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#WeRemember (January 27, 2020)

In 2005, the UN General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis’ largest death camp where one million Jews perished.

This year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies were particularly poignant as Jews and non-Jews around the world came together to mark 75 years since the liberation, joined by a now-dwindling number of Survivors of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. 

Remembering the Holocaust and honouring the memory of the six million Jews and millions of other victims of the murderous Nazi regime is as critical today as ever. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an important opportunity not only to commemorate the Holocaust and honour those who were lost – and those who survived – but also to consider what is going on today, when we are witness to a significant resurgence around the world of antisemitism and all forms of hate, racism and bigotry.  

While ceremonies commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day were held many places – in local communities and with international leaders on the world stage – a new initiative, designed to ensure that the tragedy of the Holocaust is never forgotten, has gained extraordinary traction.

#WeRemember is a global campaign run by the World Jewish Congress (WJC), led in Canada by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, that leverages social media to spread knowledge and awareness of the Holocaust, while passing its lessons on to younger generations. The initiative invites participants to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day by taking pictures (see samples below) of themselves holding a sign with the words “We Remember” and posting their photos to social media, using the hashtag #WeRemember.

“As eye-witness memories of the Holocaust fade, we are witnessing rising levels of antisemitism, xenophobia and Holocaust denial throughout the world,” said Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President of the WJC and Chairman of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation. “We must heed the horrific lessons of the past and learn from and share the stories of Holocaust Survivors to honour the memory of the six million Jews the Nazis killed and to ensure today’s escalation of hatred does not become a repetition of those atrocities.” 

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, through commemoration ceremonies and the #WeRemember campaign, is crucial to spreading the message that never again must mean never again

This article was submitted by Gayle Nathanson, Associate Director, External Affairs, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. 

Library Archives in Ottawa

CIJA Staff in Toronto

Israeli Consulate in Toronto

Staff of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada in Ottawa