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Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Hamilton City Hall

Members of Hamilton’s Jewish community will gather at city hall on Thursday evening to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, while acknowledging recent acts of anti-Semitic violence.

The ceremony for Yom HaShoah will be held in council chambers starting at 6 p.m. and will have a moment of silence to recognize last weekend’s shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California that left one woman dead and three people injured.

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Gustavo Rymberg, CEO of the Hamilton Jewish Federation, says the local community’s relationship with the city and Hamilton police is a very positive one.

“Every time that we have any kind of episode, they’re really with us and supporting us, and we know that we have a partner in them to fight anti-semitism and hate crimes. We have an amazing relationship with them.”

In a report of hate crimes in Hamilton in 2018, police say there were fewer overall hate crimes reported but more that targeted people who were Jewish or black.

He adds that this is the second year that the city has allowed the Foundation to use council chambers for the ceremony.

“It’s important to show that the City of Hamilton supports these kinds of events and realizes the importance of remembering the Holocaust,” said Rymberg.

Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson will be in attendance, as well as Chris Cutler, advisor to Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

It’s an event open to all members of the public and Rymberg said it’s important that people learn about what led to the Holocaust as hate crimes against Jewish Canadians are on the rise in recent years.

“I really think that it’s really important for all people to come, different age groups, to come and learn. And listen. And make sure they understand that the Holocaust happened, it’s true, and unfortunately … it can happen any time again.”

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