Canadian Holocaust resources

Canada has invested significantly in Holocaust education, remembrance and research. In conjunction with being the Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2013/2014, Canada supported several new initiatives to increase understanding of the Holocaust across the country.

On this page:

Education

Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education
In October 2013, Scott Masters of Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto, Ontario was selected as the winner of the Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education and awarded $5000 to support Holocaust education at his school.

Community Historical Recognition Program – Jewish-Canadian Projects
The Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) funded Jewish community-based commemorative and educational projects. The projects recognized wartime measures and immigration restrictions in place during World War II.

Canada’s Baseline Study
In 2008, Canada prepared a baseline study as part of its application for membership in the IHRA. The study outlines the current status of Holocaust education in Canadian schools and provides information on initiatives in the areas of Holocaust remembrance and research.

Museums

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
The Canadian Museum of Immigration is located at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It includes an online gallery of stories from Jewish war orphans who came to Canada following the end of the Second World War.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is scheduled to open in Winnipeg in 2014. There will be 12 permanent galleries, covering a wide range of issues, including human rights, mass atrocities and the Holocaust.

Canadian War Museum
The Canadian War Museum is home to an extensive permanent exhibition of art, artefacts and photographs. The museum’s “Forged in Fire” gallery includes information on Canada’s role in liberating Bergen-Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp.

Virtual Museum of Canada
The Virtual Museum of Canada contains over 600 virtual exhibits from institutions across Canada. It includes exhibits about the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Remembrance

National days

Raoul Wallenberg Day – January 17
In 2002, Parliament declared January 17 as Raoul Wallenberg Day, which is celebrated annually on the anniversary of his disappearance.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27
In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as the International Day of Commemoration. This day commemorates the anniversary of the liberation by Soviet forces of over 7,000 prisoners from the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

Yom HaShoah – April/May
Yom HaShoah is Israel’s day of commemoration of the Holocaust. It is recognized in countries around the world. It is celebrated every spring on the 27th day of the Hebrew Calendar.

Travelling exhibitions

Starting in 2013, two exhibitions examining Canada’s actions toward Jews during the Holocaust were displayed in communities across Canada. The exhibits raise awareness of this dark chapter in Canada’s history.

Raoul Wallenberg Centenary

Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat. He personally saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from extermination during the Holocaust. In 1985, he was made Canada’s first honorary citizen. In honour of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Canada supported the following initiatives:

  • Commemorative Stamp
    On January 17, 2013, Canada Post released a stamp in recognition of Raoul Wallenberg’s courage. The stamp also commemorates the 69th anniversary of his disappearance.
  • To Me There's no Other Choice – Travelling Exhibition
    The Canadian War Museum and the Toronto Reference Library, in cooperation with the Swedish Embassy in Ottawa, hosted the exhibition “To Me There’s No Other Choice.”

National monuments

National Holocaust Monument
The National Holocaust Monument will be constructed in the National Capital Region. It will serve as a permanent reminder for Canadians of all faiths to stand together against intolerance and hatred.

Wheel of Conscience
The Wheel of Conscience monument is a tribute to the 937 Jewish passengers of the M.S. St. Louis. They were refused entry into Canada in 1939 and many subsequently died. The monument is located at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Commemoration

International poster competition
Canada and international partners sponsored a poster competition. The winning posters were unveiled on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2014.

Research

2013 Academic Conference
An international academic conference took place October 6–7, 2013, at the University of Toronto. The theme of the conference was New Scholars, New Research on the Holocaust. It coincided with meetings of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in Toronto.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
The Canadian Heritage Information Network will expand its publically accessible Artefacts Canada website to allow Canadian museums and art galleries to include more information on the provenance of objects. It is an important tool for researchers and heirs around the world who are trying to identify and locate artworks and other cultural material lost during the Holocaust.

Holocaust-related holdings at Library and Archives Canada 
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has developed a publicly accessible thematic guide that provides a list of Holocaust-related material in its holdings. The Research Guide to Holocaust-related Holdings at LAC provides an introduction to material from both archival and published sources that relates to a range of events and decisions before, during and after the Second World War. The guide includes both government and personal documents.

