Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre
The Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society was founded in 1983 by survivors of the Holocaust. The founders’ goal, realized in 1994 was to leave a permanent legacy in the form of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre devoted to Holocaust based anti-racism education
Private funds were raised to secure approximately 4,000 square feet of space to be built in the expansion of the Jewish Community Centre in the early 1990s. It was a complicated project brought to fruition by many committees but guided particularly by the VHCS Executive Director at the time, Ronnie Tessler, and Board member, Arthur Pouchet. The architects, Peter Rees and Jack Lutsky, and Museum of Anthropology consultant, David Cunningham and, were key participants. The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre opened in the fall of 1994 with the inaugural exhibit Anne Frank in The World: 1929–1945, an internationally acclaimed exhibition produced by the Anne Frank Center USA, New York.
Robert Krell served as founding President of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society from its inception to 1998, when Robbie Waisman assumed the Presidency. During Krell’s tenure, Dr. Roberta Kremer who had earlier consulted to the VHCS on the proposed Centre, was hired to be the Executive Director. Frieda Miller was added to our small but effective staff as Director of Education. Rome Fox came aboard as Coordinator of Volunteers on a part-time basis.
The VHEC Collections were formally created when the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre Society opened the VHEC in 1994, and have continued to grow ever since. Survivors and their families have donated personal items, which are accessible to researchers along with gifts from private collectors, military veterans, community members and academics. Each item carries a unique Holocaust perspective.
The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre stewards Western Canada’s largest collection of Holocaust-related artefacts, Holocaust testimonies and archival documents. It also holds a comprehensive library of books, films, educational resources, as well as rare books and special collections. The VHEC acquires, preserves and makes available these items as documentary evidence of the Holocaust and its effect on individuals, families and society.
The archival holdings of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC) contain materials donated by local survivors, families of victims and eyewitnesses of the Holocaust as well as the institutional records of the VHEC. Types of material that may be found in the Archives include identification documents, correspondence, currency, education materials and certificates, photographs, memorabilia, ephemera, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, travel documents, exhibition and curation records and other items that document pre- and post-Holocaust life, immigration and settlement experiences, internment and the Holocaust.
The VHEC Archives provide a number of finding aids, which can be found here:
The finding aids allow users to explore the archives and search across aggregations at the highest level (i.e. fonds or collection). They supply comprehensive information about the origins, context and materials that make up the individual archival fonds or collections.
The VHEC finding aids are generated in real time with the most up-to-date records in the collection system. These interactive records enable researchers to navigate the Centre's online catalogue and can be downloaded as PDF documents for offline reference. Finding aids are listed by collection or fonds title. Their contents can be explored by clicking and expanding through the hierarchical levels to series, files or items contained within the fonds/collection.
Please check back often as many collections continue to be arranged, described and digitized.
The VHEC also provides Research Guides which introduce users to a particular topic, theme or collection. They include primary and secondary sources from the Archives, Library, Museum and Holocaust Testimony collections as well as recommended resources from other organizations. They are not an exhaustive list of the VHEC Collections holdings. Further independent research is recommended and encouraged. Each research guide is available as a PDF and can be found here:
The Archives are open by appointment Monday through Friday. Researchers may book an appointment in advance of their visit by phoning +1 604-264-0499 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo identification must be presented and registration is required prior to accessing materials in the Archives. No food, drink, pens or indelible pencils are permitted when accessing collections materials. Researchers may be required to wear non-latex or cotton gloves when handling artefacts or fragile documents. Paper and pencils are available on site. Researchers may bring their own laptop computers and those wishing to use digital cameras (or camera equipped mobile phones) are asked to consult the collections staff on duty prior to use.
Collections staff will be available to answer research questions and help users navigate the VHEC's cross-collection database.
Digital copies of materials may be available.