'That was the last time I saw my mother': Vancouver-based survivor opens up on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Marie Doduck was just five years old when she says the Nazis tore her family apart.
"Memories keep coming up," said the 88-year-old.
No memory more heart-breaking than a final goodbye she'll never forget.
"I saw my mother at the end of the street and my brother Albert," said Doduck. "As I was going to yell 'mama,' the woman put her hand across my mouth to stop me from yelling 'mama' and carried me away. That was the last time I saw my mother."
She says she hid with non-Jewish, Nazi-resisting families in Nazi-occupied Belgium for more than three years. She reunited with her surviving brothers and sisters at the end of the war. In 1948, she immigrated to Vancouver.
Nina Krieger is the executive director of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.
"International Holocaust Remembrance Day is taking place this year in a world where we've witnessed increased antisemitism, racism and xenophobia," said Krieger. "The urgency around learning from the Holocaust and learning from eyewitnesses when there's few precious survivors around us is really as important as ever."
A 2019 study titled “Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness in Canada” found 48 per cent of Canadians believe something similar to the tragic event could happen in other Western democracies today.
According to the survey, 22 per cent of millennials said they hadn’t or weren’t sure if they had heard of the Holocaust.
"So today is really about remembering, but remembering with purpose," added Krieger.
Doduck went on to have a large family and shares her story publicly at schools across Metro Vancouver. She recently released a memoir titled "A Child Unspoken." Through her journey, she says she's learned a valuable lesson.
"Hate is not a thing to live with," said Doduck. "Hate doesn't belong in humanity."
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