Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer will share insights next week about her visit to Second World War Holocaust sites in Eastern Europe.
The Torch be Ours: From Compassion to Action, is the title of Veer’s presentation on Wednesday, March 4, at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.
The public is invited to attend the free 7 p.m. talk that will recount Veer’s 10-day journey through Berlin, Krakow and Israel last year as part of a delegation of law enforcement, government and education leaders from across Canada.
The mayor, who toured former concentration camp sites and spoke to a Holocaust survivor, said she wanted to be part of the delegation because its purpose aligned with council’s safety and inclusive community objectives.
“I am deeply concerned about the safety crisis and social divisiveness that’s at times present in our community,” explained Veer in a column she wrote for the Advocate.
The mayor and other leaders returned from the “intensive” tour empowered to counter hate and to promote tolerance of others.
Veer stated she intends to recount what she saw and heard as a way of raising awareness of the dangers of social divisiveness, and the need to “protect all people from political and social tyranny.”
The museum’s executive director, Lorna Johnson, feels this is especially important in these politically turbulent times. By understanding the Holocaust, Johnson added, “we can all take a stand against discrimination.”
Veer’s presentation is happening alongside the travelling exhibition Anne Frank – A History for Today, from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
Sylvie Hepner, a second-generation Holocaust survivor, will also give a free talk about her parent’s wartime experiences this Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m. Hepner’s parents survived the Holocaust by hiding in France.
Hepner encountered discrimination after she emigrated to Canada from France as a child. The former teacher and school principal for the Calgary Board of Education is dedicated to eradicating racism by recounting her family’s story.
The Anne Frank exhibit includes Holocaust-related artworks created by Red Deer high school students, as well as Frank family images, quotations from the Diary of Anne Frank, and a timeline about the rise in persecution of the Jews in Europe. It’s on until March 22.
For more information, call 403-309-8405, or visit www.reddeermuseum.com.