Provincial Ceremony

Ten Holocaust Survivors Honoured at Queen's Park With Premier Kathleen Wynne

On October 24, 2013, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem paid tribute to ten Holocaust Survivors, in collaboration with the office of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, for their outstanding contributions to the Province of Ontario, after rebuilding their lives in Canada following the most horrific, large scale manifestation of evil that was inflicted during the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Survivors who were honoured at the Queen’s Park Tribute were Martin Baranek, Joe Betel, Helen Bleeman, Judy Cohen, Alzbeta Friedmann, Frank Junger, Fay Kieffer, Joe Leinburd, Bill Nightingale, and Rose Zimmerman.

Located at Queen's Park in the Legislative Building, numerous MPPs and Consul General of Israel in Toronto DJ Schneeweiss joined Premier Wynne at the ceremony, during which the Premier conferred upon 10 specially-nominated Holocaust Survivors a distinguished certificate of recognition in honour of their outstanding achievements and contributions to the province of Ontario.

After a beautiful medley of songs performed by the Bialik Hebrew Day School Choir, Consul General Schneeweiss delivered an impassioned speech, during which he acknowledged the contribution of Survivors in general, particularly in Israel and in Canada.

Following the Consul General’s address, Premier Wynne delivered the keynote address, during which she acknowledged each of the Survivors with incredible warmth and sincerity. The premier called upon each of the survivors to stand up as she saluted and acknowledged him/her for the unimaginable horrors that were endured, and made a personal remark related to the unique story of each Survivor. The premier captured the raison d'être of the ceremony when she said, "You [the Holocaust Survivors] are wonderful role models and shining examples of the tenacity of the human spirit."

Following the premier's address, the Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and MPP for Don Valley East, and Monte Kwinter, MPP for York Centre, read short bios of each of the Survivors before the Premier presented the Survivor with the certificate.

The Survivors' stories captivated and inspired the audience with their extraordinary accounts of survival against all odds. Brochures containing addresses from Premier Wynne and Consul General of Israel in Toronto DJ Schneeweiss highlighted each of the Survivor honourees, which were distributed to all the attendees at the ceremony.

Board Member of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Israel Mida did a wonderful job serving as Master of Ceremonies. While Fran Sonshine, National Chair of the Canadian Society, was, unfortunately, unable to attend, she sent her remarks: "Survivors' stories call out for us to think about the lives, the ordinary lives that were similar to our own, that once existed before the Holocaust. It is not about remembering the death and destruction as much as it is about remembering the vibrant lives and communities that were obliterated."

After the ceremony, the honourees proceeded to the Legislature, where MPPs representing each of the parties delivered statements and where MPP Monte Kwinter recited kaddish in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.

To read more about the Queen's Park Tribute, please visit the links below:

News Release: Ontario pays tribute to Holocaust survivors:

Statements made by members of the provincial Parliament in honour of Holocaust Survivors at Queen’s Park Tribute:

Jewish Tribune, Ontario honours Holocaust survivors at Queen’s Park| October 30, 2013|Joanne Hill:

To nominate a Holocaust Survivor for the 2014 Tribute, please submit the name and story of the Survivor whom you would like recognized to the following:

Tel: 416.785.1333
Fax: 416.785.4536
Mail: The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem
265 Rimrock Road, Suite 218
Toronto, ON
M3J 3C6

Queen's Park Brochure

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Past Provincial Ceremonies