Toronto honours International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Toronto mayor John Tory at an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event in the city. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@JohnTory)

Friday marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day in honour of the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust.

This is the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

In honour of the anniversary, Toronto Mayor John Tory attended an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event hosted by the city.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford also honoured the day.

“We must remain vigilant against all forms of hate and discrimination,” he tweeted.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared a statement on Friday.

“In 2023, the Holocaust seems increasingly distant, so listening to and learning from survivors’ stories is now more important than ever,” he said. “With the disturbing rise of antisemitism in our communities, we must uphold our collective responsibility to speak up against hatred and discrimination – wherever and whenever it occurs.”

Although cities around the country are recognizing the anniversary, there are concerns that more Canadians are forgetting or not learning about the genocide of Jewish people during the Second World War. 

A 2018 study shed light on concerning gaps regarding the lack of awareness about the history of the Holocaust among Canadians. 

According to the survey, commissioned by the Azrieli Foundation and Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, 54 per cent of Canadians did not know six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. 

Meanwhile, 52 per cent of millennials could not name one concentration camp or ghetto, and 62 per cent of millennials did not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

In addition, 22 per cent of millennials hadn’t heard or were unsure if they heard of the Holocaust.

Nearly a quarter of all Canadians (23 per cent) believe that substantially less than six million Jews were killed (two million or fewer) during the Holocaust. Another 24 per cent were unsure of how many were killed.

And alarmingly, nearly six out of ten Canadians (57 percent) said fewer people seemed to care about the Holocaust than they used to.

The survey polled 1,100 Canadian adults aged 18 and over in Sept. 2018. The margin of error for all respondents is plus or minus three per cent.

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