A rare opportunity: Nearly 2,000 students tune in to meet Holocaust survivor

TORONTO, Nov. 23, 2022 /CNW/ – The current generation of students is likely the last to have the opportunity to hear first-person testimony from Holocaust survivors. And, as part of Holocaust Education Week, nearly 2,000 middle-school students from 22 schools in Vaughan got that chance.

The recent session with local author and Holocaust survivor Claire Baum was facilitated by the Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program and Vaughan Public Libraries.

“Vaughan Public Libraries was excited to partner with the Azrieli Foundation to help raise awareness about the Holocaust in support of Holocaust Education Week,” says Margie Singleton, CEO of Vaughan Public Libraries. “Our commitment to championing diversity, equity and inclusion through education helps us better understand our past and present and the experiences of those within our community and the world.”

Each student had received a copy of Claire Baum’s memoir, The Hidden Package, courtesy of the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program. Having studied her story and completed accompanying education activities, they had the opportunity to ask questions beyond the contents of her memoir, providing the space to build personal connections to Claire and her story.

“Holocaust education spans more than just one week or month,” says Jody Spiegel, director of the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program. “Our work in this space is year-round, and we are committed to supporting teachers and community members to ensure they are prepared to teach this topic.”

As Ontario plans to include Holocaust education in the Grade 6 curriculum, teachers will require support and age-appropriate resources to bring this difficult subject into their classrooms. To support this transition, the program will continue to offer free resources and professional development opportunities to teachers across Canada.

About the Azrieli Foundation

With a firm belief that everyone has a contribution to make, the Azrieli Foundation has been opening doors, breaking ground, and nurturing networks for more than 30 years. The Foundation – the largest non-corporate foundation in Canada – funds institutions and operates programs in Canada and Israel.