The 2017 Ontario Tribute to Holocaust Survivors

From left to right: Minister Hoskins; Mike Colle; George Canktier; Leon Cantkier; Edith Gelbard; Fran Sonshine, National Chair (CSYV); Leah Bernstein; Premier Wynne; Ester Driham National Executive Director (CSYV); Lou Hoffer; Galit Baram, Consul General of Israel; Minister Zimmer; Seating: Miriam Frankel.


On April 24, 2017, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem (CSYV), in collaboration with the Government of Ontario, paid tribute to six Holocaust Survivors, who have rebuilt their post-war lives in Ontario.

During the Ceremony, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne awarded Holocaust Survivors with distinguished certificates of recognition in honor of their Outstanding Achievements and Contributions to the Province of Ontario.

Members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario – The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and MPP for St. Paul’s; the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and MPP for Willowdale, Mike Colle, MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence, paid tribute to survivors’ reading their unique stories.

Other speakers were Fran Sonshine, CSYV National Chair; Ester Driham, CSYV National Executive Director, and Galit Baram, Consul General of Israel to Toronto and Western Canada.

The following individuals were recognized at the 2017 Queen`s Park Tribute to Holocaust Survivors:

Lea Borenstein
George Cantkier
Leon Cantkier
Miriam Frankel
Edith Gelbard
Lou Hoffer


Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario: “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.”

Galit Baram, Consul General of Israel to Toronto and Western Canada: “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.”

Fran Sonshine, CSYV National Chair: “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.”

Ester Driham, CSYV National Executive Director: “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”.


Click here to learn more about Ontario Tribute to Holocaust Survivors