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50 - 950 West 41st Ave,
Vancouver BC, V5Z 2N7 Canada

P: 604.264.0499
F: 604.264.0497
E: info@vhec.org

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travelling
 

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Alfred Bader’s internment shirt from Camp I (Île-aux-Noix, Quebec), circa 1940-1941.
– Courtesy Alfred Bader
© Photo by Jessica Bushey


"Enemy Aliens": The Internment of Jewish Refugees in Canada, 1940-1943

The VHEC's acclaimed travelling exhibit explores a little-known story of Canada's wartime internment of nearly 2,300 Jewish refugees. During the Second World War, Canada’s discriminatory immigration policies denied entry to those seeking refuge from Nazi Germany, especially Jews. Young men, mostly between the ages of 16 and 20, had found asylum in Britain only to be arrested and interned under suspicion of being spies. In 1940, Canada agreed to Britain’s request to aid the war effort by taking in these prisoners of war or “enemy aliens”. Through testimony and artefacts, this exhibit highlights a little-known chapter of Canadian history. The refugees’ journey from fascist Europe to refuge in England, imprisonment in Britain and Canada and their eventual release is a bittersweet tale of survival during the Holocaust. The bilingual travelling exhibit features multimedia elements, as well as school program and teaching material.

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More than just games:
canada & the 1936 olympics

The 1936 Olympics were held in Nazi Germany at a critical juncture between the building of the racial state and the Holocaust. The world faced a decision about whether to participate in these controversial Games. Canadian athletes, particularly young Jewish athletes, were caught in a dilemma. Should they follow their dreams to the world’s greatest athletic competition or should they boycott the 1936 Olympics?

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Framing Bodies:
Sport & Spectacle in Nazi Germany

FRAMING BODIES: Sport and Spectacle in Nazi Germany explores the relationship between athletics, politics and visual culture during the 1936 Games.

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In Defiance:
Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust

Although many early histories of the Holocaust portrayed Jews as passive victims, recent accounts have contributed to a more nuanced representation of Jews as active resisters.
Jewish resistance assumed many forms and took place at the various moments and settings of the Holocaust. As Nazi power expanded across Europe, Jews responded to changing circumstances. They participated in resistance activities in ghettos, in slave labour camps, and even in concentration and extermination camps.
In addition to armed resistance, Jews acted collectively and individually in a variety of ways. They attempted to survive and help others survive in the face of annihilation. They tried to perpetuate their culture in the face of attempted erasure and struggled to maintain their dignity in the face of dehumanization.
The significance of such acts of defiance must be considered against the obstacles that made resistance to the Nazis both difficult and dangerous. Given the conditions Jews faced, perhaps what is surprising is not how little resistance there was, but rather how much.
The five individuals profiled in this exhibit demonstrate the range of responses to Nazism and the many ways in which Jews sought to maintain their humanity.

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nuremberg:
Justice in the aftermath of the holocaust

Over 60 years after the Allies established the International Military Tribunal to try Nazi leaders for their roles in the systematic murder of millions of people during the Holocaust and Second World War, the Nuremberg trials stand as a watershed moment in the ongoing pursuit of international justice. The United Nations’ declarations on genocide and human rights, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the International Criminal Court at the Hague all reflect principles established at Nuremberg. The Nuremberg exhibit traces the history of the trials, highlighting their accomplishments, controversies and legacies, and considers human rights issues that demand response and resolve from the international community today.

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Vancouver's Schindler Jews

Vancouver's Schindler Jews presents the story of Oskar Schindler who rescued over 1000 Jews during the Holocaust, through the unique perspective of four Schindlerjuden who later immigrated to Canada and found new lives in Vancouver. The exhibit is based on the personal narratives, documents, photographs and artefacts of the four Schindler survivors - Else Dunner, Bernard Goldberg and Esther and Leon Kaufman - ensuring that their unique voices will not be lost.

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Janus Korczak and the Children
of the Warsaw Ghetto

Janusz Korczak was one of the world’s first advocates of children’s rights. On August 6, 1942 he became a heroic figure. On that day, this Polish-Jewish doctor, writer and educator was forced to gather together the two hundred orphans under his care in the Warsaw Ghetto and report for deportation. Refusing all offers for his own rescue, he led them with quiet dignity to the tram that would take them to the Treblinka extermination camp, where he perished with them.

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Shanghai: A Refuge During the Holocaust

Shanghai: A Refuge During the Holocaust chronicles the little-known story of the thousands of Jews who sought and found refuge in wartime Shanghai. Based on the oral histories of Shanghai-landers now living in Vancouver, the exhibit tells their stories through the use of documents and photographs. Shanghai: A Refuge During the Holocaust presents the compelling history of this special sanctuary and of those who survived through resolve, adaptability and resourcefulness.

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