Ekstein Family Learning Lab

A space for dialogue and dynamic learning

Workshops & Activities

The Ekstein Family Learning Lab is situated in the Anita and Frank Ekstein Holocaust Library. This versatile space has been specially designed to engage students in active and participatory learning. The space is also used to house temporary panel exhibitions, for research, public lectures and specialized workshops.

Student Wrap Up Experience

In addition to our specially designed workshops, this space is primarily used for school groups visiting the Museum for a facilitated wrap-up experience.

  • Through interactive polling and questions throughout the Museum experience, students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue in the Learning Lab space. By unpacking individual responses, carefully developed for each gallery, learners have the ability to make contemporary connections and build deeper understandings of why and how the Holocaust is still relevant today. These thought-provoking activities enable students to leave the Museum critically considering what they can do with the knowledge they have acquired and how they can become more active citizen in their own civil societies.

  • This wrap-up experience empowers students to think deeply about the voices of Holocaust survivors they have encountered throughout the Galleries. They are challenged to dive deeper into the narratives of these individuals and create meaning from personal witness accounts. This activity enhances learners’ abilities to better under the various choices, responses, individual and collective agency, that existed during the Holocaust.

Public Offerings

In the Learning Lab, during designated dates and times, members of the public can participate in various experiences offered by the Museum.

  • The Toronto Holocaust Museum is committed to sharing firsthand, live testimony of Holocaust survivors for as long as possible. Hearing directly from a witness allows us to better understand how the history of the Holocaust impacted individuals and offers us deeper insight into one person’s experiences. We are thrilled to be able to continue to bring this meaningful program to the public. Stay-tuned for updates on this offering.

  • The Learning Lab will house public lectures and panels at different times throughout the year. Check out our events calendar for upcoming programs and learn more about how you can register.

  • Stay-tuned to learn more about research opportunities in the Learning Lab space in partnership with the Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre.

Remember what antisemitism did before, because it began with words and there are too many out there now, again.

Anita Ekstein Holocaust Survivor & Educator

Visual History Archive

Access the full collection of the USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive in our Learning Lab

Visitors to the Anita and Frank Ekstein Holocaust Library, can access over 50,000 Holocaust survivor testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. These oral histories, that have been digitized and fully indexed, bring to life the pre-Holocaust lives of survivors and their families as well as the experiences of the Jews who faced genocide during the Second World War. They speak to horror, murder and despair, but also courage, hope, and the ability to rebuild. The Visual History Archive features these testimonies from the Holocaust as well as testimonies from other genocides, and is the largest archive of its kind in the world. It utilizes state-of-the-art infrastructure to digitize, index and integrate videotaped Holocaust testimonies taken by other organizations around the world into its Archive. The VHA is accessible in the Ekstein Family Learning Lab on computer kiosks with assistance from staff and volunteers.

Students engage with the VHA in the former Frank and Anita Holocaust Resource Collection.

The Canadian Collection

Access the full collection of the USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive in our Learning Lab

Preserved in perpetuity in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive are more than 1,200 Canadian Holocaust. In 1988, the Holocaust Centre of Toronto (now the Toronto Holocaust Museum) began a project to collect oral histories from Toronto’s diverse community of Holocaust survivors. The interview process was designed and directed by historian Dr. Paula Draper and was supported by Holocaust survivors, Nate Leipciger, Elly Gotz, and Max Eisen along with other members of the committee. In Toronto alone, over 400 Holocaust survivors were interviewed and they spoking about their family life before the war, their survival during the Holocaust and their eventual arrival and life in Canada. Similarly, in 1989, volunteers with the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre began conducting interviews with survivors in a small studio at their Centre, collecting 550 recorded interviews. These interviews; along with other recorded testimony collections from McGill University, Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives, the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University, Ottawa Jewish Archives, Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre and Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, and Calgary Jewish Federation; have become part of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Canadian Collection, a part of their Visual History Archive. These 1,253 Canadian testimonies have been digitized, fully indexed, and preserved to serve the purposes for which they were so painfully recorded, clarifying the Canadian story in relation to the Holocaust and Jewish immigration to Canada post-1945. Without this initiative, many of these smaller Canadian collections of testimony would be at risk of deterioration. As the current generation of students will be the last to experience the in-person survivor testimony, this initiative is more important than ever for both educational purposes and for providing this community the opportunity to hear their own family’s histories in perpetuity. The sheer volume of indexed testimonies allows for in depth research, revealing historical specificity and details about the Holocaust experience.


The digitized and integration of the Canadian collection of survivor testimony into the VHA was made possible in part, by the Government of Canada. We are grateful for additional generous support from the Azrieli Foundation, Paula Nussbaum and family, Janette & Michael Diamond in memory of Jack and Mila Penn, POWER Corporation, and the Asper Foundation.

Special Thanks

The Library and Learning Lab space has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Ekstein family.