Local Holocaust Survivor Testimonies

Holocaust Documentation Project

The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre has in its collection more than 200 audio-visual testimonies dating back to the 1970s. Interviews were video recorded with local survivors, ‘enemy aliens’ internees, rescuers and liberators. The VHEC continues to record and preserve eyewitness testimonies and recognizes the invaluable role of testimony in Holocaust education. The VHEC’s Holocaust testimony collection advances 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 VHEC, started the Holocaust Documentation Project 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. The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University holds many of the earliest recordings made for the project.

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.