• By: Dan Donovan

Hungarian Embassy Hosts Solemn and Poignant Tribute to Victims of the Holocaust

ABOVE: Ambassador of Hungary to Canada Mária Vass-Salazar (LEFT) at the April 17, 2023 ceremony.

Diplomats and officials from across the capital attended a poignant memorial ceremony and reception to honour victims of the holocaust at the Embassy of Hungary yesterday.

In heartfelt remarks to guests, Mária Vass-Salazar, Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, said that every family in Hungary had friends or immediate family affected by the Holocaust and the deportation and murder of Jewish people in WW2 in her country. She said Hungary feels the pain of the holocaust today, and it should never be forgotten.

Globally renowned human rights activist Irwin Cotler, PC, OC, OQ, and Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, made a special guest video appearance. He reminded attendees of the horror of the Holocaust and the killing of millions of innocents. He stressed the importance of standing up to anti-Semitism and racism wherever it exists. Cotler expressed concern for the rise in anti-Semitism in Canada in recent years and called for all Canadians and people everywhere to confront it.

Guest speaker Micheal Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, gave a passionate speech about the lessons learned from the Holocaust and noted that the Canadian government had a shameful record in the years leading up to the Holocaust when many Jews who were trying to escape Europe were turned away upon arrival in Canada only to return and face the horrors of the camps.

He noted that after the war, many Nazi criminals from the Holocaust found refuge in Canada, and he said that B’nai Brith Canada was working to ensure that chapter of Canadian history is exposed and made more public so Canadians will be able to learn why these people were allowed into Canada and which Nazi criminals avoided prosecution and justice by coming to Canada.

Ambassador Vass-Salazar arranged a touching musical programme as part of the evening featuring Ms. Floralove Katz, Soprano and Ms. Natasha Guiller, Pianist who played four selections, including Zog Nit Keynmol As Du Geyst Dem Letstn Veg (Never Say That This Is the Final Road for You) and Shir La Shalom (A Song For Peace). The evening ended with a brilliant and haunting rendition of the theme from Schindler’s List by composer John Williams that was effortlessly played by Violinist Natalie Paravalos and pianist Ioulia Brechun.