The Holocaust, 1933-1945
Date of Issue
November 9, 1995
Perforation or Dimension
12.5 x 13
Ashton-Potter Canada Limited.
Designed by Glenda Rissman. Designed by Peter D.K. Scott.
As the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War draws to a close, Canada is issuing a single stamp on November 9, 1995 to remember those who experienced the horror of the Holocaust. Over six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust, and memories of the Holocaust still haunt many Jews and their families. How could such a horror occur? Long before the Holocaust took place during the Second World War, there was an almost global attitude of anti-Semitism. Many people held false beliefs about Jews, such as the paranoid idea that Jews were trying to take over the world. Even in Canada during the 1930s, Jews faced persecution; they were not allowed on some beaches, and at least one town posted a sign saying that Jews were not welcome there. Following the end of the First World War, the once-proud nation of Germany was in great decline. Many blamed the Jews for the nation's problems. To speed their rise to power, Hitler and the Nazis ruthlessly exploited and promoted these attitudes. Hitler believed that Jews were the tuberculosis of humanity. "We shall be cured", he stated in his ideological justification of the Holocaust, "if we dispose of the Jew." After he came to power in 1933, Hitler imposed laws specifically aimed at Jewish people. The Nuremberg Laws restricted citizenship to those "of German or kindred blood", excluding Jews whose families had lived in Germany more than 1,600 years. Jews were regularly attacked and terrorized in the streets, without recourse. By September 1939, Jews were denied German citizenship. They could not attend public schools, engage in a business or profession, own land, associate with non-Jews, and were ordered to live in ghettos. Many Jews did try to leave Europe during this time, but they did not get very far, as many other countries, including Canada, were unwilling to receive them - such was the mood of the world. It is unknown exactly when Hitler gave orders to begin the "final solution" - the planned genocide of the Jewish people - but it appears to have coincided with the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Nazis had already begun rounding up Jewish people from all over the Europe, stealing their possessions, and concentrating them in ghettos. The Nazis initially began liquidating Jews by shooting them but soon decided that this was not an efficient enough method of killing, so they devised other methods. The Nazis set up a series of death camps in Poland, and by April 1942, Auschwitz - one of the most notorious death camps - was gassing up to 8,00 people per day. Close to two million died there. In 1944, as the Allies closed in on Germany, the Nazis worked feverishly to destroy traces of their atrocities. They marched thousands of slaves and other prisoners and witnesses to factories in Germany. Tens of thousands died in transit. By the end of the war, over six million Jews were dead. Canada opposed the Nazis by force of arms, and ultimately the Allies won. One can only hope that today, 50 years after the end of the Holocaust, Canadians will remember the Holocaust and learn from its harsh lessons, while mourning the millions of lives lost in its madness.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, Vol. 4, No. 6, 1995, p. 19-21.
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