(EJNews) – On May 5 a solemn ceremony was held at the site of the Holocaust Memorial Monument at the legislature grounds in Edmonton to commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The sky was overcast and a soft rain fell over the crowd prompting event organizers to distribute black umbrellas, giving the event an even more somber atmosphere.
A short program was held that included the Talmud Torah choir accompanied by their teacher Moreh Ben Ragosin. The choir opened the event with the singing of the National Anthem. Speakers included Jewish Federation of Edmonton President Ellery Lew, Rabbi Kliel Rose (Edmonton Beth Shalom), Rabbi Daniel Friedman (Edmonton Beth Israel), City Councillor Mike Oshry, MLA Ricardo Miranda and Gillian Horwitz and Stephanie Hendin representing the Jewish Federation of Edmonton Holocaust Education committee.
Each speaker gave a heartfelt tribute about remembering the victims, martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust. They stressed the importance of recalling the extreme suffering at the hands of hate and making sure that it never happens again.
A moving candle lighting ceremony was conducted by Holocaust survivors as well as second and third generation survivors who are members of the Edmonton Jewish community. The ceremony honoured the memory of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis and their accomplices.
The Talmud Torah choir performed Eli Eli (Oh God my Lord), a Hebrew folk song whose lyrics were written by Hannah Szenes, a Jewish heroine of World War II. Szenes was killed in 1944 after being captured in Hungary, during an effort to save Allied prisoners of war and organize Jewish resistance.
The Jewish Federation of Edmonton sponsored the event which was attended by leaders and members of the Jewish community as well as a number of government officials and dignitaries. The event concluded with the singing of Ha Tikvah.
On May 4, Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement to recognize Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day:
“Between 1933 and 1945, approximately six million Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis. Today, we honour the brave survivors, and recognize those who risked their lives to save others.
“The rituals of Yom HaShoah hold tremendous meaning for the Jewish community and many other Canadians. Tonight and tomorrow, in private homes, synagogues, and temples, families and friends will gather. Many will light a memorial candle, sing, pray for the victims, and recount the stories of Holocaust survivors.
“Yom HaShoah is a time to reflect on the atrocities of one of the darkest chapters in human history. On this day, we also reaffirm our commitment to Holocaust remembrance and education. It is an opportunity to reiterate our steadfast commitment to fight anti-Semitism, racism, and all forms of discrimination – whenever and wherever they occur – so that such horrors never take place again.”
Photos by Edmonton Jewish News: