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The National Holocaust Monument honours the six million Jews who perished

January 2020

On 27 September 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially dedicated the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, Ontario.

The high, stark, white concrete walls of varying angles that make up the monument, sit on almost an acre of land on LeBreton Flats, across from the Canadian War Museum.

The National Holocaust Monument, which is the culmination of the efforts Laura Grosman, the granddaughter of a Polish-born Holocaust survivor, honours the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust, along with the millions of other victims of the Nazi regime. Those other victims included Soviet prisoners, non-Jewish Poles, Roma people, homosexuals, blacks and religious and political prisoners.

It was one of the darkest chapters in human history.

The monument, which is maintained by the National Capital Commission, was designed by Daniel Libeskind and features murals, photos and interpretive plaques, with a landscape design for the Monument inspired by the image of the northern Boreal forest.

Though designed to be informative and thought-provoking, the National Holocaust Monument didn’t come without controversy. A dedication plaque affixed at the entrance to the monument failed to make any mention of the Jewish people, the primary target of the Nazi extermination efforts, or even anti-Semitism, saying only that “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust.” Although other plaques within the monument walls did detail the Nazi genocide of six million Jews, this egregious omission on the dedication plaque was taken as a great insult to the Jewish victims, for whom the monument was built in the first place.

The plaque was quickly replaced, at a cost of around $55, 000.

The monument is free to tour and is open to the public every day, from 7 am to 9 pm.

Sources: https://www.holocaustmonument.ca, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Holocaust_Monument, https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/heres-how-the-holocaust-monument-came-to-have-a-glitch-that-nobody-saw-coming, https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/friedman-holocaust-plaque, https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/cohen-who-left-the-jews-off-the-holocaust-memorial-plaque.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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