The sunset of April 27th to the sunset of April 28th marked Holocaust Remembrance Day around the world fostering a remembrance of the estimated 11 million victims of the holocaust. Of these 11 million, it was estimated that six million of these victims were Jewish and approximately 1.1 million of the holocaust were children.
To many, the statistics are numbers on a page, but they don’t tell the story of what holocaust survivors endured or the horror that they bore witness to. On the evening of May 14th, Macklin and area residents have the opportunity to listen to Dr. Eva Olsson, a holocaust survivor, as she shares her story of endurance and survival, after she and her family were taken to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Her message of challenging the injustices of the world is just as relevant now as it was then and promotes the idea of taking action to alleviate these injustices both on a smaller scale such as addressing bullying in school and communities or on a larger scale as battles are fought for human rights.
“When people ask me how long I intend to do this important work. I remind them that bullying and genocide are still happening in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, because these problems, caused by hate and intolerance – will always be with us, so I’m going to keep speaking as long as I can. Then I can honestly say to the millions of people whose voices were so cruelly silence by the Nazi’s – ‘You have not been forgotten’.” ~ Eva Olsson~
Eva’s message and more information can be found at www.evaolsson.ca. Her books are also available at Macklin School Library.
It would be so very easy for Canadians to look at the holocaust and paint a broad stroke of guilt on residents of Germany for the actions of a government; however Canada also needs to examine their own role in promoting injustice towards others simply based on their background. As 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, shadows of Canada’s past looms as citizens are educated on an often overlooked area of Canadian history.
During the First World War, approximately 8,500 civilian prisoners, most of Ukrainian descent, were arrested and held in internment camps across Canada, simply because they originated from Eastern Europe. An exhibit stands in Banff, Alberta where one of the camps existed. Now the jewel of the Canadian Rockies, it was the scene of human suffering and endurance and while it may not have been on the same level as the Holocaust, it does prove that injustice can thrive anywhere.
As Simon Wiesenthal points out, bad triumphs when good does nothing. We always have a choice; we can choose to love or to hate, to antagonize or accept. We make a choice to think, a choice to speak, and a choice to act. Our thoughts become our words and our words become our actions. Think wisely.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “when you know better, you do better.” When we choose to educate ourselves about our past and our present, we know better how to form our future. So now, we can do better.
We invite all students to check out our holocaust display currently housed in the library.