75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht & Remembrance Day 2013 Marred by Swastika Ignorance in Cornwall Ontario by UCDSB & Premier Wynne by Jamie Gilcig

75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht & Remembrance Day 2013 Marred by Swastika Ignorance in Cornwall Ontario by UCDSB & Premier Wynne by Jamie Gilcig

remembrance-poppy

CFN – Remembrance Day has a lot of meaning for millions around the world.   2013 marks the 75th Anniversary of  The Night of Broken Glass or Kristallnacht as it’s known.

At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers.  Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. Martin Gilbert writes that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from the foreign journalists working in Germany sent shock waves around the world. 

Jews_forced_to_march_with_star_Kristallnacht

(Jews forced to march during Kristallnacht)

The Times wrote at the time:

“No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday. 

 

In these days of  video games and rampant violence on television people lose sight of the reality of something like this happening.  Imagine sitting in your home and the doors being ripped down and your home ransacked and family hurt or killed; taken away with you not sure if they were coming back?

Burning_Synagoge_Kristallnacht_1938Going to work and seeing it destroyed?    Being told that because of your religion or colour of your skin, or language that you speak that you can’t work in your field no matter how much expertise or experience you have; even if it means a community suffers by your absence?   This was the insanity of Nazi Germany during the years prior and during World War 2.

Magdeburg, zerstörtes jüdisches GeschäftThere are so few survivors left and after all do young people really listen to older people any more now than they did 75 years ago?

What people don’t realize is that because of little things turning to huge things is why so many wear a poppy and so many sacrificed their lives in war after war.

Here in the city I am writing from, Cornwall Ontario, we are now in the midst of a scandal related to Swastikas in a local high school.   It’s not that a bit of graffiti is the issue.  It happens; but it’s been the reactions from the school principal not taking prompt action; to the head of the Upper Canada District School Board threatening this writer; to the Premier of Ontario’s office refusing to issue a statement directly related to this incident on a day that she issued a press release about remembering victims of the Holocaust.

What we know about our incident here in Cornwall Ontario is that a person whose family were survivors of the Holocaust, while attending the school for an activity at night noticed Swastikas in the school bathrooms.  A call was made to CCVS Principal Patricia Brown, and then another one the following week, followed by a visit the week after.  Each time the victim said the principal said the images would be taken care of.  After the fourth week CFN was called for assistance.

We went to the school the following morning  and as we entered were met by a Vice Principal who grabbed two maintenance staff and escorted us to the washroom where the Swastikas were both still in place.   After a chat in the VP’s office which included both staff stating that they had never been asked to remove the graffiti I returned to my office and tried to contact the Principal (who was not in at the early morning we visited) and then the head of the school board who did not return my call until the following Monday when my story was released.    The VP called back a few hours later relating that the Swastikas were gone thus further indicting Principal Brown.

David K Thomas

David K Thomas, Director of Education was hostile from the start of the call questioning my ethics and agenda. He then went on to threaten to report me to journalistic agencies and then finally to bring in the lawyers.    After I explained to him that besides being a journalist I created what became the 2003 Oscar Nominated Holocaust Feature Documentary (we lost to Michael Moore) Prisoner of Paradise and that perhaps he should do some fact checking he did simmer down.

He stated that he had not talked to Principal Brown as of yet (Monday) (the event happened on a Friday) Yet the principal was at the School Monday, and Tuesday.   She clearly had not been suspended nor fired.

After further speaking with Superintendent Valerie Allen who refused to supply a printed statement from the School board I was informed there would be a day of action with a holocaust survivor speaking to the students and faculty.    Why I asked?   The school was very clean and certainly not filled with Graffiti.    The only issue was Principal Brown’s judgement and then Mr. Thomas’s behavior.

That led to conversations with Trustee David MacDonald who while totally getting it; still stood by the company line of seeming to protecting the principal instead of the students who were exposed to a hate symbol for nearly one month in multiple locations.   As a matter of fact it was confirmed that after our story there was a rash of Swastikas put up around the school and nobody had been apprehended in spite of close circuit cameras at the school.

The UCDSB finally issued a statement in print, but it completely ignored Principal Brown.

Kathleen_WynneI asked Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for a statement on this incident via her office including a link to our original story which was picked up in print and online via The Jewish Tribune.

Lauren Ramey from the Ministry of Education sent along the following:

Zita passed along your media request to our office. I can tell you that, while we can’t speak to the specifics of this incident, the government has engaged schools, students, parents and the communities to improve school climate. Our Safe Schools Strategy requires every school board employee, including principals, to play a role in promoting positive student behaviour to improve school climate.

We expect our education leaders to work with students and parents on any concerns they may have. School safety has been a priority for this government from the beginning, and that’s why all school boards must have policies and procedures on bullying prevention, antiracism and equity. It’s incumbent on each and every one of us to make sure that every student to feels safe, included and welcome in Ontario’s schools.

Let me know if you need anything further.

