Honouring Survivors at Queen’s Park

For two decades, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem (CSYV) in collaboration with the Premier of Ontario has organized an annual ceremony to pay tribute to the Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in Ontario and contributed to the growth of the province.

During the ceremony, the Premier and several MPPs read survivor’s tributes and present the honourees with special certificates of recognition for their Outstanding Achievements and Contributions to the Province of Ontario.

The importance of the Ceremony is twofold: It pays tribute to the Holocaust survivors for their courage — Their stories demonstrate remarkable bravery, faith, and hope to overcome deprivations of the Holocaust and become contributing citizens of Ontario. Second, it provides insight on the Holocaust by giving us first-hand experiences of the Shoah. This allows us to grasp the trajectory of the events and the real truth behind the Holocaust. The Ceremony becomes more important every year as the number of survivors diminishes.

“These 12 extraordinary individuals and their stories of surviving the Holocaust demonstrate that hope and love is a light that shines even in the dark. And they implore us to remain vigilant in our rejection of hate, discrimination and injustice. We will never forget these horrific atrocities as we continue to build a fair and just society for all.,”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne during the 2016 ceremony.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne during the 2016 ceremony.https://

“These individuals overcame unthinkable circumstances and showed remarkable courage in building new lives in Ontario. Their commitment to sharing their experiences is truly commendable, and their testimony reminds us of our collective and personal obligation to learn from the lessons of our history, to reject every form of intolerance and hatred — and to embrace the diversity that gives us our strength as a province and nation.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne during the 2017 ceremony.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne during the 2017 ceremony.

“This year’s theme “Survivors’ Testimonies: The Fate of the Individual during the Holocaust” underlines the qualities of each survivor as a unique human being. We understand the importance of being able to hear first-hand accounts from survivors themselves, all the more significant as such opportunities fade with the passage of time.”

Galit Baram
Galit BaramConsul General of Israel to Toronto and Western Canada

“This is a special year when we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Confederation ─ 150 years of democracy. It is our responsibility to remember the Shoah to cherish the truly Canadian values ─ respect of human rights and social inclusion.”

Fran Sonshine
Fran SonshineCSYV National Chair

“The Holocaust is not simply a warning from history, its universal lessons showcase destructive consequences of intolerance. A personal account of the Holocaust is the most powerful way to learn from the past and to strive to preserve our multi-cultural society”.

Ester Driham
Ester DrihamCSYV National Executive Director
Nominate Holocaust Survivor

To nominate a Holocaust Survivor for the 2018 Tribute, please submit the name and story of the Survivor whom you would like recognized to info@yadvashem.ca or contact us.