January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day

On January 27, OCSB staff and students will commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day, we remember and pray for all those impacted by Nazi oppression. We encourage our community to reflect on how we can work together to end group-targeted violence and learn from the history of the Holocaust.

Let us pray together for the lives lost and the lives forever changed as a result of the Holocaust

With heavy hearts, we remember the Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Nazi oppression and pray for all Holocaust survivors and their families. 

May God’s healing hand strengthen all those affected by acts of genocide, racism and intolerance. May our remembrance of the horrific history of the Holocaust help us learn and grow to help combat acts of hate so we can end all group-targeted violence. 

Amen.

Understanding the history of the Holocaust and Antisemitism

The Holocaust, also known as Shoah, was the genocide of European Jewish people, which took place from 1933 to 1945. During this horrific time in history, approximately 6 million Jewish people and at least 5 million non-Jewish people were murdered at the hands of the Nazis. The Nazi party was antisemitic and racist.

Antisemitism is hatred or hostility towards Jewish people, and this anti-Jewish prejudice has existed for over two thousand years. During the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler influenced people to adopt antisemitic viewpoints by creating conspiracy theories about Jewish people. He led people to believe that they were a threat to Germany because of their alleged alliances with communism and capitalism. The actions of Nazis led to the Genocide of Jewish people and many non-Jewish people who refused these ideas or were viewed as inferior human beings by the Nazis.  

January 27 was proclaimed Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005, and this day was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Liberation of the Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which took place in 1945. Auschwitz was located in the Polish city of Oswiecim, and the Nazis created it in 1940 to evict Jewish and Polish people from their homes during the Nazi invasion of Poland. There were more than 40 sub-camps established between 1942 and 1944. 

Learning about the history of the Holocaust helps us understand how to identify the ideologies and actions that lead to genocide so group-targeted violence can be stopped for future generations. If you’re interested in learning more about the Holocaust, the Montreal Holocaust Museum’s website provides more resources.

Learning about Jewish heritage and history within our schools

At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, we must address systemic barriers and model the Gospel values board-wide. Our staff works hard to actively promote inclusion and ensure students learn in a well-rounded understanding of the beauty and value that different cultures bring to our communities. 

Throughout the years, we have encouraged students to read books highlighting the significance of the Holocaust, invited Holocaust survivors to our schools to share their stories, and our educators have explored Jewish heritage and culture with our students in our classrooms. 
Our commitment to Equity and Inclusion within our schools has continued as our OCSB Equity team has worked with Jewish communities within Ontario to understand further how we can expand our curriculum to support our students better. We’ve developed learning partnerships with Friends of Simon Wiesenthal, the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa to provide educational workshops and learning material. We want to build more partnerships with Jewish organizations within our communities to continue nurturing a supportive and inclusive environment within our schools.

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