Canadian PM Stephen Harper at Yad Vashem
Canadian PM Stephen Harper at Yad VashemYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Canadian Minister for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal released a joint statement on Monday timed for Holocaust Education Month.

"The Holocaust stands alone in history for its sheer brutality and inhumanity. The Shoah will forever serve as a powerful reminder of the odious effects of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance, and why it is important to prevent these poisonous ideologies from spreading," wrote the ministers.

The statement continued "Canada has been profoundly shaped by the 40,000 heroic Holocaust survivors who made our country their home in the years following the war. We owe an enormous debt to those survivors who have dedicated their lives to sharing their personal testimonies in our schools and communities."

As time advances and the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, the ministers noted this new reality is "a special challenge for the future of Holocaust education."

"That is why it is important to preserve the stories of survivors for future generations. The Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program is a touchstone Canadian educational resource that reaches classrooms across the country. The Government of Canada is also providing funding to Canadian Holocaust Education Centers to help them preserve and catalogue the video testimonies of Canadian survivors."

Canada has been working to preserve Holocaust memory, opening the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg in September and next year starting construction on a National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. "Both places will remind Canadians and visitors to our country that we must remain vigilant and defend human rights in the face of hatred and intolerance," wrote the ministers.

The statement noted that Uppal just recently was at the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, and while there visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum.

His visit was meant to reinforce Canada's "commitment to promoting Holocaust remembrance, education and research, and to advancing our coordinated global effort against hatred and anti-Semitism."

"Throughout this month, we encourage Canadians to take the time to learn more about this horrific chapter in history and to reflect on the universal lessons we can learn from the Holocaust and its survivors," concluded the ministers.