Canada and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is made up of government officials and experts from 31 countries. It is guided by the principles identified in the Stockholm Declaration. Its objectives include:

  • supporting Holocaust education, remembrance and research in member countries and around the world;
  • promoting the development of civil society through an annual grant program of approximately €500,000;
  • working in partnership with other international organizations to support these principles and objectives.

Canada became a full member of IHRA in 2009. From March 5, 2013 to February 25, 2014 Dr. Mario Silva chaired IHRA on behalf of Canada.

Canada will continue to work closely with the IHRA as an active member country. Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism, has named Dr. Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, as Canada’s new Head of Delegation to the IHRA where he will continue to promote Holocaust awareness and further the global fight against anti-Semitism.

Image of Dr. Mario Silva

Dr. Mario Silva, 2013 Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

IHRA Chair’s Advisory Council

In May 2012, Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism, appointed an advisory council, co-chaired by Dr. Silva and Senator Linda Frum, to provide support and advice on domestic initiatives for the duration of the Chair Year.

“Membership in this important body provides Canada with an opportunity to work internationally to combat racism and anti-Semitism. This government believes it is critically important to be engaged in efforts to teach future generations the lessons of the Holocaust and to help prevent future acts of genocide.”

The Honourable Jason Kenney

Image of Senator Linda Frum

Senator Linda Frum, Co-Chair of the 2013 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Chair Advisory Council

Chair Year Initiatives

Survivor Testimony

The Government of Canada intends to provide support of approximately $800,000 for four organizations to preserve Holocaust survivors’ testimonials:

  • The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre will support the preservation, access and use of Holocaust survivor testimonies in schools;
  • The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre will work, in partnership, to digitize existing footage of Holocaust survivors’ testimonies; and
  • A digital archive of Holocaust survivor testimonies from the March of the Living will be created by the Jewish Federations of Canada-United Israel Appeal of Canada. The March of the Living is an annual educational program, which brings students from around the world to explore the remnants of the Holocaust.

For more information:

Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education

Mr. Scott Masters, a teacher at Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto, Ontario, won the 2013 Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education for his innovative approach to promoting understanding and awareness of the Holocaust and its implications.

Also receiving Honourable Mention awards were:

  • Mr. Dale Martelli, Vancouver Technical Secondary School, Vancouver, British Columbia;
  • Mr. Ken Ipe, Dr. Charles Best Secondary School, Coquitlam, British Columbia;
  • Mr. Graeme Stacey, Kelowna Secondary School, Kelowna, British Columbia;
  • Ms. Line Dubé and Ms. Annie Frenette, Marie-Clarac secondary school, Montréal, Quebec; and
  • Ms. Tricia Leduc, Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School, Ottawa, Ontario.

Learn more about Mr. Masters’ and the other top finalists’ teaching approaches.

For more information:

International Poster Competition

Canadian students finished in first and second place in an International Poster Design Competition to commemorate the Holocaust on the theme “Keeping the Memory Alive - Journeys through the Holocaust.”

The poster created by Caitlin McGinn, a student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, was selected as the overall winner in the competition.

Carling Hind, a fellow Canadian and Emily Carr student, was the second place finisher. Two other Canadian students, Derek Michael Wasylyshen from the University of Manitoba and Joakim Sundal from Emily Carr University, were also selected as top 16 international finalists.

The original designs of seven Canadian post-secondary students in Art and Design programs across Canada were selected to advance to the final international judging round. In total, nearly 500 students around the world participated in the competition.

Beginning on January 27, 2014, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the top 16 designs were exhibited at over 90 locations around the world, including prominent locations such as the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, Geneva, Vienna and the European Commission in Brussels.

For more information:

Holocaust-related holdings at Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has developed a publicly accessible thematic guide that provides a list of Holocaust-related material in its holdings. The Research Guide to Holocaust-related Holdings at LAC (PDF, 1.4 MB) provides an introduction to material from both archival and published sources that relates to a range of events and decisions before, during and after the Second World War. The guide includes both government and personal documents.

IHRA Meetings

As Chair, Canada hosted the first of two IHRA meetings at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin (June 11-14, 2013) with over 100 delegates from 31 member states, as well as IHRA Permanent Observers, observer countries and special guests from non-IHRA member states. During that meeting, key accomplishments included: approval to fund a major international research project on Holocaust education, discussion of initiatives to combat anti-Semitism, and advancing IHRA’s multi-year work plan and future directions for the annual €500,000 IHRA grant program.

The second IHRA meeting was held in Toronto (October 6-10, 2013) with the participation of approximately 175 delegates, as well as international and Canadian special guests. The five days of meetings began with an academic conference at the University of Toronto from October 6 – 7, which was followed by working group meetings on a number of subjects including combating anti-Semitism, Holocaust commemoration, and Holocaust education. Several cultural events were held in conjunction with the meetings, including a concert to honour Holocaust survivor educators and a dinner to honour families who harboured Jews in Holland during the Second World War. The meetings concluded with a plenary session on October 10 where consensus was achieved on a number of key initiatives, including: the adoption of an official definition of Holocaust denial to support ongoing efforts to combat anti-Semitism; the acceptance of Uruguay as a new observer country to IHRA; and the endorsement of Hungary as the IHRA Chair for 2015 and expressions of interest for Chairing in 2016 and 2017.

More on the meetings:


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