Data Shows One in Three Quebecers Has an “Insufficient Knowledge” of Holocaust History
Montreal, QC – July 12, 2022 – In the wake of statements made by Montreal lawyer Hélène Poussard’s statements during the trial of neo-Nazi commentator Gabriel Sohier Chaput, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is calling on Quebec Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge to include Holocaust education and antisemitism awareness as part of the curriculum in Quebec.
“Poussard’s statement is the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” said CIJA Quebec Vice President Eta Yudin. “Roberge must include Holocaust history and antisemitism awareness in the curriculum. It’s by understanding the past that you avoid repeating it.”
While defending her client, the attorney said: “It wasn’t part of the initial plan to exterminate the Jews. And was it really six million victims? I believe that if people died in concentration camps, it was to save money.” Adding: “That’s what I learned in school.”
Despite some teachers proactively including Holocaust education in their history or literature curriculum, Holocaust history is not part of the required curriculum in Quebec schools.
Other examples of banalisation of the Holocaust have surfaced in recent years. Anti-vaccine protesters, for instance, have been seen appropriating the yellow Star of David symbol – in reference to what was worn to identify Jews under the Nazi Regime.
According to a recent survey, one in three Quebecers estimates they have an “insufficient knowledge” of Holocaust history, compared to one in four in the rest of Canada. Trends show it to be increasing year after year.
“Antisemitism is often the canary in the coal mine and a predictor of radicalization. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews,” said Yudin. “Holocaust Education is an important tool in the fight against antisemitism. We all have a role to play.”
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
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