On Friday, November 5th, 2010, I had the pleasure of joining the students of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute and Canadian Veteran Flying Officer Ed Carter-Edwards to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Holocaust Education Week.
It was an honour to sit beside this courageous individual, Carter-Edwards, as he spoke to the students about his experience in World War II, including his experience as one of 168 Allied Airmen who were incarcerated in Buchenwald.
Carter-Edwards captivated the students with his words, describing his experience while also encouraging them to keep the stories of the Holocaust and of our history alive.
That same morning, I had the pleasure of visiting with the remarkable and courageous members of Café Europa who call Baycrest home.
Café Europa is a place where Holocaust survivors can drop in to socialize with one another, meet new friends, reminisce with old friends, join in discussions, and listen to lectures and music.
Many Holocaust survivors have few family members who can offer support. Programs such as Café Europa are important, as they provide an opportunity for survivors to meet other members, share their stories and provide support for one another.
I would like to thank the members for welcoming me, and for sharing their incredible stories and time with me. And a special thank you to Nancy Webb and Anne Max of Baycrest, for helping to organize this very special morning.
I would also like to thank Principal Peggy Aitchison and the staff and students of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, for welcoming myself and Carter-Edwards to the school.
A final and very special thank you to Ed Carter-Edwards, for taking the time to visit our community, and inspire our students. Carter-Edwards continues to travel from city to city across Ontario to speak to students about his experience in World War II, teaching them the importance of passing our history to future generations.
On April 9, Carter-Edwards visited Buchenwald with his family for the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald, ensuring that the 56,545 victims who were lost at Buchenwald are not forgotten or denied.
Veterans like Ed and thousands of other witnesses all over the world and in Canada have dedicated their lives to telling the stories of the innocent victims of the Holocaust, so that their deaths are not in vain or forgotten.
Let us all reaffirm our dedication to the six million victims who were slaughtered, so that this absolutely deplorable chapter in history will never be forgotten and, hopefully, never happen again.
If you are interested in future Holocaust Education Week events, or for more information, please visit the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre Website, or contact my office at 416-781-2395 or at [email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].
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