January 24, 2008

Dignitaries to gather on Sunday for International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Hamilton, ON -  National and local dignitaries will gather at McMaster University to mark the United Nations’ international day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust on Sunday, January 27 at  3 p.m. The commemoration will be held in CIBC Hall, McMaster University Student Centre.

Attendance to the event is by invitation only. (The media is welcome to attend, and reporters are asked to email their intentions for accreditation purposes. Details are at the end of this release.)

Organized by McMaster University and the United Nations Association in Canada—Hamilton Branch, the event will blend musical performance and remarks from politicians such as:

  • The Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)
  • The Honourable Ted McMeekin, Ontario Minister of Government and Consumer Services
  • His Worship Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton.


The program will begin with the performance of Children of a Vanished World, presented by Judy Kopelow and Sabatino Vacca, and inspired by the pre-Holocaust photographs of Roman Vishniac, whose work is currently exhibited at the McMaster Museum of Art (http://www.mcmaster.ca/museum/exhibitions_schedule.htm).

Other attending dignitaries include:

  • Vera Barany, a survivor of the Holocaust who now resides in Hamilton.
  • Amir Gissin, consul general of the State of Israel
  • Joanna Mantello, a participant in the March of Remembrance and Hope 2007
  • Mara Vishniac Kohn, daughter of photographer Roman Vishniac

Memorial prayers will be chanted by Cantor Marshall Loomer of Toronto, followed by a song of hope, Ani Ma’amin (I Believe) performed by Hamilton high school student Ruthie Pytka-Jones.

On November 1, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly declared January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The resolution calls on every member country to honour the memory of Holocaust victims and to encourage education programs that foster a recommitment to human rights. On January 27, 1945, the Soviet army liberated the largest Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The work of remembrance pays tribute to those who perished. But it also plays a vital role in our efforts to stem the tide of human cruelty.”

Madeleine Levy of the United Nations Association in Canada – Hamilton Branch, said: “The international day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, recognized each January by the UN and the global community, serves as an essential reminder to not only honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust but also to strengthen the resolve of all peoples to work together in peaceful and respectful ways to prevent such atrocities against future generations.”

McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 130,000 in 128 countries.


For media accreditation to this event or for more information, please contact:

Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869