Yad Vashem chair Dani Dayan has high praise for Canada’s Holocaust education efforts—and criticism for Ukraine, Poland and Russia

The chair of Yad Vashem, Dani Dayan, visited Canada this month and takes on Holocaust distortion by Ukraine, Poland and Russia, among other issues–in a wide-ranging interview with The CJN on June 9, 2023. (Ellin Bessner photo)

Dani Dayan was in Canada last week to honour the outgoing chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, Fran Sonshine, and to attend the opening of the new Toronto Holocaust Museum.

Dayan took the job as chair of Yad Vashem in 2021. After enjoying a high-profile political career as a spokesman for Jewish settlers in Israel, and then as Israel’s Consul General in New York City, Dayan made it his goal to revamp the world’s foremost Holocaust museum, in Jerusalem.

Dayan often says he has to be apolitical, but he hasn’t shied away from speaking his mind since taking office. He’s slammed Russian leaders for Holocaust distortion; criticized Poland’s controversial new law that outlaws discussing Polish crimes committed during the Holocaust; and, most recently, voiced support for a Canadian professor who was harassed while giving a Holocaust lecture in Poland.

Dayan joins The CJN Daily for his only Canadian interview during his recent tour. He praises the new Canadian Holocaust museum, describes what it was like meeting his fellow Argentine countryman Pope Francis, and warns of what he calls “the Disneyland” approach to teaching about the Holocaust.

What we talked about

  • Hear our interview with Prof. Jan Grabowski on Poland’s and Wikipedia’s campaign to deny their role in the Holocaust, on The CJN Daily
  • Read Josh Lieblein’s column on how Jewish leaders pick their battles, in The CJN
  • How Russian President Vladimir Putin falsified Russian Holocaust history while at Yad VaShem in The CJN from 2020


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.