Over 120 Dignitaries to Attend 2010 National Holocaust Ceremony in Ottawa

An emotionally moving and unique tribute to Survivors and a call to action for eternal remembrance will take place at the Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, Ottawa, Monday, April 12, 2010 at 3 p.m.
With the passing of Bill C-459 in 2003, and the enactment of a National Holocaust Remembrance Day by the Parliament of Canada, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem has taken a leading role in organizing and sponsoring a National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony with a coalition of 26 national organizations, known as the “Zachor” (Remembrance) Coalition.
Government leaders expected to give an address will include: the Honourable Jason Kenney* as a representative of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Conservative Party; Michael Ignatieff*, Leader of the Opposition, Liberal Party of Canada; Gilles Duceppe*, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois; the Honourable Jack Layton*, Leader of the NDP, and Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada.
Also in attendance are seven government ministers which include the Honourable Stockwell Day*, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism; the Honourable John Baird*, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Tony Clement*, Minister of Industry; the Honourable Lisa Raitt*, Minister of Labour; the Honourable Gary Lunn*, Minister of State (Sport); the Honourable Lynne Yelich*, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification); and the Honourable Peter Kent*, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs. Together, the ministers will light a candle in the Yad Vashem Menorah (Candelabra) with a Holocaust Survivor in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Shoah.
In addition, the ceremony will also have in attendance some 70 Members of Parliament, members of the Senate and Ambassadors from 35 countries.
National Chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Fran Sonshine said, “I am deeply honoured by the tremendous turn out by our government and foreign representatives; it is truly a testament to the Government of Canada’s and to the scores of foreign governments’ abiding commitment to disseminating the universal lessons of the Holocaust.”
Further, more than 250 members of the public are expected to attend which include 200 Holocaust survivors with their families, students from across Canada, and prominent community leaders. To facilitate the attendance of every sector of our community, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem has sponsored buses to shuttle in survivors, students, and community members from across the country.
The 2010 theme for the event is “Voices of Survivors” which highlights the duty of survivors to impart the lessons of the Holocaust and the equal duty of the next generation to implement its message, thereby linking the tragic past to the promise of hope and renewal.
Paul-Henri Rips, who was imprisoned in two Nazi camps and sought refuge in the Brussels’ home of a gentile family, will deliver an address, titled “Voices of Survivors.” Mr. Rips, the author of the Holocaust memoir E/96: Fate Undecided, a book from the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs, implores others to never give up their faith in mankind.
An emotional and poignant tribute to Holocaust Survivors is planned. During the ceremony, over 120 dignitaries will rise in unison and present a yellow flower to Survivors, symbolizing the transcendence of all that is good over the racist and hateful practice of the yellow star, an identifying symbol that Jews were forced to wear during the period of the Holocaust.
A segment entitled “Generation to Generation” will feature Canadian educators reading their “Commitment to the Future,” followed by dozens of students laying flowers on the stage, signifying the commitment of our future generations to carry the message of Holocaust Remembrance forward.
Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Yaron Ashkenazi said, “While Commemoration is significant, Education of our youth is critical to maintaining the delicate fabric of our multicultural Society as it takes heed and incorporates the lessons of the Shoah for generations to come.”
The Azrieli Foundation, a member of the “Zachor” Coalition, will donate a published memoir from the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs to all the attendees.
*Confirmed attendance

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