Well I sent Lauren & Zita Astravas back two emails, both clearly requesting a comment about this specific incident dated nearly two weeks apart and have not had back a single word.

I mean if the washroom had had the term “DYKE” plastered on the wall and a gay adult had called the principal would there have been faster action?

There is no justifiable reason for the swastikas being on school walls for nearly a month after three notifications; none.

Our Premier has specifically commented on issues such as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, so why not a principal in this day and age not removing a hate symbol?

And embarrassingly  not one of the large media chains in Cornwall Ontario, the Sun, Corus, or Cogeco, or Trans Con covered this story even though none of the facts have been disputed.

The Cornwall Police Service today confirmed that the school board has not contacted them about a single Swastika issue in 2013 and that they have read our coverage and is the only reason they are aware of what’s happened.

And that is how hate grows and starts; when good people stand down.   If the school board had taken swift clear action; even if simply having an apology from the Principal and maybe a short term off and some educational and sensitivity training it would have sent a message to the school students and family that racism and hate are not tolerated.

And for the Ministry of Education and the Premier’s office to take no action that sanctions all of the incident right down to whomever defaced the school in the first place, and second and subsequent times is again tacitly ignoring an issue that surely can only lead to hate being more acceptable.

Canada has a bad enough track record when it comes to the Holocaust as escapees were turned away from landing in Canada.   Those few who were able to escape (The Nazi’s refused Jews to leave Europe at a certain point) were forced to find other sanctuary during the war.

Cornwall itself has a murky history as most Jewish families have left.   From having its first official Mayor, Aaron Horowitz and a vibrant commercial marketplace on Pitt Street with many Jewish businesses and factories that employed thousands to a few stores and services today.    The home of Nathan Phillips, great Toronto Mayor, directly across the street of the school, is now a health centre.  The former synagogue is now a private home that was celebrated on a Christmas tour a few years ago.

And of course it’s not just local here in Cornwall.  Intolerance and ignorance in this day of smart phones and social media is rampant.

The daughter of the late veteran John Gervais  describes how after a life of sacrifice her father and family  were told in a hospital in Gatineau Quebec (Directly across from Ottawa)  to speak French instead of English.   Her father passed away not long after the incident.    Surely when we stand down in silence to these types of actions we all suffer.

Hate doesn’t start off with violence.  Hate starts off with Indifference.   And eventually leads to sad days in the rain saluting brave soldiers who died because we didn’t stop mole hills from becoming grave markers in foreign lands or at home.

For those who have lost and sacrificed we salute you; but if we really care about our soldiers and for them to never have to be mourned prematurely we need to stop hate in its tracks; early and often.

 

And we need to take care of our brave soldiers after they have given their bones and body in our names;especially our wounded who have lives that should be lived out in honour and security after the sacrifices that they and their families have made.

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69 Comments on "75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht & Remembrance Day 2013 Marred by Swastika Ignorance in Cornwall Ontario by UCDSB & Premier Wynne by Jamie Gilcig"

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jules
Guest
Hailey the army general that I was looking for who exposed the overthrow of Roosevelt was Major General Smedley Butler. Go on youtube.com and type in the following: The Fascist Plot to Overthrow FDR (Full Length) There are others there for you to look at as well. If you think that this cannot happen here think again. At the back on the wall in congress you will see two brown or black colored sticks known as fasci and I used to see that on the old ten cents of the US. Prescott Bush was one of the head money laundering… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest

The act of forgiveness does not include self induced amnesia. We move on and we remember to honor those who fell so that we could continue. To never take freedom for granted is to remember the price that was paid for us to have the freedom that we enjoy. Fortunately, very few believe that burying your head in the sand is of benefit.

bella-b
Guest
How long is long enough Hailey? Does the amount of time coincide with the amount of guilt the offending party feels? Is it determined by the amount of physical pain inflicted, or how long the victims live after the fact? How long do your neighbours get to “cry wolf” before you have had enough? And tell me Hailey, why are you the time barometer? Why do you determine how long is long enough and who or who not doesn’t deserve respect? What have you done to make sure none of this proud history you want to forget won’t ever be… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member
Admin Can we get somewhat philosophical on this topic? Jules In the English language, and I assume in many other languages we, have what is called a descriptive and a prescriptive rule. A descriptive rule would explain how a situation was carried out and often with an explanation or evidence to support the, word, idea or belief. A prescriptive rule defines how we should use or view the word, idea or belief and all too often based on the writers or rule makers concept and understanding. What I read in both the story and the comments made by many are… Read more »
Reg Coffey
Member
Art and freedom of expression are a matter of community standards. Fortunately many country’s in the world have decided that certain forms of expression are considered hate based crimes. The use of the swastika is one of those unacceptable forms of expression. The school board has a zero tolerance policy for religious intolerance and hate based forms of expression. The school board did not follow their own policy. It’s that simple. Trying to rationalize not reacting to swastika graffiti may be considered a form of Holocaust denial. Do you not respect the millions of people who died during WWII because… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member
Admin Your monster situation is so true they should be eliminated at the very least. Carrying the hatred means they are still in control victory is theirs. That being said if anyone messes around with my children. The rabbit hole goes very deep and only for the ones that committed the crime, I would not use my situation to bring my opinions and hatred upon others. Yes justice does know time, what doesn’t know time is emotion and what is referred to as, and for simplicity of the explanation, the seven deadly sins. Time itself was created by man as… Read more »
jules
Guest
Hailey there is something that one should never forget and that is that no country should ever let its guard down for one minute and for a people not to think that it can’t happen here what happened in Germany and Europe in general and Hitler was so mighty powerful that he could have controlled the entire world. What happened to the Jewish people and some others could happen to any of us even till today in our 21st century. Nobody is immune to the insanity that goes on in the world. What affects one part of the world affects… Read more »
jules
Guest
The school board as well as the principal at CCVS is very responsible for what goes on in their schools in Cornwall. I will tell you all of one incident that happened back in the late 1960’s era at CCVS. We were all called to go to the gym and when we got there it was that Baptist group from the US who was there to preach or something – that was a mighty long time ago. These people belonged to the Billy Graham society. To make a long story short the man at the microphone said that Canada was… Read more »
HAiley Brown
Guest
Admin I harbor no resentment for anyone or anything except poverty, pain and pestilence. The later as it applies to weakness of the individual and hiding behind it as well as infecting others in the name of apathy. My only concern here is the lack of understanding by most people. As soon as anyone sees the infamous emblem automatically it relates to that era in history. Why? because people like yourself make it happen. You promote it as being negative and pertaining to the demise of many Jews. Tell a kid it’s bad or dangerous and what happens. The emblem… Read more »
Furtz
Member

Holy Jumpin’ Haily! For the last seventy some years the swastika has only represented one thing. How difficult is that to understand? The holocaust is still a pretty recent historical event. Maybe in your little mind, people should just consider it to just be a symbol like the Fleur de Lis or something like that, but in the eyes of the world it isn’t, and it won’t be for years to come. It represents one of the most horrible periods of history in modern times. Got that?

hailey Brown
Member
Thank You furtz re-enforcing my point…..The very fact we still harbor what happened 75 years ago proves we can only harbor resentment and it only seems to be encouraged by one people and supported by people hoping to ride the wave to a political sanctuary.. I would think irradiating a country with not one but two atomic blasts would have more residual effects yet nobody ever mentions that. How many troops were lost on the premise of WMD as well as civilians, of which I might add WMD, did not exist or could not be proven, how many people are… Read more »
Furtz
Member

@ Hailey. We sort of agree on a couple of things. The nuking of Japan should never be forgotten, or repeated.
And the fact that Bush, Cheney, Blaire, and all those responsible for the destruction of Iraq have not been tried at The World Court for crimes against humanity is a crime in itself.

hailey Brown
Member
Thank You Furtz!!! We have to really understand more than the history that we are told to believe. The number 6 million applies to how many are missing. It never defines if that means displaced, relocated or anything else. Some left and want absolutely nothing to do with Europe anymore, or found a better way else where. People automatically relate it to the camps. A close friend’s father was in the war on the German side, he didn’t want to but there was no choice. He said one evening at dinner, that if there was anything he could go back… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest

@Hailey Brown ….it is not about harbouring resentment it is about acknowledging the truth concerning man’s inhumanity towards others and in doing so striving to ensure that history stands a better chance of not repeating itself. You have opinions but you seem to lack knowledge on this topic which render them rather without merit.

hailey Brown
Member
David Rather an unnecessary statement but I respect your opinion. If I may use your earlier comment addressed to me and turn it upon yourself. I think you are a little thick. I believe if you read through my posts there is no place I insulted anyone until now. Who are you to comment on my knowledge and experience and quality of my information? Tell me how many were killed or displaced in the Spanish inquisition. How many Asians were annihilated or displaced as a result of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, What about Koreans and Vietnamese how many during the so… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest
@HAILEY……With regards to my commenting on the quality of your information Hailey, I generally have only commented on opinions that you have shared here. As to your knowledge and experience, your knowledge is evident in your writings and your general attitude speaks to your experience in conjunction with the former. While I may not agree with your opinion I do support your right to have one. Mankind, Hailey, has a rather lengthy history of atrocities. However, I could not disagree with you more regarding your apparent understanding of the atrocities which occurred not only at Auschwitz but all the other… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member
Again david I find fault in what you say, Your conclusion Perhaps we have it right, perhaps remembering why we are free today is the deterrent that will keep us from risking it tomorrow. Time will tell Hailey. Does not qualify your premises It most certainly is not a lust to keep it driven in people’s faces Hailey, and your statement that “we all know what happened” is indeed correct, primarily due to Remembrance Day Services around the globe The Rwandan genocide in 1994 was indeed horrific. 500,000 to 1,000,000 were slaughtered brutally over a 100 day period. Two public… Read more »
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