International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023

January 13, 2023 | Rachelle

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Holocaust Memorial Day, occurs annually on January 27. Many people around the world commemorate this significant date by attending events and programs. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the observance in November 2005. This date was chosen as it marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops in 1945.

The Holocaust was the systematic, deliberate, state-sponsored mass murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime, its racist allies, and collaborators. It took place throughout Europe between 1933 and 1945. The Holocaust is one of the worst war crimes in history.

The short video below is the first of a 7-part series created by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem. It provides a brief yet informative overview. More DVDs and documentaries can be found at many of our library branches.

The purpose of recognizing Holocaust Remembrance Day is not only to remember that the Holocaust occurred but also to educate and inform ourselves about the gross destruction of this genocide. The theme for 2023 is "Home and Belonging." It looks at what these concepts meant to those persecuted during the Holocaust as well as after liberation and its aftermath.

On January 25, from 12 to 1:30 pm, please join our online program dedicated to International Holocaust Remembrance Day featuring Renate Krakauer, an author, speaker, and Holocaust survivor. Renate will be sharing her testimony with us and will be joined by Daniella Lurion from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. If you can't attend, a recording of the event will be available on Crowdcast.

headshot photo of Renate Krakauer with text "live & online" and "toronto public library"
Renate Krakauer

Recommended books

Learning about The Holocaust should not be limited to the month of January. We have a vast selection of books and videos for all ages throughout our library system that you can borrow. Many of these books can be identified by a blue Jewish Mosaic label in our branches.


Night by Elie Wiesel

In this personal narrative, Wiesel describes his horrific experiences in Nazi concentration camps along with his father. Originally written in French in 1958, Night was first published in English in 1960. The Commemorative edition includes speeches, essays and a tribute from former American President, Barack Obama.

The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

999: the extraordinary young women of the first official transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam

"The tragic tale of the first 999 women in Auschwitz concentration camp. On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women, many of them teenagers, boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service and left their parents’ homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Instead, the young women were sent to Auschwitz. Only a few would survive." - Publisher's description

Kiss the Red Stairs

Kiss the Red Stairs: the Holocaust, Once Removed by Marsha Lederman

"A compelling memoir by award-winning journalist Marsha Lederman delves into her parents’ Holocaust stories in the wake of her own divorce, investigating how trauma migrates through generations with empathy, humour, and resilience. Marsha was five when a simple question led to a horrifying answer. Sitting in her kitchen, she asked her mother why she didn’t have any grandparents. Her mother told her the truth: the Holocaust." - Publisher's description

Alias Anna

Alias Anna: a True Story of Outwitting the Nazis by Susan Hood

"An inspirational nonfiction novel-in-verse about Zhanna Arshanskaya, a young Ukrainian Jewish girl using the alias Anna, whose phenomenal piano-playing skills saved her life and the life of her sister Frina during the Holocaust—from award-winning author Susan Hood with Zhanna’s son Greg Dawson." - Publisher's description

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

"This semi-autobiographical classic, tells the story of a Jewish family escaping Germany in the days before the Second World War. Nine-year-old Anna is too busy with her schoolwork and tobogganing to listen to the talk of Hitler. But one day she and her brother Max are rushed out of Germany in alarming secrecy, away from everything they know." Publisher's description

Boy From Buchenwald

Boy From Buchenwald by Robert Waisman

"It was 1945 and Romek Wajsman had just been liberated from Buchenwald, a brutal concentration camp where more than 60,000 people were killed. He was starving, tortured, and had no idea where his family was-let alone if they were alive. Along with 472 other boys, including Elie Wiesel, these teens were dubbed “The Buchenwald Boys.” They were angry at the world for their abuse, and turned to violence: stealing, fighting, and struggling for power. Everything changed for Romek and the other boys when Albert Einstein and Rabbi Herschel Schacter brought them to a home for rehabilitation. Romek Wajsman, now Robbie Waisman, is a humanitarian and Canadian governor general award recipient" - Publisher's description

Many of these titles and more are featured in our Jewish Mosaic Collection, available at the Barbara Frum and Armour Heights branches. This collection highlights English-language materials about Judaism and Jewish culture, for adults, teens and children. 

Further reading

International Holocaust Remembrance Day (2019)