Library, Museum, Archives & Testimony Collection

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 library, museum, archives and testimony collections were formally established when the Vancouver Holocaust 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 VHEC is proud to be the recipient of the 2019 Award of Merit: Excellence in Collections from the BC Museums Association for its collections management system and catalogue.

The Award of Merit recognizes recent excellence in collections best practices, which may include innovative approaches to collecting, collections management, preservation, repatriation, collections-based research, dissemination and accessibility.

Collection Areas

The VHEC library has more than 4,000 Holocaust-related books, journals and films, and provides access to educational resources, reference material, rare books and special collections, memoirs, memorial books, fiction and non-fiction, and material for children and young adults. The library also houses a small multilingual collection. Teachers and VHEC members may borrow items from the library at no charge.

The archival holdings of the VHEC contain materials donated by local survivors, families of victims and eyewitnesses of the Holocaust, collectors as well as the institutional records of the VHEC. Types of material found in the archives include identification documents, correspondence, currency, school certificates, photographs, memorabilia, ephemera, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, travel documents, exhibition and event records and other items that document pre- and post-Holocaust life, immigration and settlement experiences, internment and the Holocaust.

The museum collection is comprised of over 300 objects and artworks. The objects document Jewish life from the late nineteenth century to the present day with a particular focus on the rise of Nazism, persecution during the Holocaust, and post-war immigration and settlement in Canada. The museum also holds Western Canada’s largest collection of materials relating to the interment of Jewish refugees in Canada during the Second World War.

The VHEC has more than 200 audio-visual testimonies in its holdings; the recordings date back to 1979. Interviews have been conducted with local survivors, ‘enemy aliens’ internees, rescuers and liberators. The VHEC continues to record and preserve eyewitness testimonies to guarantee the enduring legacy of their invaluable role in Holocaust education.

Donate a Book or Artefact

Learn more by visiting our Donate a Book or Artefact page.