On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember the 10 million people, including 6 million Jews, who were killed by the Nazi regime. Their lives are a reminder of daily work that must be done to end anti-Semitism and fascism both here and abroad.
During the Nazi persecution of Jews, Canada’s discriminatory ‘none is too many’ policy toward Jewish refugees meant that between 1933 to 1945, Canada accepted fewer Jewish refugees than any other Western nation. In 1939, Canada denied refuge to 900 Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis, a decision that ultimately led to the ship returning to Germany and nearly a third of the passengers on board dying in concentration camps.
At a moment when an act of compassion could have saved so many, the Canadian government instead chose hate and discrimination.
In spite of this horrific history, Jewish workers and activists overcame enormous obstacles to join various progressive causes in Canada, champion human rights, and play pivotal roles in labour unions such as CUPE. Their resilience reminds us that hate will not win.
During the last two years of global pandemic, and the pressures it has caused, we have witnessed the rise of racism and anti-Semitism once again. These evils are far from gone. It is our duty to join with others to actively combat hate in all its forms.
As members of Ontario’s largest public sector union and as global citizens, we have a collective responsibility to remember the Holocaust and to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate. That’s why our anti-racism and equity efforts as a union, such as our Anti-White Supremacy campaign and Indigenous solidarity work, are so important; they are critical to building a safer, more equitable, and more compassionate world.