What Students & Teachers Say

Every year, the VHEC’s Holocaust education programs reach British Columbia classrooms, teachers and more than 25,000 students. Witnessing a first-hand account of a Holocaust survivor speaker, or viewing a Holocaust artefact has a deep and lasting impact on teachers and students that imparts the enduring lessons of the Holocaust in truly powerful and meaningful ways.

These are their stories once they become witnesses to the eyewitnesses.

What Students Say

Standing up for others

I feel motivated to ensure that I will never be a bystander and will always stand up for anyone experiencing exclusion or discrimination […] It was very beneficial to hear an eyewitness account and understand a perspective that was much more real than simply learning about statistics and facts. I learned so much from your testimonies that I was unaware of before and that I could not have learned otherwise.” 

—Student, Magee Secondary School

Defining the Holocaust

“I want to thank you for the virtual experience you have provided for students during this difficult time of COVID-19. I have watched countless documentaries and survivor testimonies, but I found this particular experience to be far more impactful than anything I have ever seen. Seeing a member of my community, a man you would pass on the street without a second glance, tell his story put things into perspective for me… By telling their stories, the survivors don’t define themselves, but instead they define the Holocaust. Thank you for teaching people like me the importance of the human story behind every history lesson.”

—Student, Little Flower Academy

A collective duty

“As the number of Holocaust survivors diminishes, and the resurgence of antisemitism is ever-prevalent today, it is necessary that we record survivors’ testimonies and educate the public in the interests of promoting the truth.”

—Adam Rosengarten
Recipient of the Gordon Diamond Community Service Award
King David High School Class of 2019

Greatest gift of all

“On the day you spoke, it was my 16th birthday. I received many presents. It wasn’t until I was sleeping that I realized that the knowledge of the effects of hatred and the importance of love was the greatest present of all and for this I want to thank you…”

Ms. Emy Nakamura’s Grade 11 Social Studies class

Role model

“When I find it most difficult to love and forgive, I look through your recorded history on the Primary Voices website, and go back to those lessons I learned. I guess what I am trying to say is that you’ve become my role model for what peace and love is, and what peace and love can be.”

— Student

Never to be repeated

“It’s important to study historical injustices so we can understand what people have been through, and so we never repeat them.”

North Burnaby Secondary

I fully understand it all because of you

“I never really clued in on how bad war could really be… Please continue speaking about your life. You really made a difference and I will never forget you.”


Educating students is very useful

“We are the leaders of tomorrow and it is less likely for us to make the same mistakes as the leaders of the past.”


Opened my eyes

“Your story opened my eyes and taught me that I should not take my parents for granted.”

West Point Grey Academy

What Teachers Say

Support for online learning

“Thank you so very much for posting this year’s symposium online. It was very well done. I am always very grateful for the support given to teachers by VHEC. Up until now, it was difficult to arrange a trip to Vancouver to attend the symposium, but the online format allowed us to do so. I would encourage you to keep this format as an alternative so that schools outside the Vancouver area to attend more easily.”

—Teacher, Prince George, BC

I cannot express how valuable it’s been to have “salvaged” the Holocaust symposium. A huge shout-out to you and your team for putting this incredibly powerful event together during these very challenging times. I was impressed with how quickly the VHEC pivoted to the online format. The symposium continues to embellish my classroom, specifically my Social Studies 10 human rights unit, and our school.”

—Teacher, Vancouver, BC


“Thank you again for bringing a survivor speaker to my students. There is one student in particular I’ve had a hard time getting through to. He strongly connected with the survivor’s story about settling into Canada after the war. The survivor speaker really gave this young man a sense of hope, and I am so grateful.”

—Teacher, Grades 11 & 12

Bringing the past to life

“As Social Studies teachers … we are tasked with the lofty goal of having students care about what has come before them to shape the world they live in now.”

—Nicola Colhoun and Dr. Christine Paget
2019 Kron Sigal Award Winners

Beyond words

“Your talk taught me about kindness and courage but most of all, hope.”

—Gillian Lock
Resource Teacher

An inspiration

“You inspire me to be the best teacher I can be and in my opinion, you are a true teacher.”