On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp was liberated from the Nazi’s and the world watched in horror as the terrible pain, suffering and persecution of Jews and millions of others was exposed.
Following the discovery of the barbaric treatment of Jews and other equity-deserving groups during the Second World War, the global community came together and formed the United Nations and created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Seventy-nine years later, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember, mourn and echo that promise to remain vigilant in the face of antisemitism, hatred and discrimination and to build communities where everyone belongs. This year, that message is especially important and heartfelt as we continue to hear about the growing number of hate crimes with antisemitic offences, accounting for more than any other group.
We know many members of U of G’s Jewish community are feeling particularly vulnerable and unsafe following the attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7. As we continue to navigate these challenging times, days like today remind us of how crucial it is for us to learn about each other, understand how antisemitism manifests and work together to stand against all forms of hatred.
On campus, events were held this week as part of Holocaust Education Week. Guelph Hillel brought our community together to remember, mourn, listen, and learn. We know education is integral to combating hate and I encourage our community to continue to learn more about standing against antisemitism and other forms of hate through our Principles of Belonging: Anti-Oppression & Anti-Racism training module; our free online eBook, Building Community: Introduction to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and our upcoming our Human Rights module.
So please join me this Holocaust Remembrance Day, as we mourn and reflect upon the past, learn about how we can support one another in the present, and commit to building a strong, equitable and inclusive foundation for the future.
Associate Vice-President, Diversity and Human Rights