Canada's new Holocaust museum helps make history personal
National Post, 2 October 2017
Until now, Canada was the only allied power from World War II that did not have a national Holocaust monument
I am not a stranger to Holocaust memorials. Every year I accompany young Catholics on a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, and about every other year I accompany Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel’s national museum and memorial for the Shoah.
Even after the novelty of such visits fades, such experiences remain powerful moments. In the face of the Holocaust we are forced to contemplate the mystery of evil in our time; we bow our heads before the resilience of those who suffered; we are moved to intense prayer. For a Christian in particular, it is not possible to recall the Shoah – and the subsequent return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel – without profound reflection upon the meaning of divine election. To the Jewish people, writes Saint Paul, belong the “sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.”
It was therefore a blessing – in the strict sense of the word, as not all blessings are superficially pleasant – to visit Ottawa’s National Holocaust Monument last Wednesday at its inauguration. The decision to build the monument was taken by a unanimous vote of Parliament in 2011, correcting the anomaly that Canada was the only allied power from World War II that did not have a national Holocaust monument.
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