Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
International Holocaust Remembrance Day
"…Honourable senators, on January 27, 1945, the Soviet army marched through the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp liberating the pitiful few remaining prisoners. Shortly before this date, the Nazis had taken 60,000 of those prisoners on a forced death march and 15,000 of them perished on that march. So anxious were the Nazis to exterminate as many Jews as possible that, in the full knowledge that they would be defeated within months, they nevertheless determined that it was appropriate to continue killing them.

Because Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, the United Nations has designated that day each year as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Memory, honourable senators, is the measure that humans use as a yardstick to evaluate and rationalize current human experiences. By that yardstick, no event or phenomenon in human history can resemble, even remotely, the magnitude of the snuffing out of 6 million innocent lives whose only transgression was that they were born Jewish or that one of their grandparents was Jewish, according to the infamous Nuremberg Laws.

The number, 6 million, cannot be conceived by rational thought. The quantity of devastation, of inhumanity, of viciousness cannot be measured by any reasonable standard.

Nothing in human experience can be equated with the Holocaust. However, the memory of the Holocaust has not prevented or even influenced continuing human experience. Rwanda, although not on the same scale as the Holocaust, was genocide. Ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia was akin to genocide. Certainly, the death and displacement of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings in Darfur is genocide…"