• Print

Jarniewski Belle edited 1By BELLE JARNIEWSKI

Every year, the Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre holds events to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Since 2014, when I became a member of the Canadian delegation of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance), this became an even higher priority for me, as each member country in the IHRA marks the day, often with government-led events as well as events in the Jewish community. It is important to remember that  it was an initiative of Silvan Shalom, then head of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations that led to  Resolution 60/7 establishing January 27 as a day to honor the memory of Holocaust victims. It also encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. It rejects any denial of the Holocaust  as an event as an event and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance,incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief. Over the years we have had some wonderful programming here, including last year’s partnership with the University of Manitoba hosting the Virtual Synagogues Exhibition and the accompanying lecture series.
Every year, the chairmanship of the IHRA rotates to a different country. In 2018, Italy will take over the chairmanship.  2018 is also marks the 80th anniversary of the racial laws enacted against the Jews in Italy under the Fascists. It occurred to me that this was an opportunity to work with our Italian community as well as the Jewish Heritage Centre’s wonderful programme director (and Italian vice-consul for Manitoba), Stan Carbone. Clint Curle, who is another IHRA delegate, and Senior Advisor to the President of the CMHR brought the CMHR onboard. Other partners are the Dante Alighieri Society, Lupa di Roma, the Congregation Shaarey Zedek,  and B’nai Brith, . The Azrieli Foundation has kindly provided support.
The first programme is a screening of the film, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis with a  talk by Jeremy Maron, who curated the Holocaust Gallery in the CMHR. The film takes place in Ferrara, where the second Italian plenary of the IHRA will be taking place (in the autumn of 2018). Ian 1943, 183 Jews from Ferrara were rounded up ands sent to the death camps. Only one returned.The film begins in 1938 as the racial laws remove the rights of the Jews. A story of romance plays out against the historical events.
On Monday January 29th, Professor Alain Goldschlager, a renowned scholar will be delivering a lecture on Primo Levi at  Congregation Shaarey Zedek. Goldschlager, who originally hails from Belgium, is a fellow IHRA delegate who formerly chaired the Academic Working Group on which I serve. He has authored many fine books, the most recent of which is Les témoignages écrits de la Shoah (Written testimonies of the Shoah) - 2016. We are so fortunate to have Dr. Goldschlager speak here. He teaches at the University of Western Ontario, was once president of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith,  and received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes académiques  (2014) award.
On the 30th, Father Sam Argenziano, who many of the Jewish Post & News readers are familiar with will be speaking at the Holy Rosary Parish on River Avenue on a very important topic - the role of the Catholic Church during the Shoah. It will be interesting to hear Father Sam’s take on Pius XII whose wartime role has been considered controversial in books such as Hitler’s Pope, among others. Others, such as papal nuncio Angelo Roncalli, who became Pope John XXIII saved many Jewish lives.
We hope that many will come out to these three wonderful and interesting events which are free of charge. All are welcome.