Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and Haligonians will join people around the world in remembering the genocide generations have pledged to never let happen again.
Events in the Halifax Regional Municipality will focus on a survivor’s talk at 8 p.m. in Pier 21 and a memorial reading of names in Victoria Park.
“If we teach the history of the Holocaust – how it happened, why it happened and where it happened – there’s a chance the new generations will learn from that and it will never happen again, to any group,” explains Jon Goldberg, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.
“It was the height of man’s inhumanity toward man. Unfortunately, things continue like that today. Not necessarily in the same gross amount, but there are holocausts in Africa.”
Max Eisen will speak at the free public event at Pier 21. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1929, he and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. The 15-year-old was imprisoned there from May until January 1945. His parents, grandparents, two younger brothers and baby sister died. Eisen survived three death marches before being liberated by American soldiers on May 6, 1945. He moved to Canada in 1949.
“Most people are profoundly effected,” Goldberg says. “For a lot of people, it happened so many years ago, but when young people are confronted with these stories of what happened to Mr. Eisen and his family, it’s just an unbelievable thing.”
There will also be artwork by Nova Scotian Lynn Rotin. From noon until 3 p.m., people will gather to read the names of the Holocaust victims at Victoria Park near the Public Gardens.
“Six million is a number. There are so many people who died that have no relatives, so we read their names. The idea is that we’ll never forget,” Goldberg says.