The VHEC Story

VHEC opening (1994) with first exhibition “Anne Frank In The World”.
Ben Akselrod z’l (left) and Leon Kahn z’l.

A Permanent Legacy

The Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society was founded in 1983 by survivors of the Holocaust. The founders’ goal, realized in 1994 was to leave a permanent legacy in the form of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre devoted to Holocaust based anti-racism education

Private funds were raised to secure approximately 4,000 square feet of space to be built in the expansion of the Jewish Community Centre in the early 1990s. It was a complicated project brought to fruition by many committees but guided particularly by the VHCS Executive Director at the time, Ronnie Tessler, and Board member, Arthur Pouchet. The architects, Peter Rees and Jack Lutsky, and Museum of Anthropology consultant, David Cunningham and, were key participants. The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre opened in the fall of 1994 with the inaugural exhibit Anne Frank in The World: 1929–1945, an internationally acclaimed exhibition produced by the Anne Frank Center USA, New York.

Robert Krell served as founding President of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society from its inception to 1998, when Robbie Waisman assumed the Presidency. During Krell’s tenure, Dr. Roberta Kremer who had earlier consulted to the VHCS on the proposed Centre, was hired to be the Executive Director. Frieda Miller was added to our small but effective staff as Director of Education. Rome Fox came aboard as Coordinator of Volunteers on a part-time basis.

VHEC Timeline

  • 1976

    1st Annual Symposium on the Holocaust

  • 1978

    1st Symposium on the Holocaust at UBC


  • 1978

    1st Audio-Visual Testimony Recordings

  • 1983

    Founding of the Society


  • 1987

    Unveiling of the Holocaust Memorial at Schara Tzedeck Cemetery

  • 1994

    First Zachor magazine published


  • 1994

    Opening of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

    First exhibition: Anne Frank in The World 1929–1945

  • 1995

    First Kron Sigal Award presented


  • 1996

    Dedication of Donor Wall

  • 2000

    First VHEC publication

    Supported by the Wosk Publishing Endowment Fund – ‘Bialystok to Birkenau’


  • 2018

    Renewal of the VHEC