Local Holocaust Survivor Testimonies

Holocaust Documentation Project

The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre has recorded more than 200 audio-visual testimonies since 1970. 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. These testimonies advance the field of Holocaust education and research by providing access to an incomparable repository of evidence.

Dr. Robert Krell, survivor of the Holocaust and Founding President of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Center, began a project to record Holocaust survivors in the late 1970s, using audio-visual resources from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, where he was a faculty member. Dr. Krell forged a partnership with the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University, which holds many of his early recordings. Since the founding of the VHEC in 1994, the VHEC’s testimony project has continued to develop.

Read more about the history of the Holocaust testimony collection.

Explore an interactive timeline about the history of the VHEC’s audio-video documentation of Holocaust survivors.

Primary Voices

The VHEC strives to create opportunities for students to interact with Holocaust survivor’s accounts of persecution, loss and survival. Recorded audio-video testimonies are becoming more central to the VHEC’s work as a teaching museum. Primary Voices: Teaching Through Holocaust Survivor Testimony is a web-based pedagogical resource for students to explore excerpts from the VHEC’s Holocaust testimony collection.

The testimony excerpts are accompanied by comprehensive lesson plans, student worksheets, and suggested activities informed by 21st-century learning and core competencies of the BC curriculum.

Through Primary Voices, educators and students can engage with Holocaust testimony in a lesson, within a larger unit, or as part of an independent research project. Materials are recommended for students in grades 8 through 12, with adaptations possible for intermediate grades.