Now in its 29th year, this year’s Holocaust Education Week will highlight the themes of defiance and resistance during the Holocaust. The opening program on November 1 will feature Ruth Bielski, whose father, Tuvia, with his brothers, were Partisan leaders who inspired the feature film Defiance. Known as the Bielski brothers, they kept 1200 Jews safe in the forests of Belarus as Nazi soldiers hunted them down. Ms. Bielski will share her personal perspective about her family, the film and the power of defiance and resistance at Shaarei Shomayim Congregation (470 Glencairn Ave).
Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament and human rights activist will be the guest speaker for the closing program on November 11th at Adath Israel Synagogue. Mr. Cottler, who served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, is a globally acclaimed human rights activist. His address, Remembering the Holocaust: Lessons for Our Time –Iran, Darfur, Durban II and Beyond, will discuss the need to act on our responsibility to prevent, prosecute and protect the world against injustices.
In addition to the events throughout the week which includes music concerts, film screenings and lectures, over 40 Holocaust survivors will share their experiences through speaking engagements at local schools, libraries, community centers, synagogues and churches. The Centre’s ongoing relationship with culturally diverse communities has resulted in Holocaust Education Week programs that explore a wide breadth of experiences from the Holocaust. There are over 25 church sponsored events, organized by the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto. Additionally, there are programs sponsored by Polish, Armenian, Roma and gay community organizations.
The full schedule of Holocaust Education Week programs is available at www.holocausteducationweek.com. Most programs are free of charge.
Opening Night Program:
Growing Up Bielski
Sunday, November 1 at 7:30 pm
Shaarei Shomayim Congregation (470 Glencairn Ave)
Ruth Bielski, whose father, Tuvia, with his brothers, were Partisan leaders who inspired the feature film Defiance. Known as the Bielski brothers, they kept 1200 Jews safe in the forests of Belarus as Nazi soldiers hunted them down. Ms. Bielski will share her personal perspective about her family, the film and the power of defiance and resistance.
And The Rat Laughed
Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts
10268 Yonge Street
$35-$45. Call 905 787-8811 or go to www.richmondhill.ticketwindow.ca
The North American premiere of a new Israeli opera about a child hidden during the Holocaust with a family of farmers in a remote Polish village. The opera presented in Hebrew with English surtitles, has brought audiences to their feet both in Israel and Europe. The dramatic story explores the power of memory in a highly theatrical and musically inspiring production. Presented by Opera York in partnership with the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Monday, November 9 at 7:30 pm
Beth Tzedec Synagogue (1700 Bathurst St.)
The evening will commemorate the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when on November 9-10, 1938, a massive coordinated state-sponsored attack was carried out against Jewish homes, synagogues and businesses throughout Germany and Austria. Special Guest speaker Professor David R. Blumenthal, will explore how human beings can create and be educational models that will equip children and youth for compassionate and courageous behaviour. His claim rests on analysis of why some very ordinary people became perpetrators and bystanders while other equally ordinary people became heroes.
Tuesday, November 10 at 7:30 pm
Royal Conservatory of Music Telus Centre (273 Bloor St. W- Koerner Hall)
This children’s opera, written by Czech composer Hans Krasa, has inspired more than 100 productions around the world. The anti-war fable was performed at the Theresiendstadt concentration camp, where the composer, children and teachers were imprisoned during the Holocaust. The production will be performed by students of Netivot Hatorah Day School, under the musical direction of Juno award winning composer, musician and Order of Canada recipient Paul Hoffert. Collaborating with Mr. Hoffert is Mei Lee, a former member of the Canadian Opera Company and the chorus master for Brundibar. The orchestra for this performance is made up of musicians of the Glenn Gould School of music of the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Professor Irwin Cotler:
Remembering the Holocaust: Lessons for our Time – Iran, Darfur, Durban II and Beyond
Wednesday, November 11 at 7:30 pm
Adath Israel Synagogue (37 Southbourne Avenue)
Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and human rights activist will discuss how the universal lessons of the Holocaust demonstrates humanity’s shared responsibility to prevent subsequent genocides. The past 70 years have demonstrated the continued dangers of state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, indifference and inaction in the face of mass atrocities, the culture of impunity, the betrayal of the elites; and the danger of assaults on the innocent. Using examples of the Holocaust and Rwanda to contemporary international issue such as Ahmadinejad’s Iran, Mr. Cotler will explore our responsibility to prevent, prosecute and protect.