Inspiring and empowering Canadians to raise their voices for freedom, democracy and humanity

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) is a non-profit human rightsorganization committed to countering racism and antisemitism and to promoting the principles oftolerance, social justice and Canadian democratic values through advocacy and education.

Actively engaged in fostering the values of respect and acceptance, and in teaching theresponsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society, we are guided by the words of Holocaustsurvivor Simon Wiesenthal: “Freedom is not a gift from heaven. One must fight for it every day.” Ourphilosophy is reflected in our many engaging educational programs, including the following:

Fighting Antisemitism

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center is a world class organization thatfights antisemitism here at home and across the world. Antisemitism rates have increasedprofoundly across Canada with an average of 5 million Canadians holding antisemitic viewsaccording to our 2018 study. To counter this scourge, we track antisemitism, speak to media,work with police and educators and meet with parliamentarians. We fight antisemitism oncampus and in our communities across the country. We hold hate crime seminars, educationalmeetings and a National Conference on the Holocaust. Many of the programs identified beloware examples of the tools we implement to combat antisemitism and promote tolerance, justiceand human rights for everyone.

Tour for Humanity

Our award winning state of the art mobile human rights education centretravels to several provinces bringing Holocaust and human rights education to students of allages, empowering them to raise their voices and take action against hate and intolerance.From big cities to small towns, the Tour for Humanity has already visited 700 schools educatingsome 130,000 students to date. The “bus” is fully booked throughout the year as schools andcommunities – utilize this impressive learning opportunity to expand learning about theHolocaust, universal genocide and most critically, inspiring historical figures (like SimonWiesenthal, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi) who have made the world a betterplace.

Education and Diversity Workshops

FSWC has developed a number of workshops tocounter antisemitism, and promote tolerance and human rights. We host schools at ourtolerance training centre in Toronto and visit schools across Canada to educate and advocate.We work with some 35 boards of education representing 1.5 million students – to discuss cyberhate and bullying; Canada’s tolerance timeline and history; Holocaust and survivor testimony– including antisemitism and discrimination; women’s rights and social equality; Nazipropaganda and extremism and leadership for human rights. Over the last 15 years, we haveeducated approximately 250,000 students.

Compassion to Action

One of the most unique programs in the country, Compassion toAction is an executive educational journey for police chiefs, educators and political leaders tovisit Europe’s concentration camps – learn about places like Auschwitz and Majdanek and explore humanity’s biggest question - what led to the Holocaust? The journey is one of selfdiscovery and aims to break personal biases and ensure Canadian leaders optimize their dailydecisions based on a greater understanding of humanity. The journey ends in Israel wherethese leaders come to understand modern Israel – its successes and challenges. In its10th year, Compassion to Action has now sent over 250 Canadian influencers who come backto their communities invigorated and ready to tackle antisemitism and intolerance – in order tomake their communities better.

Speakers Idol and Freedom Day

Two unique programs that engage students in a celebration of Canada, of human rights and of freedom. Speakers Idol challenges students from all walks of life to make the best speech possible about changing the world through the lens of theHolocaust. Through this program, we are able to educate thousands of students about theHolocaust and antisemitism. Similarly, Freedom Day is an annual celebration of human rights that has brought together some 40,000 students over the last decade to champion human rights, stand up for Canadian values of tolerance and respect and learn from worldwide speakers who have inspired change in their own communities.

Holocaust Education

Fighting Antisemitism: through our programs, we educate about theHolocaust every single day. We do this through Yom Hashoah memorials, workshops and educational content, curriculum development and media. We work with Holocaust survivors and many Canadian leaders to promote further understanding. We write curriculum and have recently published a website of Holocaust testimonies called www.neverforgetme.ca This work is continually expanding as antisemitism increases and further understanding is necessary across the country. Our effort keeps the memory of the Holocaust alive as we fightback Holocaust denial and ensure this terrible tragedy is never forgotten.

Educational Films

Through our in house division and our partnership with Moriah Films, theorganization promotes its Academy Award winning Films that are based on the memory of theHolocaust and global events concerning antisemitism and Israel. Our films are madeaccessible to schools and communities as we screen them widely to ensure these importantissues are never forgotten.

Peace and Respect

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center continues to expands its multi-faithrelationships across the country. We collaborate with faith groups to reinforce Canadiansvalues of peace, tolerance and respect. We recently held the first interfaith Yom Hashoahevent which involved First Nations, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and other faithgroups in a very meaningful ceremony. We regularly speak at mosques, churches and faithbased centres to bring about collaboration and friendship.

Support for Israel

In all this, we celebrate and advocate for the existence, safety and securityof the State of Israel – the homeland of the Jewish people. We attend national andinternational meetings to reinforce our friendship and advocate our affection for the Jewishstate. Here at home, we participate in flag raising celebrations, celebrate Israel’sindependence day with events and organize excursions and learning opportunities to the HolyLand. We defend Israel against antisemitic motivated campaigns that aim to delegitimize,boycott, and defame the nation and place its security in jeopardy.

Spirit of Hope Benefit

Over the years, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center has galvanizedthe Canadian human rights advocacy community through a growing dinner called the Spirit ofHope. Ove the years, the dinner has hosted some 40,000 attendees and over its life span hasraised nearly $50 million for the programs and activities of the organization. Attended byCanada’s elite philanthropists, business leaders, politicians, diplomats, law enforcement,educators and leaders of all multi-faith communities, the dinner event has become the placeto be each spring for those who promote tolerance, justice, freedom and human rights. Over the years, we have hosted world leaders like Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush andShimon Peres. We have hosted Prime Ministers like Stephen Harper, David Cameron, JohnHoward, Ehud Barak and Jose Maria Aznar. The evening has also hosted inspiring andthought provoking journalists, thinkers and writers like Elie Wiesel and Salmon Rushdie,among others. Most recently, the dinner featured Ambassador Nikki Haley and awarded herwith the FSWC Award for Human Rights. This evening has truly become inspiration and iconicunder the FSWC banner.