Win­nipeg holds first Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Day event

The Canadian Jewish News (Toronto) - - Holocaust Remembrance - MYRON LOVE PRAIRIES COR­RE­SPON­DENT, WIN­NIPEG

Like oth­ers across Canada, Win­nipeg’s Jewish com­mu­nity com­mem­o­rates the Holo­caust at var­i­ous times through­out the year, with pro­grams in the spring dur­ing Shoah Week and in Novem­ber to mark the an­niver­sary of Kristall­nacht.

But this year, for the first time, the Jewish Fed­er­a­tion of Win­nipeg is join­ing com­mu­ni­ties across Canada in mark­ing International Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Day.

The com­mem­o­ra­tive day was pro­claimed by the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly in Novem­ber 2005. The UN des­ig­nated Jan. 27, the an­niver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of the Auschwitz-birke­nau death camp, as the day on which it urges ev­ery mem­ber state to honour the mem­ory of the Shoah and de­velop ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams to help pre­vent fu­ture acts of geno­cide.

The Win­nipeg pro­gram is built around an ap­pear­ance by En­dre Farkas, a Cana­dian au­thor and child of Holo­caust sur­vivors, read­ing from his book Never, Again, which is about the theft of in­no­cence by forces over which there is no con­trol.

In the book, Farkas tells about how his par­ents, Eva and San­dor, had their youth stolen dur­ing World War II. In 1956, their child, Tomi, has his life vi­o­lated by the Hun­gar­ian Rev­o­lu­tion. There will also be per­for­mance ex­cerpts from his play Sur­viv­ing Wor(l)ds, which re­vis­its the ter­rors of the Holo­caust through the sto­ries of Farkas’ par­ents and his own jour­neys.

“We are very ex­cited about par­tic­i­pat­ing for the first time in International Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Day,” said Shel­ley Fain­tuch, the fed­er­a­tion’s com­mu­nity re­la­tions di­rec­tor and as­so­ciate di­rec­tor lo­cal part­ner ser­vices for the Cen­tre for Is­rael and Jewish Af­fairs (CIJA).

“This is also the first time that we are work­ing with the Win­nipeg Jewish Theatre,” she added. “That is part of our out­reach ini­tia­tive. We feel that the Win­nipeg Jewish Theatre has a larger role to play in the com­mu­nity. It was [WJT artis­tic di­rec­tor] Ari Wein­berg who sug­gested that we fea­ture En­dre and Never, Again.”

She said Wein­berg will also take part in the pro­gram in a per­for­mance role.

Wein­berg said he’s look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Farkas. “My first di­rec­to­rial ex­pe­ri­ence – when I was in Grade 11 – was di­rect­ing a scene from Sur­viv­ing Wor(l)ds,” he says. “I am re­ally ex­cited to be help­ing to in­tro­duce Sur­viv­ing Wor(l)ds to a Win­nipeg au­di­ence.”

The evening, co-spon­sored by CIJA, will in­clude re­marks from Win­nipeg MP Jim Carr, Canada’s min­is­ter of nat­u­ral re­sources, and a can­dle­light­ing cer­e­mony, which is tra­di­tional at Shoah me­mo­rial pro­grams.

“We’ve had a num­ber of in­quiries from the Jewish and gen­eral com­mu­nity be­fore the pro­gram, but we weren’t sure what to ex­pect in terms of at­ten­dance,” Fain­tuch said, not­ing that many Jewish Win­nipeg­gers head to Florida or Cal­i­for­nia in the win­ter.

“We reg­u­larly com­mem­o­rate the Holo­caust at other times dur­ing the year. We are hope­ful that this new com­mem­o­ra­tion will be well sup­ported.”

We reg­u­larly com­mem­o­rate the Holo­caust at other times dur­ing the year. We are hope­ful that this new com­mem­o­ra­tion will be well sup­ported Jewish Fed­er­a­tion CEO Shelly Fain­tuch

En­dre Farkas

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