Mr. Speaker, today many of my colleagues and I will walk with a Canadian Holocaust survivor on this national Holocaust Remembrance Day.
I shared in the same honour last Thursday, remembering with Windsor’s Jewish community at our local ceremony. The Holocaust refers to a specific genocide event, the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945.
Jews were the primary targets and victims—six million were murdered—but targets also included gypsies, the handicapped and Polish citizens because of racial, ethnic and national reasons. Homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war and political dissidents also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.
It is our nation’s obligation to break down the walls of indifference and to shatter the conspiracy of silence. As an international community, we must stand together and act to prevent future genocide, not stand idly by and intervene when it is too late.
Today, by reflecting on this annihilation, we break that silence and honour the memory of the victims.
As Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, said:
…I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endured suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.