January 27, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“Today, we mourn the murder of six million Jews by the brutal and anti-Semitic Nazi regime during the Second World War, including the 1.1 million killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, liberated 74 years ago today.
“We also pay tribute to the Holocaust survivors who have so bravely shared their horrific stories, not simply to leave an enduring record of the atrocities suffered by the Jews of Europe during the Shoah but to ensure that all generations take to heart the lessons of what has been described as ‘the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history,’ by Elie Wiesel, author, political activist, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor.
“As a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA], Canada continues to work with Israel, the United States, the EU and other partners to learn from the Holocaust and to improve education about genocide. Through the IHRA, we have worked to produce an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism, and we will continue working to combat this evil wherever it is found.
“We also remind ourselves today that the Holocaust did not begin with genocide. It started with a slow erosion of rights and the normalization of prejudice as an acceptable social behaviour. The mass extermination of Jews and the murder of millions of others, including the Romani, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ2 community, by the Nazis still resonates as a shocking example of what can happen when the seeds of hate are left to proliferate.
“We must never forget this terrible chapter in human history and we must never let it repeat itself. Nor can we stand idly by when human rights are violated, wherever that may be. There can be no place in the world for violence, intolerance, genocide or persecution.
“Today and all days, we commit to never again allow such hatred to grip the world. We denounce all forms of discrimination and in the name of all victims, survivors and descendants, we firmly reject any denial of the Holocaust.”