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IHRDBy RAN UKASHI - Manitoba Regional Director for B’nai Brith Canada
In honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2018, B’nai Brith Canada came together with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and several community organizations to put on a free three-part series to mark the occasion entitled Italy During the Fascist Era.

Caption for the photo taken at the Shaarey Zedek: At the Shaarey Zedek Monday, January 29, for a lecture by Dr. Alain Goldschlager about Italian-Jewish writer Primo Levi
In the picture (l-r): Dr. Goldschlager (University of Western Ontario); Belle Jarniewski (Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada); Chandra Erlendson, (Manager, Public Programs, Canadian Museum for Human Rights);  Adriana Glikman (Winnipeg Program Coordinator, B’nai Brith Canada); Rena Elbaze (Education & Engagement Director, Shaarey Zedek Congregation); Ran Ukashi (Manitoba Regional Director, B’nai Brith Canada); Dr. Jeremy Maron (Canadian Museum for Human Rights Curator for Holocaust and Genocide Content); Stan Carbone (Vice Consul of Italian Consulate in Winnipeg, also Director of Programs and Exhibits for the Jewish Heritage Centre)
As Italy is entering into the 2018 chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the events were themed towards the Italian experience with the Holocaust. Events took place from January 28-30.
Joining B’nai Brith Canada were the Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Lupa Di Roma Branch of the Sons of Italy, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, the Dante Alighieri Society, the Italian Vice Consulate in Winnipeg, the Azrieli Foundation, and Holy  Rosary Catholic Church.
More than 160 people attended a packed classroom at the Museum on Sunday, January 28, to watch a screening of the Italian classic film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which portrayed the experiences of Jews in Fascist Italy, and the consequences of the implementation of the Racial Laws. The film was followed by a discussion and Q&A with Dr. Jeremy Maron, the Museum’s Curator for Holocaust and Genocide Content.
On January 29 Dr. Alain Goldschlager, an expert on French language and literature and Shoah testimonials from the University of Western Ontario in London, gave an interesting talk on the work of Italian-Jewish Holocaust survivor and writer Primo Levi to some 200 attendees at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, and provided engaging and thought-provoking answers to the questions asked of him.
The third and final event was a discussion of the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holocaust, with specific attention to the role of  Pope Pius XI.  That event took place Tuesday, January 30 at Holy Rosary Church. Although a serious topic, Father Sam Argenzanio of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, presented the matter in a compassionate and respectful manner, with a tasteful use of humour. His talk was well attended, with additional seats needed to accommodate the level of public interest, and was followed by a spirited Q&A and a wine and cheese reception.
The events were well received by the public, with many in attendance having come to all three presentations. The level of cooperation and coordination among the various co-sponsoring organizations, as well as the sophistication of the speakers and the audiences made the series an intellectually stimulating enterprise, and demonstrated the significance that the subject of the Holocaust, and the importance of remembering and wrestling with that dark period in history, resonates deeply with the public.
In a time where all too frequently the Holocaust is minimized, trivialized, or denied outright, it is as imperative as it has ever been to bring people from all walks of life together to learn, share, and of course, remember the Holocaust, and pass on this history to future generations.