The Toronto Holocaust Museum's mandate is to foster understanding and knowledge of the Holocaust and related human rights issues and promote dialogue about civil society. Its origins can be traced to the late 1940s, when the Federation of Polish Jews of Canada began organizing an annual event to commemorate the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (now often held in conjunction with Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day). In the 1950s, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) took over this role and established the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Committee. By the early 1970s, the CJC had renamed this committee the Holocaust Remembrance Committee.
Throughout the 1970s, the scope of the committees work expanded to include liaison with school boards regarding Holocaust curriculum, outreach with Christian communities, school visits by survivor speakers, and the sponsorship of Holocaust-related events. In 1976, the committee became accountable to the newly formed Toronto Jewish Congress (TJC) but continued to report to the CJC Central Region.
By 1976, committee members were discussing the need for a Holocaust memorial in Toronto. Space for such a memorial became available when the Lipa Green building at 4600 Bathurst Street was being planned. A separate committee known as the Toronto Holocaust Memorial Committee formed around 1983 under the chairmanship of Gerda Frieberg to help plan and fundraise for the memorial. Funds were raised through parlour meetings in private homes, grants from the federal and provincial governments, and the sale of memorial tiles which were inscribed with the names of relatives who perished in the Holocaust. The Holocaust Education and Memorial Centre opened in September 1985. It consisted of a Hall of Memories, which housed the memorial tiles, and an audiovisual presentation and text panels on Jewish history and the Holocaust. Soon after the opening, the Toronto Holocaust Memorial Committee merged with the Holocaust Remembrance Committee.
During the early 1980s, while plans were still underway for the memorial centre, the Holocaust Remembrance Committee continued to expand its activities to include the development of annual workshops and symposiums for teachers and students, planning an annual Holocaust Education Week, initiating an oral history program to document the testimony of local survivors, and offering programs for children of survivors. After the Holocaust centre opened in 1985, it began running tours led by survivors for community and school groups in its new facility. The 1990s was marked by increased services and programs for survivors, outreach with younger generations, the establishment of an annual writing contest for high school students, and the establishment of a resource centre that came to be known as the Anita Ekstein Holocaust Resource Library. In 1992, the TJC and CJC transferred responsibility for the centre to the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation, and the centre remains part of that organization today.
Since 2000, the centre has continued to increase its programming. In 2003, it began presenting an annual program to commemorate Raoul Wallenberg Day. In 2007, the museum’s exhibition was fully re-designed and updated. Since its establishment, the centre has sponsored and hosted a variety of temporary Holocaust-related exhibitions and programs across the province and has partnered with other agencies to advocate for human rights, promote Holocaust education, and document survivor testimony. In 2009, the centre was renamed the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust and Education Centre. In 2023, the centre was renamed the Toronto Holocaust Museum to reflect its new state-of-theart museum located on UJA's Serhman Campus.
Scope and Content
Series consists of records documenting the history, governance, operation, programs, and activities of the Toronto Holocaust Museum. Included are meeting minutes, reports, publications, correspondence, photographs, invitations, statistics, financial records, sound recordings, promotional material, forms, studies, ...
Series is arranged into 21 sub-series: 1. Holocaust Education Committee; 2. Executive Committee; 3. Administration; 4. General correspondence; 5. Committees and meetings; 6. Studies and surveys; 7. Youth for Youth subcommittee; 8. Special Services Committee; 9. Christian Jewish Dialogue; 10. Generation to Generation subcommittee; 11. Hidden Children/Child Survivors; 12. Education; 13. Museum; 14. Yom Hashoah; 15. Holocaust Education Week; 16. Raoul Wallenberg Day; 17. Documentation; 18. Projects and events; 19. Survivor speakers, docents and volunteers; 20. Membership; 21. Marketing and publicity; and 22. Subject files.
Physical description note: Includes ca. 2000 photographs, 5 buttons, 11 audio recordings, 3 DVDs, 3 video cassettes and 2 posters.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA director prior to accessing some of the records.