Tuesday, 28 April 2009
The Honourable Don Morgan Q.C.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
355 Legislative Building
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0B3
Dear Mr. Morgan,
Re: Yom Ha Shoah and ‘Armes for their Defense’
We appreciated your greetings from the Government of Saskatchewan to
the Congregation Agudas Israel Yom Ha Shoah Holocaust Memorial Service
on Sunday, 26 April 2009. You admonished us that “we must never
forget” what happened sixty years ago in Europe when government-trained
attack dogs were used to kill unarmed, innocent men, women, and children
whose only “crime” was being Jewish.
On previous occasions when we asked for your assistance in our fight
to protect our Right to have ‘Armes for their Defense’, you
expressed your support of the licensing scheme of the Firearms Act.
The Holocaust was only possible because the German government could disarm
the population. But Hitler did not invent “gun control”. The
Weimar Republic had passed the Law on Firearms and Ammunition
in 1928 - a law that mandated a license to possess firearms.(1) Thus the
Nazis knew where to look to confiscate all the firearms in Germany.
We believe our Right to have ‘Armes for their Defense’ is
essential to our ability to protect ourselves; not simply from violent
home invaders, but as well from a tyrannical government.(2) In Canada
this statement on armed self-defense against government tyranny seems
to raise eyebrows in some quarters, but as Congregation President David
Katzman reminded us, the Nazis are not the only government that kills
The Jews are not alone in suffering. Modern history has too many examples
of human butchery. One scholar, R. J. Rummel, has estimated that purposeful
state killings of civilians … have taken the lives of 169 million
people in the 20th century … indiscriminate state massacres, forced
labor and concentration camps … imposed and reinforced by the
(The) Holocaust … must remain a call for education for all of
History teaches us that government “gun control” is inherently
evil. And Canada’s unjust, ineffective Firearms Act is
no less evil than the law the Nazis used to aid in their murder of over
six million people.
You also called upon us to remember the quotation attributed to Edmund
Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good
men do nothing.” We fear that the Government of Saskatchewan is
doing too little to oppose the evil of the Firearms Act.
In asking once again for your assistance in fighting the firearms licensing
mandate of the federal government, we would offer another quote from Edmund
Burke, “Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than
ruined by too confident a security.”(4)
Edward B. Hudson DVM, MS
(1) Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews
17 Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, No.
3, 483-535 (2000)
Stephen P. Halbrook
(2) The Canadian Right of ‘Armes for their Defense’
(3) President’s Welcome, Yom Ha Shoah Holocaust Memorial Service,
David Katzman, Congregation Agudas Israel
(4) Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790),
CC: Premier Brad Wall
Saskatchewan Party Members of the Legislative Assembly
Saskatchewan Party President Gary Meschishnick
Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis
402 Skeena Crt. Saskatoon
Saskatchewan S7K 4H2
(306) 242-2379 (306) 230-8929
Yom Ha Shoah
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laGvura (??? ??????? ????? ???????;
"Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), known colloquially
in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah and in English as Holocaust
Remembrance Day, is observed as a day of commemoration for the approximately
six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, as a result of the actions
carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories, and for the Jewish resistance
in that period. In Israel, it is a national memorial day.
'An idea of what hell is all about'
Holocaust survivor speaks to students
BY JANET FRENCH, THE STARPHOENIXAPRIL 25, 2009
Early Friday afternoon, Desirae Witt was grumbling about walking to a
school field trip in a late April snow shower.
Within an hour, she and friends Anastasia Conly and Kathryn Spehar were
dabbing tears from their eyes, feeling awed but guilty about how easily
they are caught up in teenage trivialities such as boyfriends and test
"I think we're too soft, and too spoiled," said Spehar, a 15-year-old
student in Grade 10 at Holy Cross High School.
The girls were among a crowd of 500 students who listened Friday afternoon
to Holocaust survivor David Shentow, who recounted horrifying tales of
Nazi concentration camps.
Six million Jews are believed to have died in the Holocaust.
Sitting on the stage at Congregation Agudas Israel alongside his wife
Rose, the Toronto man matter-of-factly recounted how his family's happy
life in Antwerp, Belgium, degenerated into a three-year-long nightmare.
"We'll just give you an idea of what hell is all about," Shentow
told the packed synagogue.
When the German invasion of Belgium began in the Second World War, Shentow's
family tried to flee to France. It was too late -- the German army was
At first, the occupation wasn't so bad, he said. Jews weren't allowed
on park benches and in street cars, but life carried on. Then, Shentow's
family was packed onto a train and sent to a work camp in France.
Although they rose at 4 a.m., worked 13 hours a day and got little food,
Shentow said prisoners still had their clothes, their suitcases and their
But when Adolf Hitler's SS men showed up, mothers, brothers and uncles
were reduced to animals focused only on survival. Shentow was no longer
his 17-year-old self, but No. 72,585 -- a tattoo that remains on his arm
to this day.
The SS men terrorized the captives with German shepherd dogs trained to
attack and kill, Shentow said. Moments after stepping off a train following
a torturous four-day journey, soldiers made it clear rules of civility
were nowhere to be found at Auschwitz. One persistent man asked to retrieve
his luggage, and soon, a dog was flying at the man's neck, Shentow said.
When a young mother could not get her baby to quiet, a soldier grabbed
it by the legs and threw it against the side of a train car, Shentow said.
Older and infirm Jews were sorted out to be sent directly to the gas chambers.
Smoke emitted from an incinerator around the clock, he said. "The
sweet smell of burning bodies made all the new prisoners vomit."
One day, a prisoner ran into the electric fence surrounding the camp,
seeking a quick death. He was followed by another, and another, Shentow
said, until half a dozen people had committed suicide.
"I envied these people," he said. "They're not suffering
Despite the horrors Shentow endured from 1942 to 1945 in Auschwitz, then
Warsaw, then Krakow, he says he wanted to live, sustained by the hope
he might see his family again.
On April 19, 1945 -- Shentow's 20th birthday -- an American tank rolled
into the Krakow death camp and an American soldier poked his head out.
He threw Shentow a piece of gum and said, "Take it easy, young fellow."
"It's a miracle I survived," he said.
And he had endured it all because he was Jewish.
The three Holy Cross students couldn't stop talking about what they heard.
"We are so lucky to be in Canada, because we can believe whatever
we want to believe and we have that freedom. . . . We take it for granted,"
Conly and Witt said they pictured people they knew playing the roles of
characters in Shentow's tales.
They were amazed he's able to smile and talk about his wife and family
after what he'd been through.
All three thought they aren't strong enough, or too outspoken to have
survived a concentration camp.
"You've got to hope it can never happen again, when you can do something
to stop it," Conly said.
Although he says it pains him to relive these memories, Shentow feels
compelled to tell his story, especially when deniers insist tales from
the Holocaust are exaggerated, or made up.
Following Shentow's speech, Holocaust committee education co-ordinator
Ari Avivi showed students graffiti left on a bench underneath a cushion
during a similar talk several years ago.
It reads, "Heil Hitler."
He told the students not to let Shentow's tales leave them feeling glum,
but to do something about bullying and discrimination surrounding them.
On Sunday, the public is invited to Agudas Israel's annual Holocaust memorial
service, which includes another chance to hear Shentow speak. The service
begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Centre, 715 McKinnon Ave.