In the wake of recent threats of violence and anti-semitism levelled at our local Jewish community, I attended as Acting Mayor of Oak Bay, with other community leaders, a Kristallnacht ceremony at Congregation Emmanu-El Synagogue in Victoria on the night of November 9, 2022.

We gathered together to honour those who were lost to the Holocaust, a horrific tragedy against the European Jewish community by the Nazis, precipitated by what’s known as Kristallnacht, Night of the Broken Glass, which occurred in Germany in November, 1938.

Federal, provincial and local politicians and other community leaders across the region, including Premier John Horgan, attended to express support of and solidarity with the region’s Jewish community. The ceremony was moving and demonstrated the deep, abiding concerns of Jewish and non-Jewish peoples about the rise of anti-semitism and threats to other minority groups.

We stood together with Rabbi Harry Brechner, to recite the following pledge:

Silence in the face of injustice is to agree with the ones who perpetrate injustices.Never will we stand by to allow expressions of racism, xenophobia or discrimination against any peoples in our community. We will do our utmost to encourage meaningful dialogue and positive action to foster understanding among diverse groups based on mutual respect.”

For more information about the Holocaust, please visit the Victoria Shoah Project’s website at https://victoriashoahproject.ca