Student Seminars on Holocaust Education going on in Hamilton this week


Published November 20, 2023 at 4:01 pm

Marc-Olivier Cloutier of the Azrieli Foundation at last year's Student Seminar on the Holocaust. Photo Danielle Blancher

With world events currently unfolding in Gaza and anti-Jewish sentiments part of the baggage that goes with that, the timing of the Hamilton Jewish Federation’s annual student seminar on Holocaust Education could not be more appropriate.

Those same world events also mean the locations of these seminars are being kept under wraps for security reasons.

“We always talk about the importance of the lessons of the holocaust and that it will never happen again. But here we are,” said Jazmin Rymberg, a Communications Coordinator with the Hamilton Jewish Federation, who pointed out that Holocaust deniers, as well deniers of the events of October 7, are becoming more common in Hamilton.

“It’s very important to educate people – Jews and non-Jews alike – on the importance of this. If you don’t learn from history, you’re going to repeat it.”

The Teacher’s Symposium on Holocaust Education is happening tomorrow, with Marc-Olivier Cloutier of the Azrieli Foundation offering a guide for educators on the subject and Yoni Berrous from Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem) with a presentation called Flashes of Memory – Learning about the Holocaust through Photography.

Wednesday is the 23rd annual Student Seminar on Holocaust Education for high school students in grades 10-12 with Berrous, Cloutier and Holocaust survivor Eva Kuper as presenters.

New this year is a seminar for middle school students, with Rymberg noting that Holocaust education is now mandatory for students in grade six in Canada.

Starting in September 2025, the Grade 10 history course in Ontario schools will explicitly link the Holocaust to extreme political ideologies including fascism, antisemitism in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s, and the contemporary impacts of rising antisemitism.

“The next generation needs to know the facts. And what better way to learn than from these educators.”

Hamilton Jewish Federation has been the cornerstone of Jewish life in Hamilton for more than 80 years. The federation’s guiding principles include:

  • Protecting the vulnerable in Hamilton, Israel and around the world
  • Educating, engaging and strengthening our Jewish community
  • Supporting and advocating for Jewish and Israel issues
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