The Holocaust commemoration service at Vanier College on April 10th was an inspirational, moving and emotional ceremony. In light of current events, tolerance and remembrance as shown in ceremonies like these are of the utmost importance.

We were honoured by the presence of many foreign dignitaries and local representatives of the Jewish community who gave powerful statements.

Thank you again to Vanier College and Toby Moneit for organizing and hosting this service as well as the week-long symposium on the Holocaust, genocide and extremism.

The Holocaust is a term that accompanies us Germans throughout our lives. We learn as early as primary school what human beings are capable of when they….what? Are not sufficiently educated? Have no conscience? Are obsessed with power? Need a “leader” to show them the way, regardless of whether it is right or wrong? When mass media does not provide comprehensive and unbiased information? When people would rather keep their mouths shut than suffer disadvantages? When people stop talking to each other because only one opinion is allowed anyway?

And how easy is it to look back and ask: Why didn’t anyone do anything? Why didn’t anyone stand up? How could people allow something like this to happen? How easy it is to look back and say “never again’.
Never again is a phrase that is nowadays used quite a lot. It feels good. It puts you on the right side.
It is somnething that is often uttered without realising that it is worth nothing if it does not lead to any action.

How often in our everyday lives do we choose to say nothing? Not to take sides, even when we see injustice being committed. How often do we first consider whether it would be disadvantageous for us to speak out? How often is it just too convenient to watch instead of getting involved. How often do we keep our mouth shut because we are afraid of standing alone with our opinion?

The courage to stand up for justice and humanity and against genocide and oppression has
always been important. Vital.

Thank you for the invitation to this event and the opportunity to say a few words on
behalf of Germany. A country that has committed genocides and whose name will forever
be connected to the Holocaust.

I would like to end with a quote from Martin Luther King:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Thank you.

Remarks by German Vice Consul Karin Grimm

Misinformation and Disinformation: Down the Rabbit Hole

Talk by Gedenkdieners Gabriel Steinberger and Leo Wurmbrand at the symposium

More information about the program here