I was invited to attend the Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah Community Holocaust Commemoration. This event took place at the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus and was the largest Commemoration of its kind outside of Israel. It was a solemn, poignant, and moving ceremony that touched on many aspects related to this dark and disgraceful period of our history. Many Holocaust survivors and their families were represented and had an opportunity to tell pieces of their story to the audience. It remains surreal, and beyond comprehension, that the Holocaust could have taken place, but it is also clear to me that the sheer horror of this deserves our complete attention.
A theme that I heard over and over at this event that bears repeating is – We must never forget the lessons that history has taught us, otherwise we are bound to repeat the mistakes that we made in our past. It is clear from looking at world events, that similar atrocities continue to occur, so commemorating the Holocaust remains just as important today as it ever was. With fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors alive today we need to be sure that future generations learn and understand what can happen when state sponsored hate for any group of people is allowed to thrive. I appreciated this reminder today.
I remain proud of the rich, accepting, multicultural society in which we live here in Canada, and especially in Richmond Hill. I believe that it is crucially important that Jews and non-Jews alike take heed of the painful lessons of the Holocaust and be sure to give life to these lessons each and every day of our lives.