Dr. Swann Member Statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day – 20 April 2017

Taken from the Alberta Hansard for Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Member Statement – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This coming Sunday marks Yom ha-Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and today we stand in the Legislature to remember the millions of Jewish children, women, and men brutally murdered by the Nazi regime. We acknowledge that this is one day after we recognized the genocide of Holodomor, Stalin’s Ukrainian genocide. The only crime of this Jewish community was being what Adolf Hitler and his government hated and feared, being different. Because of their religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation they deviated from the Nazi ideal of a pure Aryan nation and so were exterminated.

The official name of Yom ha-Shoah translates to Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, and while we remember humanity at its darkest and mourn those lost, we also acknowledge the incredible strength of the human spirit. Opposition to the Nazi regime took incredible courage, and obviously millions lost their lives in resisting. Nevertheless, resistance was widespread once ordinary men and women became heroes as they fought back in countless ways. Their bravery gave others a glimmer of hope, a candle in this darkness.

As the Holocaust fades into the past, we risk forgetting the consequences of not being vigilant against racism, hatred, genocide in all its forms and must be prepared to act when we see evidence anywhere, any time across our world. “Never again” is more than a hope; it’s a promise to act. When we say these words, we promise that we will to the best of our ability follow the example of those who stood up and resisted to fight to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never repeated.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.