National Ceremony in Ottawa
The National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa
The 2013 National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony, on Tuesday April 23, 2013, drew more than 700 people to the War Museum, 250 of them Holocaust Survivors and their families. This year was an especially memorable as the ceremony placed Holocaust Survivors front and centre, with moving and heartwarming segments that recognized Survivors for rebuilding their lives in Canada, with courage and dignity, from the ashes of the Holocaust.
Prior to the ceremony in the War Museum, close to 60 Holocaust Survivors were honoured in Parliament. The tribute ceremony was sponsored by Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer and initiated by the Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism; Dr. Mario Silva, Chair of the 2013 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; and MP Mark Adler in conjunction with the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.
Fran Sonshine, National Chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, and Dr. Naomi Azrieli, CEO and Chair of the Azrieli Foundation and board member of the CSYV, read short profiles of the Holocaust Survivors being honoured, recounting the most amazing stories of triumph over adversity (to see all of the honourees stories, click here). In turn, each Holocaust Survivor approached Minister Jason Kenney, who presented them with a beautiful Certificate of Recognition (see sample of certificate)
It was truly heartwarming to see how touched the Holocaust Survivors were to be affirmed and validated for the suffering they endured and for the remarkable lives they rebuilt in Canada.
Following the presentation of certificates, the Survivors went up to the balcony to the House of Commons where they were acknowledged by MP Mark Adler and MP Irwin Cotler. (click here to read statements)
During the National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony in the War Musuem, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism; Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition; Irwin Cotler, representing the Liberal Party, and Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party delivered powerful and compelling speeches. All paid tribute to Holocaust Survivors and to the theme “Defiance and Resistance.” The theme was especially apropos in that it not only pointed to the lives of the Survivors who overcame such incredible odds, but, on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, it recalled the greatest act of physical defiance and resistance during the Holocaust (click here to read about the theme Defiance and Resistance)
Six candles in the Yad Vashem menorah were lit by a slew of dignitaries and Holocaust Survivors. It was a truly heartwarming to see the Survivors, frail but full of heart and spirit, walk toward the stage where candles were lit to remember the victims of the Holocaust and to pay tribute to Survivors.
The ceremony ended with 700 guests clutching their commemorative programs, a special tribute this year to the remarkable and inspirational lives of more than 100 Holocaust Survivors.
Jason Kenney’s speech
MP Mark Adler’s statement in Parliament
MP Mark Adler’s statement on video (51:57)
MP Irwin Cotler’s statement in Parliament
MP Irwin Cotler’s statement on video (55:24)
Senator Linda Frum’s statement in the Senate
To read more about the National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony, please see the following article: Diane Koven: Canadian Jewish News: http://www.cjnews.com/node/106134.