David Chudnovsky reveals the impact of the Nazi extermination campaign on his family and his wife's family

On April 16, the International Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA David Chudnovsky revealed how the Nazis' extermination campaign affected his family and the family of his wife, former Vancouver school trustee Ruth Herman.

Here's the Hansard transcript of David Chudnovky's comments in the B.C. legislature:

"My mother has a photo of her grandparents in their tiny town in Poland. Two old people stand beside a rough shack, wrapped in overcoats and mufflers against the cold and snow. That photo is the last that our family in Canada ever heard from them.

They and their family were rounded up by the Nazis, sent to a concentration camp and murdered.

My wife's father was sent away from home as a teenager, first to Holland and then to England. His parents and sisters stayed behind in Berlin. He kept and later translated the hundreds of letters he got from his family that described in mundane detail their increasing desperation as the noose tightened around the necks of the Jews of Berlin.

Then the letters stopped. They were deported to a concentration camp by the Nazis and murdered.

I tell these stories because it's easy to regard the Holocaust as an abstraction, an outrage too big to think about. But it's really about individual human beings—six million people just like us who were murdered because they happened to be Jewish.

Today is the international day of remembrance for Holocaust survivors. It's important that we celebrate the lives of those who survived and vital that we remember the lives of those who did not survive.

But more important than all of that, we must make sure that such an outrage never happens again—not to Jews because they are Jews, not to Muslims because they are Muslims, not to Christians because they are Christians.

No human being should ever suffer because of their beliefs, and there is never an excuse for racism.

We have an obligation to remember those six million individual Jewish lives and the countless others: the gypsies, the homosexuals, the Catholics, the disabled, the trade unionists, the socialists and the communists—each life as precious as yours or mine, all murdered by the Nazis.

We, every one of us, have a responsibility to make sure that such crimes never happen again—never again.