Sunday, November 05, 2017

Canadian holocaust memorial fails to mention Jews

by Dan Bilefsky

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, center, touring the newly inaugurated National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa last week. Credit Canadian Prime Minister's Office

The architecture of Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa is both symbolic and haunting, with six concrete triangles depicting the stars that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany, and that marked millions of them for extermination during World War II.

But while the structure’s design embodies Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, a plaque placed outside it failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism, an omission that has drawn furious criticism.

The plaque outside the memorial — the country’s first national Holocaust monument, 10 years in the making and inaugurated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week — paid tribute to the “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust” and the “survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history.”

The omission of any mention of Jews in the inscription was immediately seized upon by opposition politicians, rights advocates and the Israeli news media. Some groups turned to social media to express criticism. The plaque was removed.

The Times of Israel headline blared, “Canada Holocaust memorial omits any mention of Jews, anti-Semitism.”

David Sweet, a lawmaker from the opposition Conservative Party, asked Canada’s Parliament, “How could the prime minister permit such a glaring omission of reference to anti-Semitism and the fact that the millions of men, women and children who were murdered were overwhelmingly Jewish?” He added: “If we are going to stamp out hatred of Jews, it is important to get history right.”



Use the Name, Luke said...

While Jews were the main target of the Nazi driven Holocaust, they were not the only targets, just the largest. IMHO, the plaque isn't wrong. If they want to make sure it mentions the Jews, it should probably mention those smaller groups as well.

Either way, that human beings were being intentionally exterminated due to evil ideas is the most important point.

Anonymous said...

Most people think of the Holocaust as only concerning the Jewish "final solution", whereas of course there were many other groups (as Luke says) - eg. political and Christian opponents, Jehova Witnesses, Freemasons, trade unionists and socialists, assumed homosexuals, gypsies and other ethnic "inferiors" such as Slavs, disliked intellectuals and artists, plus categories of foreigners, even POWs, etc., etc. Perhaps, though it could have been mentioned that the Nazi aim was to exterminate the Jews entirely.

Anonymous said...

Why does Canada need a Holocaust memorial?
And does it also need memorials for every other atrocity committed in foreign countries?