Holocaust survivors and Jewish community leaders participated in a livestreamed Yom HaShoah ceremony today, April 8, 2021, to remember the six million Jewish lives lost – along with millions of others targeted by the Nazis because of their ethnicity, sexual identity or disability – during the Holocaust.
The ceremony took place virtually at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria and the Jewish Community Centre in Vancouver.
“We must always remember the Holocaust and the horrors that remind us of what happens when people are silent in the face of hate,” said Premier John Horgan. “While COVID-19 prevents us from gathering as we normally would to commemorate Yom HaShoah, it is important that we still gather to remember, give strength, and pay tribute to the community of Holocaust survivors.”
The event began with a virtual meeting with Holocaust survivors, where Premier Horgan was joined by Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance.
For the ceremony, Premier Horgan was joined by Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara, as well as Rabbi Dan Moscovitz of Temple Sholom and Holocaust survivor Robert Krell.
Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, contributed a pre-recorded cello performance of "Kol Nidrei." Anabel Wind, granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, performed “Eli.”
The Yom HaShoah ceremony included the lighting of seven candles: six candles for the six million Jewish people who were murdered as part of the Holocaust and the seventh to remember others who were targeted by the Nazis, including members from the Roma, Slavic and 2SLGBTQ+ communities, as well as people with disabilities. Krell lit the first six memorial candles on behalf of the survivor community. Premier Horgan, on behalf of the British Columbia government, lit the seventh candle.
“As the number of survivors dwindles every year, it falls to us to carry this message: never forget, never again,” Premier Horgan said. “As we remember the past, we also recognize that Jewish people around the world still face threats of violence and discrimination today. Let us commit to speaking out against anti-Semitism whenever we see it.”