It’s Yom Hashoah: We must never forget the Holocaust

Burning memorial candles

It’s so we never forget what comes of intolerance, hate, and bigotry.  It’s a time to reflect on all injustices – and in particular today, remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust.

“The horror of one of the cruelest periods in human history should be remembered as a stark reminder for future generations every day of the year,” says OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “But today, on Yom Hashoah, we take special pause to think of the lives taken because of the hate and intolerance of a brutal and disgusting regime.”

Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah, which means “Day of (remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism,” is observed by many Canadians to commemorate the six million Jewish people who were murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.

In 2019, the Toronto-based Azrieli Foundation in partnership with the Claims Conference released a study that revealed more than half of Canadians and nearly two-thirds of young people in this country do not know that six million people died in the Holocaust.

OPSEU Vice President/Treasurer, Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida believes more education is needed.

“All of us, young and old, must not be allowed to forget,” says Almeida. “We must not forget the viciousness.  The memory should be a deterrent to future abhorrent acts, but we also must not forget the acts of kindness and sacrifices of many – those people who would not stand for such brutality, and through their heroic efforts gave everything they had, which sometimes included their own lives, to help those in need.”

Yom Hashoah corresponds with the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. This was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. This year, Yom Hashoah begins at sundown on April 20 and ends at sundown on April 21.

“Discrimination of any kind must not be tolerated,” adds Thomas. “It is my hope that OPSEU members and non-members alike use this day of awareness to promote inclusion, social justice, and human rights, and continue the fight against those who minimize or deny the Holocaust happened or that anti-Semitism still exists.”