Message from the Governor General on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27, 2023

During the Holocaust, being Jewish meant being marked.

Marked with yellow star.
Marked with a tattoo, a number.
Marked with hate, derision, dehumanization.
Marked for death.

Six million Jewish people died. They died because of anti-Semitism. 

Anti-Semitism takes many forms, but the impact on Jewish people—who are a diverse people—is always the same. It is unacceptable to deal in stereotypes or tropes or conspiracy theories. It is unconscionable to suggest, or lie, that the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated over time. Even in 2023, we must unequivocally state that the Holocaust happened. It is our shared responsibility to remember.

We remember to honour the stories of those who died.  Of those who hid in the forests. Of those whose families were decimated by loss. In remembrance, we also honour the generations that followed—children of the Holocaust—who are still affected by this trauma.

This is the legacy of hate, and that same hate, which was the tinderbox for the Holocaust, continues today. In fact, anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise. This is a disturbing trend, one that has been spread by anonymous voices, by deniers and by those who may not know the harm they cause.

We hear about it.
We know about it.
We need to act on it.

And while anti-Semitism still exists, so, too, does hope for a better future. Hope is listening to the stories of Holocaust survivors, their resilience and strength. Hope endures when we educate ourselves about anti-Semitism as a form of racism: what it looks like and how it manifests itself in our everyday lives. Hope is in every person who speaks up against hate.

As we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I know we can all work together to create a compassionate, caring, safer country for Jewish people and for all the diverse peoples of this world.

And let us all say together: never again.

Mary Simon

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office

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