To help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, in-person engagements with Holocaust Survivor Speakers are suspended until further notice. Virtual presentations with Survivor Speakers are available via Zoom.
Holocaust Survivor Speakers
Students have continually told us that engaging with Holocaust survivors and their eye-witness accounts first hand is the most powerful lesson when learning about the Shoah.
“It is our generation that will ensure the Holocaust does not happen again. We are the witnesses to witnesses and that is what makes this opportunity special, so personal. The Holocaust survivors and their stories are irreplaceable.”
Holocaust Survivor Speakers are survivors of the Holocaust who share their experiences of persecution, discrimination and loss with students and the general public as part of our educational program. A small number of speakers are able to address groups in French.
Learn more about the VHEC’s dedicated Holocaust Survivor Speakers.
Most of what you’ll want to know about Holocaust Survivor Speakers is asked and answered below.
If you have any other questions, please contact us.
What is a Holocaust Survivor Speaker presentation on Zoom?
Speakers share their memories of the Holocaust with students, including experiences of discrimination, segregation, separation from and loss of family, as well as life in hiding, the ghettos, concentration camps, liberation, and immigration to Canada. Although many Survivor Speakers are well informed about some aspects of the Holocaust outside of their own experiences, few are expert historians. Their presentations are offered as personal, eyewitness accounts.
Holocaust Survivor Speakers are available to address school classes from their homes via Zoom. A small number of presentations are available in French. Priority is given to grades 10, 11 and 12.
Why should I book a Holocaust Survivor Speaker?
Outcomes for Students
From our extensive work with students, we know that hearing first-hand the experiences of eyewitnesses of the Shoah is the most powerful lesson for learners. Students especially appreciate the opportunities to ask questions directed to the Survivor Speakers after their presentation. Holocaust Survivor Speakers challenge youth to become committed and responsible global citizens, alert to discrimination, racism and genocide in today’s world.
Read responses from students here.
Outcomes for Teachers
Engaging with a Holocaust Survivor Speaker prompts your students to think in depth about social justice and human rights. Your students gain a better understanding of what it means to take on individual and social responsibilities as many of the Survivors call upon taking action towards a more just world.
What are the minimum technological requirements?
For in-class sessions, teachers must have a strong Wi-Fi connection and basic (free) Zoom accounts.
For remote teaching sessions, with students at home, both teachers and students need strong Wi-Fi connections and basic (free) Zoom accounts.
If a teacher has a basic Zoom account, which comes with restrictions, the VHEC will host the session.
If a teacher has a licenced Pro Zoom account, the VHEC may ask the teacher to host the session.
Please indicate on the booking form below or by e-mail/phone to VHEC staff what kind of Zoom account you have.
How long does a presentation last?
Presentations are generally 40 minutes long, followed by a 20-minute question period. Please inform your students ahead of time that they will have the opportunity to ask questions.
When are sessions offered?
Sessions can be booked for the late morning or the afternoon according to arrangements made between the teacher and the VHEC.
Who are the presentations suitable for?
- We understand that class sizes vary this year. Recommended for a virtual gathering of as many students as possible up to a maximum of 95.
- Recommended for students of grades 8 to 12
What is the fee?
With generous sponsorship from the Diamond Foundation, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre is pleased to offer this program free of charge until June 2021.
How do I book a Holocaust Survivor Speaker?
- Complete and submit the speaker request form below, or contact us.
- We will select a speaker appropriate to the age level of your audience.
- A staff member will reach out to you with information about the Zoom speaking engagement.
How do I best prepare students?
Download an orientation package
Including guidelines for preparing your class for a session with a Holocaust Survivor Speaker.
Télécharger les textes d’orientation
Vous y trouverez des conseils pour préparer votre classe à la rencontre avec un survivant ou une survivante, la chronologie de la Shoah (l’Holocauste) ainsi qu’un glossaire de termes s’y rapportant.
How can teachers and students reach out to Speakers?
After a speaker presentation, cards and letters can be addressed to:
Holocaust Survivor Speakers
Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre
50 – 950 West 41st Ave, Vancouver BC, V5Z 2N7
or through our contact us page.
Survivor Speakers are touched and always appreciate hearing from students, parents, teachers and others. We ask that you kindly appreciate that it’s often difficult for survivors to respond personally to the many letters they receive.
Students wishing to interview a survivor as part of a school project are asked to join a scheduled presentation at the VHEC, view a video testimony, or ask their teacher to arrange for a speaker. Increasing requests for speakers make individual requests difficult to accommodate.
What else should we know?
- Due to the high volume of requests for speakers, we recommend booking at least two weeks in advance.
- If you have to cancel, let us know at least three days before your scheduled presentation.
Contact us with any further questions.
- Complete this form to request a Holocaust Survivor Speaker.
- Clearly indicate any special requirements for your group.
- Once you have submitted your form, one of our staff members will contact you to confirm your registration.
Thank you for your interest in this school program.