Member Statement: Yom Hashoah

Today marks Yom HaShoah, the solemn commemoration of the brutal murder and discrimination endured by the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

M. Speaker, almost every Jewish person out there has a story of a family member who endured the holocaust, including myself.

There is a park in my riding M. Speaker, dedicated to a well known holocaust survivor – Felix Opatowski.

At 15, Felix would risk his life smuggling goods out of Nazi ghettos in exchange for food for his family.

After being deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1943, he joined the Polish Underground as a runner and later helped plan an attempt to demolish the camp’s crematorium.

Not long ago, I was at the premier for the Legacy Portrait Project documentary – where Holocaust survivors spoke about their experiences with their grandchildren.

The conversations filmed in the documentary capture a moment in time, a glimpse into the individual triumph of each survivor, having prevailed over adversity by building families, and finding love and joy after the Holocaust.

M. Speaker, one in three students in Canada believe the Holocaust was fabricated or exaggerated, and 42% of students have explicitly seen an anti-Semitic incident in their schools. 

I am looking forward to September of this year, when the new Holocaust curriculum will be officially launched in schools all over this province.

Learning, and listening to these stories of the holocaust is crucial – because those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

Thank you