You may be surprised to learn that Canada became home to 40,000 Holocaust survivors – one of the largest communities of survivors in the world. Canadian survivors have been involved in sharing their stories and shaping educational efforts in this country. These efforts include participating in projects to collect oral history. To date, more than 1,200 oral histories have been recorded. When including survivor voices in your lesson plans, choose voices from Canada. Students are more connected to what they are learning when they hear it from people who are fellow Canadians, perhaps even their neighbours. Furthermore, when Canadian survivors share their life stories with us they teach us about how they experienced the Holocaust and what it was like to immigrate to Canada and build new lives here. Their experiences as immigrants were not easy: they faced difficult periods of adjustment and often discrimination, while also dealing with the trauma of their wartime persecution and loss.
Include a link to In Their Own Words exhibit or the Survivor Stories module.
The Nazis carried out a second, concurrent genocide during the Holocaust. This was against the Roma and Sinti (“Gypsy” people). This event is often termed Samudaripen, meaning the murder of all, or collective murder. Another term you might encounter when reading about the Roma genocide is Porajmos, literally meaning “devouring.”
Explore testimonies from Canadian Holocaust survivors on the Museum’s In Their Own Words online resource.