National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony 2018

National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony 2018


April 21, 2018

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The Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, speaking at the Ceremony

The Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, speaking with Holocaust Survivors

The Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan (Minister of National Defence), Lou Greenbaum (CSYV board member and 2nd generation Holocaust survivor), Kyle Goldenberg (Lou’s grandson and 4th generation Holocaust survivor) and Ester Driham (CSYV National Executive Director) lighting a candle in memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem (CSYV) hosted the National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. In 2003, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-459 establishing National Holocaust Memorial Day. Since then, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem has carried out the annual Ceremony in collaboration with the Government of Canada.

The theme of the 2018 National Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony was Remembering the Past, Shaping the Future: The Importance of Remembering the Holocaust.

To honour National Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, spoke on behalf of the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, to commemorate the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and pay tribute to the survivors who rebuilt their lives in Canada.

Leaders of Canada’s major political parties, the Honourable Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Official Opposition, and Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP, delivered keynote addresses to remember the Holocaust and honour survivors, many of whom attended the event.

Felicia Carmelly, Holocaust survivor, shared her firsthand experience.

Hundreds of distinguished guests joined the Ceremony, among them: the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada; the Hon. Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons; H.E. Nimrod Barkan, Ambassador of Israel to Canada; over 50 heads of diplomatic missions in Canada; cabinet ministers; justices of the Supreme Court of Canada; close to 60 members of parliament; and hundreds of students and members from communities in Ontario and Quebec.

Prior to the ceremony, 200 high school students of varied faiths and cultures, from schools across Canada participated in the the CSYV Ambassadors of Change Program. The program brings Canadian students to meet with Holocaust Survivors who share their first hand experience. They then participate in powerful guided group discussions about the Holocaust and its relevance today. The program educates young Canadians to be more tolerant and inclusive in their communities.


Fran Sonshine, CSYV National Chair: «At today’s ceremony we honour the Survivors who are with us, and those who are no longer here. An important part of the survivors’ stories happened in the aftermath of the Holocaust as they were rebuilding their post-war lives. Survivors deserve to be honoured and thanked for their valour, spirit, and strength. We, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren carry their inspirational legacy of resilience with pride ».

Ester Driham, CSYV National Executive Director: «At CSYV, we are guided by our mission to remember the Holocaust and convey its universal lessons to Canadians. Our vital educational programs focus on teaching youth about the Holocaust and thereby forming responsible Canadian citizens and future leaders who will stand for democracy and universal human rights ».

The Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence: «On this day, please join us in paying tribute to the strength and resilience of the Jewish people and all those who persevered against the horrors of the Holocaust. We cannot, and will not, forget».

For more information, please contact Ester Driham at or Fran Sonshine at Fran@yadvashemca.

About the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem

For over 30 years the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem has educated Canadians about the Holocaust through educational and commemorative programs. CSYV’s vital Holocaust education programs teach Canadians about the Holocaust thereby instilling the values of tolerance, respect for diversity and social justice. For example:

The CSYV Holocaust Scholarship Program awards scholarships to selected Canadian educators to participate in a three-week seminar at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem and learn how to best teach the Holocaust in their classrooms and communities.

The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem is the only organization in Toronto to have a memorial site, located at Earl Bales Park (4169 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M3H 3P7), specifically focused on the core fundamentals of Holocaust education and commemoration. The Memorial flame is lit for 24 hours during Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) allowing the Toronto community to commemorate Holocaust victims, pay tribute to Shoah survivors and honour the Righteous Among the Nations.

To learn more about CSYV programs please visit our website at

The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem
265 Rimrock Road,
Suite 218Toronto, ON, M3J 3C6

Tel: 416.785.1333
Toll Free: 1.888.494.7999
Fax: 416.785.4536



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