Holocaust survivors participated in a ceremony today at the provincial parliament buildings, lighting six candles in honour of the six million Jewish men, women and children killed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.
Multiculturalism Minister Teresa Wat and MLA for Vancouver-Langara Moira Stilwell were joined by representatives from The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Pacific Region, the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre and Victoria Holocaust Remembrance and Education Society to remember and honour the victims of the largest act of systematic genocide in history.
Holocaust Memorial Day is also a day to remember the more than five million people who died and experienced oppression during the same time period because of their physical or mental disabilities, race, religion or sexual orientation.
This year marks the 71st anniversary of the liberation of prisoners from the Auschwitz concentration camp where more than 1.1 million prisoners were killed. On Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated about 7,000 prisoners, most of them sick and physically exhausted.
Proclaimed by the Province, May 5, 2016, marks Yom Ha’Shoah or Holocaust Memorial Day.
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism –
“Holocaust Memorial Day reminds us of the tragic loss of life that can and does occur when individuals do not intervene to fight systematic persecution and hatred. British Columbia is known for its open and inclusive society, and we must continue to be vigilant to ensure that racism, bigotry and discrimination have no place here.”
Yael Levin, manager of community relations, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Pacific Region –
“In this day and age, when racism and anti-Semitism sadly still exist and when minorities like the Jewish community continue to be the target of discrimination and hatred, we must not allow the lessons of the Holocaust and the memory of the victims to be forgotten. As the number of survivors dwindles, it rests upon us to act as witnesses and carry this message to the next generation: Never forget, never again. Today's proclamation is a testament of the leadership and willingness of the Province of B.C. to fulfill this important endeavour.”
- In 2003, the House of Commons established Holocaust Memorial Day as an official day of commemoration in Canada. The day is also observed each year by the legislature of the Province of British Columbia.
- The Holocaust Memorial Day Act was passed in 2000 and British Columbia was the second province to officially recognize this day in Canada.
- Yom Ha’Shoah is observed around the world on the day determined each year by the Jewish calendar.
- Over the past three years, an average of $1.7 million has been spent annually on programs that promote multiculturalism and address racism in British Columbia.
- B.C. is the most ethnically diverse province in Canada, and welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year.
Anti-racism in B.C.: http://ow.ly/4mHXcB
Unlearn Racism Educational resource: www.UnlearnRacism.ca
Know Hate video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl8ZEpxDgvk
B.C. Multicultural Advisory Council: http://ow.ly/4mHX46
Holocaust Memorial Day Act: http://ow.ly/4nr8Ny