National Ceremony in Ottawa
The National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa
With the enactment of the Holocaust Memorial Day Act S.C. 2003, C.24, and the establishment of a National Holocaust Remembrance Day by the Parliament of Canada, the Government of Canada signalled once more its longstanding commitment to ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are enshrined in the hearts and minds of Canadians.
Since that time, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem has had the privilege of leading a “Zachor” coalition, a group of organizations committed to Holocaust commemoration and education, in coordinating a National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony on behalf of the Government of Canada.
Hundreds of dignitaries and community members gather together in the beautiful modern space that is Ottawa’s War Museum to remember the victims of the Holocaust and pay tribute to its survivors.
The Yad Vashem Menorah, with its 6 branched candelabra representing the 6 million Jews who perished, stands centre stage and is lit in a moving tribute to the memories and people who occupy a sacred space in our collective consciousness.
At the 2011 National Ceremony, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem was honoured to have in attendance Minister of the Environment Peter Kent as the Government’s representative, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Liberal Party Bob Rae, Leader of the Green Party Elizabeth May, Richard Marceau, a sponsor of the parliamentary bill to establish a Holocaust Memorial Day, and Israel’s Deputy Chief of Mission Eliaz Luf.
The event’s highlight was the award ceremony that bestowed the Yad Vashem certificate and medal to two Righteous Among the Nations families: Wladyslaw and Petronela Ziolo who saved Joe Gottdenker, today a successful businessman and noted philanthropist, and Julia Ciurko, who saved Sabina Schwied during the Holocaust.
Following the ceremony, dignitaries came together with Holocaust Survivors and community members to commiserate and enjoy some light refreshments before embarking on their journey back home, holding their copies of True Heroes- Stories of Righteous Among the Nations from Around the World, sponsored by the Rogow family and provided courtesy of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.
The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem is proud to live in a country where our parliamentary leaders gather together in our nation’s capital on National Holocaust Remembrance Day to articulate their commitment to learn from the lessons of history so that a more tolerant and compassionate global community is fostered.