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Recognizing International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on January 27th. This date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945. On this day we remember the more than six million Jewish men, women, and children brutally murdered by the Nazi regime and its collaborators in the Shoah. We also recognize the Romani, LGBTQ2S+ individuals, persons with disabilities, and political dissidents who were killed, as well as others who stood against the Nazis.

The Holocaust is a horrific reminder of what occurs when discrimination, hatred, and violence go undenounced and unchecked. What began with inflammatory rhetoric to dehumanize and degrade the Jews of Europe evolved into a systematic and deliberate revocation of rights, theft of property, incarceration, and ultimately, mass extermination.

The Holocaust had a profound and lasting impact on countries and populations where Nazi crimes were committed, and its long-term consequences continue to be felt globally. It is important for us to never forget the atrocities that were perpetrated against the Jews of Europe and to promote remembrance and educate future generations about the Holocaust.

Jewish communities in Canada and around the world continue to face rising hatred, anti-Semitism, and threats of violence. On January 13th, Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue was defaced and subjected to attempted arson. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is also an opportunity to reflect on how we can eliminate anti-Semitism and other forms of faith-based discrimination.

The University of Toronto does not condone any form of anti-Semitism within our tri-campus community and is committed to fostering a respectful learning and working environment for everyone. As part of our efforts to address anti-Semitism, the University of Toronto has established an Anti-Semitism Working Group to review programming, activities, processes, and practices in place at our institution and to make recommendations to support the University’s response to anti-Semitism. We invite you to learn more about the Working Group, its Terms of Reference, and its membership at the Group’s webpage. We encourage all members of the U of T community to engage with the Working Group and provide feedback at anti.semitism.working.group@utoronto.ca.

At the University of Toronto, the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion offices at the University of Toronto Scarborough and University of Toronto Mississauga, Multi-Faith Centre, and Community Safety Office, in partnership with stakeholders across the tri-campuses, are key drivers of ongoing initiatives that address faith-based discrimination and racism. These offices all provide support, services, and education to our community.