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Saskatchewan commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Thursday marks International Holocaust Remembrance day and two Rabbis in Saskatchewan are sharing the importance of recognizing the day.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day was first recognized in 2005 by the United Nations. The date, Jan. 27, marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.

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Rabbi Claudio Jodorkovsky in Saskatoon explained there are different Holocaust remembrance days in different countries, so this was a way to create an international day for all to recognize.

“The expectation is that authorities will create activities and opportunities to formally commemorate and also develop some educational activities in different settings,” Jodorkovsky said.

Rabbi Jeremy Parnes from Beth Jacob Synagogue in Regina said it means a great deal to survivors and survivor’s children to be remembered.

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“It’s not simply a day of remembrance for Jews, it’s a day to remember that humanity is capable of these kinds of things and is still doing it today as we all know. Even here we have news of things that have happened in Canada that we need to address,” Parnes said.

“The key is, can we learn how to remember to walk together in order for it not to happen again as opposed to be trapped in the past?”

Both Rabbis noted that the Jewish community traditionally commemorates Holocaust remembrance day in April.

Jordorkovsky said the reality is students don’t know much about the Holocaust.

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He pointed to an article that cites a study showing a third of Canadian and American students question whether the Holocaust actually happened as cause for concern.

“The causes and the hatred and the lies about the Jewish people that has existed for hundreds of years and that caused the Holocaust — it’s still present,” Jodorkovsky said.

Jodorkovsky wants people “to understand that what happens to minorities is a representation of what happens in the society.”

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“I think the most important thing is to get involved in the struggles of minorities and secondly, to educate themselves,” Jodorkovsky said.

He added that people should not listen to everything they hear and be critical about the sources of the information they receive.

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“For example, during COVID, some leaders and politicians they compared the restrictions about COVID with the treatment of Jews in the Holocaust. These comparisons, they help to deny the Holocaust because we are talking about 6 million of Jews, including 1.5 million of children that were murdered, persecuted and tortured.

“Making these comparisons — they are not only absurd — they help to make people believe that the Holocaust didn’t happen.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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