Ontario group spearheads Canadian campaign to support Auschwitz-Birkenau for upcoming 70th Anniversary

LONDON, ON, Aug. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - What began as a last-minute visit to one of the most solemn places in history has grown into a nationwide campaign supported by many influential groups, including the Canadian and Polish Ambassadors and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. 'Canadians Remember' is a viral, grassroots campaign relying on the goodwill of average Canadians to spread the word of the need for preservation and restoration at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. The former German Nazi Concentration Camp – where over 1.1 million Jews, Roma, Sinti, Poles, Russians and other Europeans were systematically killed during World War II – is reaching out for support of its Perpetual Fund.

"Since visiting Auschwitz, we've learned that a remarkable number of connections to the Camp exist in Canada," says Campaign Director Rob Carter. "Many Canadian success stories began with the small number of people who survived the Holocaust."

Funds raised by Canadians Remember will be presented to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation in 2015 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the camp's liberation. The Foundation's Director, Piotr Cywinski, endorses the Canadian campaign and has pledged to install permanent recognition at Auschwitz, listing Canadians as a 'Pillar of Remembrance' if the campaign can raise 1 million euro. All net funds raised go to the Foundation's Perpetual Fund, created in 2009 to enable the redevelopment of the Museum and the preservation of the historic facility. In 2012, Canada's Federal Government donated $400,000 to the fund. The Canadians Remember team hopes to raise $2.5 million, a figure more in-line with donations pledged by other countries, including Germany, France, Great Britain, and the US.

Each year, well over 1 million visitors from around the world arrive at Auschwitz-Birkenau to view the Museum and Memorial. The remains of the concentration camp stand today as a cemetery and as evidence of the horrors humanity is capable of. The site is also a warning to future generations about the realities of the Holocaust, genocide, and prejudice. 

In addition to Auschwitz survivors like George Brady (widely known for the story of his sister, Hana's Suitcase), the campaign's early supporters include Canada's Ambassador to Poland, Alexandra Bugailiskis, and the Polish Ambassador to Canada, Marcin Bosacki. "We believe that Canadians of all walks of life will recognize the importance of this initiative not only for Auschwitz, but its relevance in today's socio-political environment," says Bosacki.

Canadians Remember will reach out to a wide cross-section of Canadians on Facebook and Twitter, in the hope that the public will take the reigns and spread word of the initiative in the coming months. For only $1, donors can add a photo of themselves to the website's donor wall. In tandem with their social media presence, the campaign is pursuing entertainment influencers like Drake, Geddy Lee, Eugene Levy, and William Shatner, to help spread the message to the public.

By encouraging Canadian citizens to donate just $1 each, the Canadian public can make a gesture of remembrance and support for Holocaust education. The campaign's website and associated social media sites encourage every Canadian to contribute, regardless of age, religious affiliation, or cultural background. The campaign's website, CanadiansRemember.ca, provides the details of the campaign, and accepts donations via PayPal.

Photo opportunity available.

Image with caption: "Canadians Remember Logo (CNW Group/Seed Communications Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140819_C1222_PHOTO_EN_4861.jpg

SOURCE: Canadians Remember

For further information: Erin J. Walker, erin@canadiansremember.ca, 519-645-2999, x232; Drive Creative Group, 205 Horton Street East, London, Ontario N6B 1K7

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