Recognizing the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

On Friday, January 27, the University of Toronto will join institutions, organizations, and communities around the world in recognizing the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust: the more than six million men, women, and children killed as part of a deliberate plan of mass extermination. Primarily targeting Jewish populations in Europe, the Holocaust also claimed the lives of many members of Romani communities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and political dissidents, among others.

The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust coincides with the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945, one of several events that forced the international community to confront the horrific results of unchecked hatred and discrimination—and of their own complicity through collective inaction.

Nearly 80 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and other Nazi concentration camps, we are frequently reminded how necessary it is to name and actively oppose hatred and discrimination in all its forms. Both nationwide and locally, antisemitic incidents increased between 2020 and 2021. While comparable statistics for 2022 are not yet available, we have ample proof that this ancient form of hatred persists very close to home.

We have much still to do to ensure our classrooms, labs, offices, and gathering spaces welcome and support members of the U of T Jewish community. This is an institutional responsibility, and an individual one. As you reflect on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, please consider your role in fostering a campus culture where everyone is respected for who they are, the religious beliefs they may hold, and the lived experience they bring to this University. Honouring this responsibility may include speaking out against antisemitism when you witness it, being an ally for those subject to it, and seizing opportunities for ongoing learning about its historical and contemporary forms, among other commitments.

At a time when antisemitic incidents continue to rise within and outside our campuses, it is unacceptable to remain silent or uninformed.

TRI-CAMPUS SUPPORTS

If you are a student who needs immediate support, please call the Health & Wellness Centre at (416) 978-8030 to speak with a counsellor. Counselling is also available through the U of T My Student Support Program (U of T My SSP) 24/7 by calling 1-844-451-9700.

Staff and faculty members can access mental health resources and supports through the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP). The 24/7 helpline at 1-800-663-1142 provides support for those experiencing grief, stress, and trauma.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office (EDIO) at UTM: a campus service for all UTM community members (students, staff, faculty, and librarians) that facilitates equity, Indigenous, and human rights-related programming, training, community engagement opportunities, and systemic change initiatives.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office (EDIO) at UTSC: a central resource for all UTSC community members (students, staff, and faculty, and librarians) to provide training, programming, and engagement initiatives related to equity, access, discrimination, and harassment.

Community Safety Office: CSO staff are available to provide support to all members of the U of T community

Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO): provides services to support University members in their efforts to foster environments that are intentionally racially diverse and inclusive through the advancement of equitable practices, education, and training and the provision of complaints resolution supports on matters of race, faith, and intersecting identities as guided by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study & Practice: provides an inclusive space for members of the U of T community to engage in community and to learn, grow, and explore diverse cultural and spiritual perspectives.

RAISING A CONCERN OR COMPLAINT

If you are experiencing workplace incivility, harassment, or discrimination, you may raise it with the University by contacting any of the University’s 13 Divisional HR Offices or any of the University’s equity offices on the St. George, UTM, and UTSC campuses.

REPORTING VANDALISM

Please report any vandalism or graffiti to Campus Safety, the Institutional Equity Office, the UTM Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office, or the UTSC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office.

RESOURCES

Report of the University of Toronto Antisemitism Working Group

Institutional Commitments Dashboard

In Their Own Words: Jewish Doctors, Antisemitism, and the Restrictive Quota System at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine by Joanna Krongold

Reckoning with Historic Antisemitism in Medical Education by Trevor Young, Dean, Temerty Faculty of Medicine

Op-ed: The remedy for controversial speech is more speech by President Meric Gertler

Letter to Governors addressing antisemitism, December 20, 2022 by President Meric Gertler