Jewish Federations react to announcement to mandate Holocaust education

For immediate release
November 10, 2023

Edmonton, AB - Jewish Federation of Edmonton and Calgary Jewish Federation applaud the Government of Alberta for taking the step to mandate Holocaust education as part of the province’s new social studies curriculum.

Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides made the announcement last night prior to the Kristallnacht commemoration at Beth Israel Synagogue in Edmonton while surrounded by members of the local Jewish community and leadership from the Calgary Jewish community.  Kristallnacht, also called Night of Broken Glass or November Pogroms, refers to the night of November 9–10, 1938, when the Nazi parties in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia spurred violent mobs to attack Jews and Jewish property including synagogues, Jewish businesses and homes.

“This announcement comes at a time when antisemitism has spiked across Canada and around the world. It is crucial that the next generations learn about how hate surfaces. Whether it’s distortion of Holocaust history or misinformation about Hamas’ terrorist attacks, both are rooted in antisemitism, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the Alberta government is dedicated to fight hate in all its forms,” says Stacey Leavitt-Wright, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton.

“Creating an antiracist society starts at the school age level and Holocaust education is an important tool in helping our students learn about the underlying ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping. What is happening in our society today is an important warning around the need to teach the universal lessons of the Holocaust, and the consequences of bigotry and hate. We applaud the province for helping to ensure that our youth will not only learn from, but keep the memory of the Holocaust alive," says Adam Silver, CEO of Calgary Jewish Federation. 

“I firmly believe we must do everything possible to combat rising antisemitism and educate young Albertans about the horrors of the Holocaust. Ensuring all students learn from one of history’s darkest chapters will help us confront hate and prevent similar atrocities from occurring,” says Minister Nicolaides

“Education is crucial to ensuring our children learn the lessons of the past and are ready to stand up against hate today. Implementing mandatory Holocaust education will create a safer Alberta for all. We want to thank Premier Danielle Smith, Minister Nicolaides, and the Alberta Government for supporting the Jewish community and fighting antisemitism and hate,” says Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). 

Alberta is one of the foremost leaders in Canada to stepping up against hate, especially antisemitism. The adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in September 2022 was the first step. A firm commitment to action is being demonstrated by having Holocaust Education be part of the curricula and ensures this history will never be forgotten.

Calgary Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton have been providing educational opportunities and programs for over 20 years and look forward to contributing to the development and implementation of these new curricula. 
The decision makes Alberta the third province in Canada to introduce mandatory Holocaust education. Last month British Columbia’s Minister of Education announced the inclusion of mandatory Holocaust education in the province’s K-12 curriculum. Ontario took this step in September for its Grade 6 curriculum and supported the development of Unlearn It, a free, bilingual online resource hub for educators and parents to support children in grades 6-8 in learning about antisemitism, how to identify it, and act to address it. 


Media contact

For Jewish Federation of Edmonton:
Tammy Vineberg, APR
Associate Director, Marketing and Communications
780-487-0585, ext. 204

For Calgary Jewish Federation
Danielle Braitman, 
Director, Engagement Programs