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Justin Trudeau honours victims of the Holocaust

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"On this day, we also reaffirm our commitment to Holocaust remembrance and education," the Canadian PM stated

The Office of Canadian Prime Minister issued a statement last night, coinciding with the start of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), commemorating the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

In his address, Trudeau called Yom HaShoah a time to “reflect on the atrocities of one of the darkest chapters in human history. On this day, we also reaffirm our commitment to Holocaust remembrance and education.”

Read the entire statement below:

Tonight at sundown, Canadians and in particular, Jewish Canadians will commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. Between 1933 and 1945, approximately six million Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis. Today, we honour the brave survivors, and recognize those who risked their lives to save others. 

The rituals of Yom HaShoah hold tremendous meaning for the Jewish community and many other Canadians. Tonight and tomorrow, in private homes, synagogues, and temples, families and friends will gather. Many will light a memorial candle, sing, pray for the victims, and recount the stories of Holocaust survivors.

READ: ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’ FOR ANTI-SEMITISM, MONTREAL MAYOR SAYS

Yom HaShoah is a time to reflect on the atrocities of one of the darkest chapters in human history. On this day, we also reaffirm our commitment to Holocaust remembrance and education. It is an opportunity to reiterate our steadfast commitment to fight anti-Semitism, racism, and all forms of discrimination – whenever and wherever they occur – so that such horrors never take place again.

On behalf of Sophie and our family, I extend my thoughts and prayers to all those observing Yom HaShoah.

U.S. President Barack Obama also issued a statement last night, honouring the millions who “lost their lives during a time of unparalleled depravity and inhumanity.”

Read his statement in its entirety below:

Today, on Yom HaShoah, we solemnly remember the six million Jews and the millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

On this day, we honour the memory of the millions of individuals – the mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and neighbours – who lost their lives during a time of unparalleled depravity and inhumanity.  We reaffirm our ongoing responsibility as citizens and as a nation to live out the admonition, “Never forget. Never again.”  And we commit ourselves to preserving the memories of those who lived through the horrors of the Shoah, so that their experiences are not forgotten by our generation or by our children or grandchildren.

We also honour those who survived the Holocaust, many of them spared from death because of the righteous individuals who risked their lives to save Jews and other victims from Nazi persecution.  The stories of these survivors and their protectors remind us to confront persecution wherever it arises, and that silence can be an accomplice to evil.  They remind us of our duty to counter the rising tide of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred that threaten the values we hold dear—pluralism, diversity, and the freedoms of religion and expression.

READ: THE CHALLENGE OF TEACHING THE SHOAH

Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community both at home and abroad.  We stand with those who are leaving the European cities where they have lived for generations because they no longer feel safe, with the members of institutions that have been attacked because of their Jewish affiliations, and with the college students forced to confront swastikas appearing on their campuses.  And we call upon all people of good will to be vigilant and vocal against every form of bigotry.

When we recognize our interconnectedness and the fundamental dignity and equality of every human being, we help to build a world that is more accepting, secure and free.  This is the best way to honour the legacy we recognize on Yom HaShoah and to fulfill our responsibilities to repair our world from generation to generation.

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