Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement in recognition of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day:
“Today, on Yom HaShoah, British Columbians join people around the world to solemnly remember the six million Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust – along with millions of people who were murdered because of their ethnicity, sexual identity, disability or opposition to the Nazi regime.
“Behind these shocking numbers are the stories of real people, each one with a bright future cut short by unfathomable evil. Families lost children, parents and grandparents. Communities lost teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs. In an unparalleled crime against humanity, we lost countless life-saving scientific discoveries and brilliant works of art that the victims of the Shoah would have created.
“As we honour the memory of those lost, we also pay tribute to those who survived the Holocaust against all odds, many of whom were saved by courageous people who risked their lives to protect others from Nazi persecution.
“One such hero was Rudolf Vrba, a Holocaust survivor who escaped the Auschwitz concentration camp and later became a pharmacology professor at the University of British Columbia. He was credited with saving at least 110,000 lives after the release of his report on the atrocities at Auschwitz led to the end of the mass deportation of Jewish people from Hungary.
“After the war, many Holocaust survivors settled here in British Columbia. People like David and Aurelia Goldberger, who started the legendary Gold’s Fashion Fabrics on Granville Street in Vancouver, and Dr. Robert Krell, who pursued a career in psychiatry that focused on treating trauma, are a testament to the resilience of Holocaust survivors.
“On Yom HaShoah, we are challenged to ensure the words ‘never again’ are supported by action. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in anti-Semitism in B.C., and the Jewish community is one of the most frequently targeted groups in police-reported hate crimes. That’s why our government will continue working to address racism and discrimination in all its forms.
“Today, as we remember and honour those who were lost and those who survived, we must recommit to building a more just and inclusive province where everyone is safe and the horrors of the past are never repeated.”