As part of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Holocaust education organizations and professors are calling for increased awareness and lessons for the younger generations.
One of the main remembrance ceremonies was hosted by the Osgoode Hall Jewish Student Association. The ceremony included a testimony from Holocaust survivor Eva Meisels, who was five-years-old when the Nazis invaded her home of Budapest, Hungary. Also, it included speeches from professors and organization leaders from the Raoul Wallenberg Centre calling for continued research on the Holocaust and furthering its awareness to the general public.
Meisels, who now resides in Toronto, commented on the need to educate the next generation. She says her recent observations of society show that antisemitism continues to run rampant, and to avoid the horrors of the past, she says education and awareness are crucial for this generation's future.
Further, one of the leading Jewish charities dedicated to Holocaust education is Liberation 75, based in Toronto.
To gauge how well Canadian students understand the severity of the Holocaust, the charity launched a recent survey polling more than 3000 Ontario pre-teens.
Some of its results show that about 40 per cent of students witnessed antisemitism, 32 per cent are unsure of what to think of the Holocaust or whether the number of victims is exaggerated, and that 92 per cent would be open to learning more about the Holocaust.
To date, Holocaust and Genocide education are not part of the Toronto District School Board’s curriculum, according to Liberation 75’s website.
Other initiatives from the charity include circulating films and filing speaker requests for Toronto schools.
Founder Marilyn Sinclair was contacted to speak to CJRU about this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. No response was given at this time.
Continued efforts to ask dducation minister Stephen Leece to include Holocaust education in cirriculums include open letters sent to the minister this past month.
This year's Holocaust Remembrance Day mark’s 77 years since the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Soviet Union's Red Army.
Listen to CJRU'S coverage of the Holocaust Remembrance Day here: