Approximately 550 students, educators and guests gathered for the Horizon Holocaust Symposium at the Humboldt Uniplex Curling Rink on Monday, April 24. The event began with Mr. Amek Adler, Holocaust survivor, sharing his powerful, moving survivor testimony and answering questions from students and staff. The remainder of the day consisted of presentations and workshops on several areas relating to this dark chapter in human history, promoting an acceptance and understanding of different cultures, with the theme of “Interpret the Past, Forge the Future”.
Grade 11 students from across Horizon School Division attended the symposium. Commissioner Heather Kuttai of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) was on-hand to deliver one of the day’s several presentations, as were Mr. David Katzman of the SHRC, Dr. Simmone Horwitz of the University of Saskatchewan, Mr. Larry Mikulcik of Horizon School Division and Elizabeth Banks and Marc-Olivier Cloutier from the Azrieli Foundation.
“The opportunity to witness the direct testimony of a Holocaust survivor is an experience that people will carry with them for a lifetime. It is a great honour to have Mr. Adler visit our school division and share his remarkable story with our students, staff and guests,” said Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education for Horizon School Division. “The lessons of this day, of the need for empathy, kindness, resilience and courage, are critical to a safe and caring, culturally responsive society. We are extremely proud to offer this powerful learning opportunity for our students through this symposium.”
Work to establish the symposium began in 2015, when Mr. Larry Mikulcik, former social studies teacher who now works as Horizon’s Curriculum Coach, was selected by the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation as one of 25 teachers worldwide to participate in the “Auschwitz: The Past is Present” professional development program in Poland. Following the powerful experience of the first Holocaust Symposium in 2015, Horizon’s Board of Education has established this as an annual event for all Grade 11 students.
Sessions on such topics as the events that lead to the Holocaust, an understanding of Judaism and anti-Semitism, life and justice in Israel today, and the importance of courageous conversations provided a critical learning opportunity for Horizon’s students and staff.
Candle lighters at the Symposium.