loved ones and friends in Nazi death camps,” the Government of Canada’s website reads.

Claire FentonClaire Fenton

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