Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
National Holocaust Remembrance Day

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, within an hour we will be commemorating national Holocaust Remembrance Day.

We will be remembering horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened, with universal lessons: the dangers of state-sanctioned incitement of genocide where, as the courts have put it, the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words; the danger of the oldest and most enduring of hatreds, anti-Semitism, reminding us that while it may begin with Jews it does not end with Jews; the danger of indifference and inaction in the face of evil, as with the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur, reminding us that nobody could say we did not know, we knew but did not act; and the danger of a culture of impunity, which only encourages and abets further atrocity.

We will be remembering the rescuers, the righteous among the nations, who demonstrated that one person, as in the case of Raoul Wallenberg, who is an honorary citizen of Canada, can stand up against evil, prevail and transform history.

Finally, we will be remembering the heroes among us today, the survivors and their families who endured the worst of humanity–