On January 27, Canadians are invited to join Jewish Canadians and people around the world in marking the International Day for Holocaust Remembrance.
This annual global commemoration marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and promotes awareness of the over six million Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust. This year’s theme is “Home and Belonging” to signify how the Holocaust shattered the lives and sense of belonging of Jewish people, and led to the deaths of roughly two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population.
As part of the commemorations, the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO’s #WeRemember campaign encourages people to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust by participating in the campaign on social media, as well as by visiting monuments that will be lit up in yellow in honour of those who were murdered.
In Canada, participating public monuments include Ottawa’s National Holocaust Monument and Peace Tower, Vancouver’s Canada Place, Toronto’s CN Tower, Niagara Falls, and Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
This symbolic day also provides an opportunity to hold critical conversations in classrooms, workplaces, and among communities about the scourge of antisemitism and its dangerous impact on the lives of Jewish Canadians today.
A past national survey demonstrated that nearly one-quarter of Canadian millennials have not heard, or are unsure if they have heard, of the Holocaust and nearly 62% of Canadian millennials did not know that six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust.
The Jewish community in Canada continues to be the religious group experiencing the highest number of police-reported hate crimes. Statistics Canada’s most recent police-reported data shows a 47% increase in antisemitic hate crimes between 2020 and 2021.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) continues to advocate for greater support for victims of hate, as well as national standards on hate crimes. The CRRF is additionally proud to support numerous Jewish community groups and organizations through its National Anti-Racism Fund, complimenting the federal government’s ongoing efforts to address the disturbing rise of antisemitism and hate.