Hannah Steynan, Descendent of Netherlands RATN Rijpstra/Keverkamp © Courtesy of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem
Established in 1986, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem’s (CSYV) mission is to serve as the Canadian representative of the Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre by securing financial support for its work and disseminating the universal lessons of the Holocaust across Canada through commemorative and educational activities.
CSYV oversees several national and local projects that provide resources for educators, recognize Holocaust survivors, provide a space for Holocaust remembrance and honour rescuers known as the ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ during the Holocaust.
CSYV is proud to be part of living history in continuing to honour heroes: The Righteous Among the Nations (RATN). This designation is the highest honour awarded by the State of Israel to non-Jewish individuals who risked their lives and the lives of their families to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. The Righteous came from many different countries, religions, and backgrounds. To date, almost 28,000 ‘righteous’ have received this prestigious designation.
In Canada, CSYV and the Israeli Foreign Ministry partner in ceremonies honouring the RATN and their descendants. In the past 12 months, CSYV has honoured three RATN living in Vancouver, Calgary, Sarnia, with upcoming ceremonies planned for Winnipeg and Toronto in 2023.
CSYV is also home to various vital programs and initiatives. There are over 300 alumni of the Yad Vashem Canadian Educators Seminars teaching across Canada. Educators from across Canada are trained at Yad Vashem to fight against hatred, antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia. In July 2022, over 23 educators from across Canada participated in a two-week in-person Yad Vashem Holocaust education seminar in Israel.
In Toronto, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem’s Holocaust Memorial Site stands proudly as our commitment to remember and to educate. The site is located in Earl Bales Park adjacent to residential areas where thousands of Holocaust survivors rebuilt their lives in Canada after the war. The Memorial contains almost 5,000 names of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
The annual Government of Ontario Tribute honouring Holocaust Survivors was streamed online in November 2022. Ten Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in Ontario after the war and made significant contributions to the province were recognized and celebrated.
CSYV participates in ceremonies remembering those who were murdered in the Holocaust and honouring its survivors across the country each year. In April 2023, during Yom Hashoah, CYSV will participate in the National Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony in Ottawa. To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, Yad Vashem will be displaying the Book of Names at the United Nations in New York City. The Book of Names is a unique memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and serves as a tangible memorial both to the individual identities of those murdered during the Holocaust.
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Established in 1986, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem’s (CSYV) mission is to serve as the Canadian representative of the Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre by disseminating the universal lessons of the Holocaust across Canada through commemorative and educational activities.