The Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society for Education and Remembrance (VHCS) was founded in 1983 by a group of British Columbian survivors of the Holocaust and those with ties to the Warsaw Ghetto Committee and the Standing Committee on Holocaust Education of the Canadian Jewish Congress (Pacific Region). The society was incorporated in 1985. Its goal, realized in 1994, was to leave a permanent legacy to the province in the form of a Centre devoted to Holocaust-based anti-racism programming. In 1990, the VHCS partnered with the Jewish Community Centre on the Phase III development of its centre at 41st and Oak in Vancouver.
In 1992, the purpose of the VHCS was:
- To collect, preserve and make available in audio-visual or written form the personal testimonies of British Columbia survivors and eyewitnesses to the events
of the Holocaust.
- To collect, preserve and make available documents, photographs and artefacts related to the Holocaust experience of British Columbia survivors as well as from
- To create within the centre a teaching museum demonstrating the events of the Holocaust, its antecedents and its contemporary relevance, as well as the
continuity of the Jewish people and the human will to survive.
- To create and make available a Holocaust education program and study materials for students, teachers and special interest groups.
- To build a research quality library of Holocaust related books, journals and audiovisual materials and make them available on-site.
Key members of the Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society:
Dr. Robert Krell, Founding President, 1983-1998
Robbie Waisman, President, 1998-2004
Rita Axelrod, President, 2004-2007
Jody Dales, President, 2007-2010
Ed Lewin, President, 2010-2016
Philip Levinson, President, 2016-2020
Corinne Zimmerman, President, 2020–
Rubin Pinsky chaired the VHCS collections committee in the early 1990s.
Early activities and programs of the VHCS occurred in the following areas:
Remembrance, Holocaust documentation, outreach program, community education, publishing, exhibitions, collecting museum and archival items, supporting survivor groups, fundraising and the construction of a Holocaust memorial.
The VHCS opened the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre in 1994 as a way to operationalize its mandate, which in 2006, was to establish and maintain a Holocaust education program centre as a resource for the community.