Nazi Germany, Canadian Responses: Confronting Antisemitism in the Shadow of War
Prominent scholars consider Canada’s immigration policies and anti-Semitism during the Holocaust in this recent collection of essays. It was published in May 2012 with funding assistance from CIC.

National Gallery of Canada Provenance Research
The National Gallery is committed to researching works in its collection that were purchased, sold or created during the Nazi period and have an unknown provenance.

Max Stern Art Restitution Project
The Max Stern Art Restitution Project is led by Concordia University. Acting on behalf of the executors of the estate of Max Stern, it seeks the restitution of Stern’s art holdings that were confiscated or sold by force in Nazi Germany. It is one of the most recognized art restitution efforts in the world.

Survivor testimonies

In the 1980s, a number of groups and organizations in Canada began to record the testimonies of Holocaust survivors for future generations. The Government is working with the community to find ways to preserve survivor testimony as an invaluable tool for Holocaust education.

Recorded collections

The Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program – The Azrieli Foundation
The collection is made up of 12 Azrieli Series Short Films. A portion of each film also shows the authors reading an excerpt from their published memoir, combined with animation and narration, to bring the accounts to life. The films are supporting material for the Azrieli Series of Survivor Memoirs.

Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives (formerly Canadian Jewish Congress Charities National Archive)
The collection includes 75 interviews on VHS and audio tapes and is currently being digitized. At present, the collection is only accessible to researchers.

Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada
The collection, located in Winnipeg, includes 15 audio testimonies from the 1970s and 49 video testimonies from the late 1980s. The majority of the collection is available to the public through the Centre.

Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Foundation (formerly Kleinmann Family Foundation)
The collection, located in Montréal, consists of approximately 25 interviews. The interviews address experiences during the Shoah. Access to the testimony is available on request, and a limited number of interviews are available online.

Holocaust and Other Persecutions Against Jews Working Group – Life Stories Project from Concordia University
The collection of 50 new digital interviews with Holocaust survivors is part of a broader project examining memories of mass violence and displacement. Some of the testimonies are currently available on the Citizenshift website. Additional testimonies will be available in the future.

March of the Living
The collection includes memories of Holocaust survivors recorded at various Holocaust sites across Europe. The first recordings were filmed in 1988, and new recordings are filmed every year. Selected portions are available online.

Oral History Archive of Holocaust Survivors – McMaster University
McMaster University provides access to the University of Southern California Shoah Institute’s Visual History Archive collection. The collection contains nearly 52,000 survivor testimonies, including almost 3,000 from Canadians. The collection can be accessed by McMaster students and staff through the University Library.

Living testimonies – McGill University
The collection consists of 115 testimonies, which are being updated from analog to digital. Once digitized, they will be accessible through the McGill University library.

Montréal Holocaust Museum
The collection consists of 515 videos. The collection was initiated in 1989, and the recording of new testimonies is ongoing. A small number of videos are available to the public through the website and Citizenshift. Researchers, students and teachers may request further access.

Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre
The collection contains approximately 400 testimonies. The testimonies are available to the public by appointment and can accessed through the library and resource centre located in Toronto.

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre
The collection contains approximately 200 digital and analog recordings. The collection was initiated in 1981, and testimonies continue to be recorded. The majority of the testimonies are available in person to researchers for research or education. A number of the testimonies are also available at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonials at Yale University.

Written collections

The Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program – The Azrieli Foundation
The collection of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs includes 35 published books — 22 in English and 17 in French — as well as over 170 unpublished memoirs. The published books are available free of charge to libraries and educational institutions or can be purchased from the website.

Memoirs of Holocaust Survivors in Canada – Concordia University
The collection consists of approximately 50 unpublished memoirs written by Montreal-based Holocaust survivors between 1986 and 2005. The texts are held at Concordia University in Montréal. The memoirs are also available online.

Holocaust Literature Research Institute
The collection is located at the University of Western Ontario. It includes 315 books with specific links to Canada in approximately 30 languages. It also includes an online catalogue of annotated bibliographies of survivor testimonials, with more than 3,600 entries searchable by 25 categories.

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