CUPE_1920x1080_Intl. Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023 Social Card

On January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, CUPE Ontario observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The day was designated by the United Nations to honour the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, victims of anti-Semitism, racism, and totalitarianism.

Millions of others, including Ukrainians, Poles, Roma, people with disabilities, members of LGBTQI2S+ communities, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, and other political and religious groups, were also targeted by the Nazis. International Holocaust Remembrance Day honours them too.

CUPE Ontario acknowledges and remembers that trade unionists, among them many Jewish labour leaders, were also singled out for persecution by the Nazis. The voices and legacy of these comrades can be seen in the vital roles that Jewish workers and activists have played in CUPE’s own history and in Canada’s labour movement in general.

As difficult as it is to acknowledge, our country took a “none is too many” stance on the acceptance of Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 40s. This meant that, among Western nations, Canada accepted the smallest number of Jews who sought asylum from the Nazis. There are echoes of this shameful past in the rising incidents of anti-Semitism in Canada, as evidenced by increasing numbers of reported anti-Semitic crimes and incidents across the country. We must remain vigilant that the hate and racism behind them find no home in our movement, workplaces, or communities.

When considering these grim aspects of our history as a nation, it is more important than ever to make sure that we remember our collective responsibility to fight anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms. We can confront anti-Semitism by educating ourselves on the history and diversity of the Jewish community, making our voices heard when we see or hear bias and hate, supporting victims of hate crimes, reporting acts of hate, discrimination, and intimidation, and creating inclusive safe spaces.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day remains a stark and unique reminder of the consequences of racism, xenophobia, prejudice, and discrimination, whenever and wherever these evils are left unchallenged – especially reflected in the rise of white supremacy that has been stoked by right-wing extremists. Guided by our Anti-Racism Organizational Action Plan, CUPE Ontario pledges to educate and advocate for a world in which “never again” is a never-ending challenge to anti-Semitism and hatred in all its forms.