The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“One of the darkest chapters in human history unfolded at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, liberated 72 years ago today.
“The systematic murder of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, or Shoah, and of millions of others, all killed by the brutal Nazi regime, is a story of tragedy, loss and unimaginable suffering. Today, we honour their memory and pay tribute to the brave survivors. From Auschwitz-Birkenau and other Nazi camps emerged inspirational stories of strength and courage, including many told by Jewish-Canadian survivors, which remain a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.
“Last year I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau with the prime minister. It was an experience that forever changed me and will remain with me throughout my life.
“The lessons learned from the Holocaust must guide our efforts to fight antisemitism and prevent mass atrocities globally. Canada has learned that the first step is to reject narratives of fear and exclusion. As Canadians, we must stand up for the values that bind us. We must uphold human dignity, respect diversity and ensure inclusion for all.
“It is important for Canada to make its voice heard and to increase Holocaust awareness and knowledge. As a proud member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Canada last year adopted the Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. There is no place for manifestations of antisemitism toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals or their property, or Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.
“Canada also rejects any denial of the Holocaust. We are working with others to ensure that the stories of the victims and the important lessons of the Shoah are never forgotten, that victims and families are properly compensated for the assets confiscated by the Nazis and that Nazi war criminals continue to be brought to justice.
“It is our solemn duty to honour all victims and ensure that justice is served. May the distance of time never dull our memory of the unspeakable evil committed during the Holocaust.”