Never Again!

By: Thierry Kagubari

November 6, 2003

Congregation Habonim, Toronto

I am honored and pleased to have the privilege to stand in front of this lovely audience reflect and share with you my experiences in Poland.

Often in life, we have an experience that greatly influences and changes ourselves in different ways. The trip to Poland has been an experience that I shall never forget!

I joined MRH for only two reasons: first of all, it was to learn about the dangers of intolerance through the study of Holocaust, and second as Rwandan-Canadian, understanding the Holocaust helped me to fully grasp and deal with the Rwandan genocide experience.

The trip itself really stands in my mind, we visited many museums, synagogues and Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, Krakow and concentrations camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau including Majdanek and Triblinka. The greatest of all we had a unique opportunity to hear first hand testimonies from Holocaust survivors, which it was greatly overwhelming and disturbing at same time. My strongest impression came from our visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, as I walked in the camp, I stood for moment and I saw the barbed fences, the guard towers and some of the remaining wood huts, everywhere I looked I saw death and torture. I came to realized that really millions of men, women and innocent children walked trough this camp and did not have opportunity to exit or survived the atrocities occurred in that camp, thus their lost their lives here! It was beyond the imagination, but at least I have gained a large awareness of the suffering of the victims who perished in that camp.

I feel privileged that I was part of MRH group and I feel that I have benefited from this experience. I am also grateful that I went to Poland as it gave me the chance to gain a better understanding of what life was like during the Holocaust, it has strengthen our link or bonds to hundreds of years of Jewish life in Europe. Now I understand more clearly the role that we need to play in educating our families and our perspectives communities on the highly relevant and pressing issues on racism and anti-Semitism that occurred and continue to occur in this world we live in.

Over the course of the learning process throughout the Holocaust study, I have met so many young people - very dynamic and so diverse - who believe in the dream of making our world a better place to live by saying " Never Again". This is a dream I have been moved by, and many of us are on the same road in pursuit of this dream.

In other words, "Never Again" is a mission that has become the passion of my life.

The issue of hatred and discrimination still cast a shadow over our society, despite the impressive progress we have made in the past years to overcome the legacy of our troubled past. So to be successful, we have much more work to do and long way to go to bring the promise, a promise most of us have promise to deliver and put in their agenda.

In order to achieve and accomplish our mission, first we must begin with our younger people - because they are our future.

They are our promise!

Let youngsters be part of the solution, because if you want to solve a humanitarian crisis you won't do it by trying to hunt down the masterminds, the architects and bring them to justice like some of our leaders have been advocating; just the same, if you want to eliminate street crime you won't do it by passing a piece of legislation on crime - you need to remove guns on the street to solve the issue. I strongly believe humanitarian crises will only be solved if we place into the heart of every child growing up, the moral strength to never fall into destructive lure of hate. Instead we must teach children to value life, their own and others, and to pass on these values to future generations.

Second, we should try to persuade our leaders to craft a mechanism for international intervention that would allow countries to act in stopping serious humanitarian crises, by using the United Nations, or if that fails, to use other multilateral organizations in the case of genocide, mass murder and ethnic cleansing, since we all do have a moral responsibility to preserve and protect the life of others.

Thanks and may God bless you.


Bart Bonikowski
Trisha Lynn Cowie
Thierry Kagubarispch
A. Siddiqua Chaudhry





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