As Leader of the Ontario PC Party, I join with the Jewish community in observing Yom HaShoah.
Six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Millions more were persecuted because of disabilities, religious and racial backgrounds and sexual orientation.
For anyone, trying to put into words the horrific atrocities the victims of the Holocaust faced is a difficult task. Yet we must keep the memories of the Holocaust alive and remain steadfast in renouncing hatred of the kind that gave rise to it.
Last week I visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. One extremely moving exhibit told the story of the uprising in Poland’s Warsaw ghetto that began on April 19, 1943. For nearly a month, courageous Jews fought Nazi soldiers who were sent to take them to Treblinka.
The uprising was eventually suppressed, but the fighters had made their mark. Prisoners in other camps would find the courage to fight because of the actions of those in the Warsaw ghetto.
A few years ago, I visited Israel. Wherever I went, from Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem to Tel Aviv’s bustling streets, I saw the strength of a people deeply rooted in faith and community – two key pillars that empowered them to overcome the atrocities of the Holocaust.
I’m proud that Ontario became home to the majority of the survivors who immigrated to our country. Almost 70 years on, we now have a thriving and growing Jewish community of over 200,000.
For these reasons, Ontario established Holocaust Memorial Day – Yom HaShoah in 1998 – an effort led by my colleague, Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh.
Today, I encourage all Ontarians to take a moment to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and their struggle for freedom. May we always remain vigilant: Never again.