With Antisemitism on Rise in Canada, Mobile Exhibit Teaches New Brunswick Students About Holocaust
May 12, 2022
Earlier this month, 200 Fredericton High School students in Canada’s New Brunswick province had a unique opportunity to learn about the Holocaust, CBC reported.
The students were taken to a mobile exhibit organized by local woman Jasmine Kranat, an immigrant to Canada concerned about rising antisemitism in her new country.
Data recently published B’nai Brith Canada showed that the number of antisemitic incidents in Canada hit a record-high in 2021 for a sixth-straight year.
This past year’s incidents in Canada included numerous acts of Holocaust trivialization, including comparisons of vaccine mandates to the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis.
“A lot of our family members died in the gas chambers,” Krasnat said. “The comparison is hurtful, absolutely hurtful.”
Feeling she had to do something to counter this bigotry, Kranat — backed by Sgoolai Israel Synagogue in Fredericton — created an interactive multimedia presentation to teach about the Nazi genocide of the Jews during World War II.
Kranat said she aimed to replicate what she saw at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., during a visit as a teenager.
“The memory is with me, even to this day — how emotional I was coming back, how proud I was to be Jewish, how much I wanted everyone else to experience it,” she said. “I wanted everyone else to see the shoes of the people, the hair that was shaved off the women’s heads, the children’s toys, the books, the glasses.”
“I thought if we can’t take people to that, we need to bring it to them,” she added.
The students also spoke with a Holocaust survivor, Fredericton resident Israel Unger, by video link. Unger recalled hiding with his family for two years in the attic of a flour mill in Nazi-occupied Poland.
“His story is so important,” Kranat noted. “We need Holocaust survivors to tell their story because there are Holocaust deniers.”
16-year-old Jayden Chiasson called the exhibit visit a once-in-a-lifetime experience, saying a photo of murdered children pushed into a pit “just really hit me.”
Kranat hopes more schools will participate next year, and her ultimate vision is the establishment of a permanent, dedicated Holocaust museum in New Brunswick.
“We have this opportunity to help New Brunswickers grow,” she said. “We should act on it.”