'You have to educate the youngsters': Holocaust survivor shares story on day of commemoration

When World War II started, Muguette Myers was just a child living in France.

Along with her mother, they evaded German capture and eventually settled in Champlost, south of Paris.

“Everybody in Champlost, 150 people knew we were Jewish, even the children,” Myers said. “No one said anything.”

She says her family was even given fictitious names.

“I had to be like all the other children,” Myers said. “The Germans came from time to time to inspect the registers from the school and the church.”

As the world commemorates on Yom HaShoah, a day of Holocaust remembrance, Myers remembers those she lost.

“I think of course of my aunt, my uncles, my cousins, everyone that perished in the gas chambers,” she said.

Advocates use life stories like Myers to teach younger generations.

“We knew our statistics that 62 per cent of millennials don’t even know that 6 million Jews were killed in the holocaust,” Heidi Berger from the Foundation for Genocide Education, said.

She says her foundation has teamed up with the Quebec government to bring genocide education into the classroom as of next year.

“It’s teaching the students the steps leading to genocide and therefore understanding the steps and developing the critical thinking that students need,” she said.

The Holocaust Museum in Montreal will commemorate this year virtually, but their work to educate continues.

“This is an opportunity to educate people and to learn, to learn about discrimination, racism, anti-Semitism and to take stock of what we can do to prevent this,” Eszter Andor, of the museum, said.

Myers says the message needs to continue to be passed on to younger age groups.

“People are forgetting. We don’t know what could happen,” she said. “Germany was the most enlightened country in Europe with great philosophers, great writers, great composers, and look what happened.”

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