The National Holocaust Remembrance Day Program represents one of the main programs of CSYV that shares the facts and universal lessons of the Shoah. While keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, the National Holocaust Remembrance Day Program instills in Canadians the values of respect for human rights. This program serves as a vehicle to educate the next generation of Canadians about the dangers of intolerance, ethnic discrimination and social exclusion.
In 2003, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-459 establishing National Holocaust Memorial Day. Since then, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem has carried out the annual Ceremony in collaboration with the Government of Canada. The Ceremony commemorates Jewish victims of the Holocaust and pays tribute to the survivors who rebuilt their lives in Canada, many of whom attend the event. The program includes a personal account by a Holocaust survivor of his/her experiences during the Holocaust, as well as addresses by the leaders of Canadian major political parties thereby stressing the importance of Holocaust remembrance in Canada.
The 2019 National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony
Over 700 guests attended the Ceremony including Holocaust survivors and their families. Among the distinguished guests who joined the Ceremony were: The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada; the Hon. Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons; over 70 heads of diplomatic missions in Canada; cabinet ministers; justices of the Supreme Court of Canada; close to 40 members of parliament; and hundreds of students and members from communities in Ontario and Quebec.
Prior to the Ceremony, over 200 high school students of varied faiths and cultures, from 20 schools across Canada met with Holocaust Survivors to participate in the Ambassadors of Change program. Survivors shared their first-hand experience of the Holocaust and students participated in a discussion regarding the relevance of the Holocaust’s lessons in today’s world. Participants also engaged in a discussion about the ways in which they can promote tolerance and inclusion within their own communities. To learn more about the CSYV Ambassadors of Change Program click here.
Participating schools that came from Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Peterborough, Kingston, Montreal, Sherbrooke and Ottawa included:
Adam Scott Collegiate * Alexander Galt High School * Cardinal Leger Secondary School * Focus High School * Havergal College * James Lyng High School * John F. Kennedy High School * John McCrae Secondary School * Kingston Collegiate & Vocational School * Lauren Hill Junior School * Lauren Hill Senior School * Marymount High School * Mile End High School * Option High School * Outreach High School * Royal Vale High School * Royal West Academy * St. Marks High School * St. Paul Catholic Secondary School * Temple Israel.
The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem thanks the following members of the Zachor Coalition for their collaboration and commitment to Zachor: B’nai Brith Canada, Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW), Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (CHES), Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Chenstochever Aid Society, Emunah Canada, Facing History and Ourselves, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies, Hamilton Jewish Foundation, I Talk to Strangers Foundation, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem-Canada, Jewish National Fund, Jewish Federation of Ottawa, Jewish War Veterans of Canada, Maramoresher Society of Toronto, Montreal Holocaust Museum, Na’amat Canada, Seventh Day Adventist Church in Canada, The Memory Project.