Friday, Jan 27, 2023

International Holocaust Remembrance Day


Queen’s University is committed to addressing any form of racism or discrimination, and to ongoing work to promote a safe, healthy, and inclusive community. There is no place at Queen's for antisemitism or for hate or violence of any kind against any member of our community.

Following incidents of antisemitic graffiti on campus last fall, the graffiti was documented and quickly removed. Queen’s reviews every incident reported, and when appropriate, involves the Kingston Police to further investigate.

Shortly thereafter, the Principal’s statement which condemns antisemitism at Queen’s was issued and, the Principal’s Office met with groups including Hillel Queen’s. On November 24, 2022, a Community Care drop in was offered to Jewish students through Yellow House.

The University has supports available on campus through the Human Rights and Equity Office, Faith and Spiritual Life, and Yellow House. The University encourages anyone who has been personally affected by any form of human rights related discrimination or harassment to contact the Human Rights Advisory Services. Students in need of wellness support can contact Student Wellness Services or access self-directed mental health supports, such as Console, a holistic mental health and wellbeing app; Empower Me, which provides supports 24/7 from countries around the world; or Good2Talk, a 24/7 support line for post-secondary students. The University is also planning an on-campus event for January 27 to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Antisemitism: Past and Present

The Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words – Supreme Court of Canada

The Pyramid of Hate visually captures how isolated attitudes, words and behaviours form the foundation that makes extreme violence and hate possible. When applying the Pyramid of Hate to antisemitism, we can understand that the holocaust did not happen in a vacuum but was instead dependent on the support received from the behaviours described in the lower levels of the pyramid.

Pyramid of Hate.
©2018 Anti-Defamation League | View a Text-Based Version.

The Pyramid of Hate and Antisemitism

The examples of past and present antisemitism below correspond with each of the levels of the Pyramid of Hate.

Biased Attitudes

  • In a 2021 survey of North American students, one third of respondents between Grades 6 and 12 said they don't know what to think about the Holocaust, think the number of Jews who died has been exaggerated, or question whether the Holocaust even happened.1
  • 20% of Americans polled in a 2022 study by the Anti-Defamation League agreed that Jews have “too much power”2

Acts of Bias

  • In October 2022, antisemitic symbols appeared at a residence on Queen’s campus.
  • In 2021 and 2022, synagogues in Toronto, Kitchener, and Guelph were vandalized with antisemitic graffiti.
  • According to Statistics Canada, police-reported hate crimes against the Jewish population rose slightly in 2020 and remained the second most targeted group of hate crimes (after Black populations). Jewish populations were the most targeted group for religious-based hate crimes.3
  • Social media conspiracy posts blaming Jewish communities for spreading the COVID-19 virus proliferated.4
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, some anti-vaccine protestors in Canada equated their experience to Jews during the Holocaust5; anti-vaccine protestors also wore yellow stars while other protestors waved Nazi flags.6

Systemic Discrimination

  • Canada developed and enforced restrictive antisemitic immigration policies designed to keep Jewish refugees from coming here. Between 1933 and 1948, less than 5,000 Jewish refugees were allowed into Canada – the smallest number of any Allied nation.7
  • Between the 1920s and 1960s, some universities in Canada enforced quotas for the number of Jewish students admitted; historical records show that in the 1940s, Queen’s was concerned about the increase of Jewish students at the university.8

Bias-Motivated Violence

  • Christie Pits Riots: In August 1933, clashes erupted between Nazi sympathizers displaying swastikas during a baseball game and Jewish and Italian players at a park in Toronto, revealing xenophobic attitudes towards Jews and non-Anglo immigrants.9 
  • In August 2017, white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
  • In October 2018, a gunman killed 11 worshippers at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


  • The Holocaust: the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators from 1933 to 1945.  In November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.


Antisemitism is sometimes considered the “canary in the coalmine”10 for hate crimes in general11. In times of social, economic and political upheaval, narratives scapegoating marginalized groups often include attacks on Jews using antisemitic tropes.12 In addition, antisemitic acts are sometimes dismissed because of the myth of disproportionate Jewish economic and political power.13

Standing in solidarity with all oppressed communities is integral to confronting and tackling all forms of hate.

Learning, Giving Help, Getting Help

Much has been written about the role of the bystander during the Holocaust. Individuals, institutions, and governments claimed that they were not responsible because they were not involved. 

Bystander intervention can be an effective way to stop violence and harassment by getting involved indirectly or directly. Right to Be uses its 5Ds method in Bystander Intervention Training (Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay and Direct). Four of the five Ds are indirect methods of intervention.

If you see hateful graffiti or hate symbols on campus

 Immediately contact Campus Security and Emergency Services at (613) 533-6111.

 Record as much information as possible.

 Speak to on-campus supports who can offer advice: Human Rights and Equity Office, Campus Security or Student Wellness Services.

 If you prefer to anonymously report an incident of hate, you can use the IN-SIGHT submission form.


 There may be certain cases where you should explore options in Kingston community such as Kingston Police at: (613) 549-4660.