The Jewish Heritage Centre Archival Endowment Fund

A $2 million campaign to preserve our community’s archives

We Need Your Support

The JHCWC is unable to meet the minimum requirements for good stewardship of our collection. Current levels of funding simply do not support our needs. Unless we are able to ensure proper storage and archival treatment, we risk losing our collections forever. That will mean the loss of our community’s history. Your help is critical to our ability to properly store and protect our community’s historical assets.

Immediate Needs

  • Immediate Needs
  • Full-time archivist
  • Space assessment
  • Climate control
  • An integrated pest-management system
  • Upgraded storage to protect from water damage
  • Photographic media storage which meets archival standards
  • Improvements to physical layout: separation of research and storage facilities
  • Continued digitization of our collection
  • Holocaust archive preservation
  • Upgraded database to today’s standards
  • Publicly accessible online finding aids
Becky Sokolov and Fanny Churchill, Balfour Parade
Main Street, Winnipeg, May 19, 1920
From our Synagogues Exhibition
Artefacts from the Rubenfeld collection in our Holocaust Education Centre

The JHCWC

The JHC safeguards a treasure trove of documents, manuscripts, artefacts, and photos, accessed each year by researchers from all over the world and the general public. We are tasked with the challenge of preserving these precious representations of our history using modern technology and stewardship. We count on the interest and generosity of the community, so that future generations may also learn from our past.

Our archival records include thousands of indexed articles from Jewish newspapers, a comprehensive cemetery archive, manuscripts, audio and video oral histories, and some 70,000 photographs! The archives are also an important repository of oral histories, photographs, and articles documenting the story of Shoah survivors who settled in Manitoba. As well, several well-known Manitobans have donated their collections to us. These include Frances Bay, Maitland Steinkopf, Adele Wiseman, and Perry Diamond. These must all be preserved for future generations.

Harvesting at Sonnenfeld Colony, SK c.1926

A culture survives because it is able to transmit its history, its values, and its beliefs to future generations. We cannot understand our present circumstances without our historical record.  This is the foundation upon which every Jewish community organization is built. Therefore, within this context, the JHC is of vital importance to the well-being and future of this community, as the only guardians of our historical record.

About Us

In a world where the historical record is increasingly under threat, our impressive collection of primary sources, including oral histories, photographs, and artefacts will ensure the preservation of our past as well as its legacy for future generations.

For more than 50 years, the JHCWC (formerly the Jewish Historical Society) has illuminated the issues, events, and social changes that produced a dynamic and diverse community of Jews within Western Canada. The Jewish Heritage Centre’s mission is to develop, interpret, and disseminate information on the history and culture of western Canadian Jewry and to develop awareness of the history, moral, and ethical implications of the Shoah and other human rights violations.

Orphaned Holocaust survivors in Winnipeg in the late 1940s with Thelma Edwards, then Director of the United Hebrew Social Service Bureau. From left: David Erlich, Anton Deutch, Ernie Green, Leo Greenspan, Eugene Joseph and John Hirsch.

The Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada (JHC) brings together the Jewish Historical Society of Western Canada, the Marion & Ed Vickar Jewish Museum of Western Canada, the Genealogical Institute, the Irma and Marvin Penn Archives (includes the Yudasha and Shmerya Posner New Canadian Archive), and the Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre.

  • The JHCWC is proud to have partnered with many organizations over the years, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Manitoba Historical Society, and Manitoba Education and Training.
  • Our collection continues to be an important resource for researchers across the globe and a serves as a foundation for the innovative programs and exhibits the JHCWC produces.
  • The JHCWC has been recognized as an important component of Manitoba’s cultural mosaic at both provincial and federal levels of government.
  • Recognition includes the William Shroder Award, the Prix Manitoba Award, and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Design.

More Important Than Ever

Jewish communities worldwide are facing a surge in antisemitism, unprecedented since 1945. As the principal purveyor of education on the Shoah and antisemitism, we reach thousands of young people and adults each year.

As we face a future without Holocaust witnesses, our reliance on archival materials to safeguard the historical record and combat distortion increases and the work of the Jewish Heritage Centre becomes more important than ever.

Purim party King Edward Hall, circa 1908
From our extensive newspaper archive

Preserving Our Past, Ensuring Our Future

Contact us for more information. We would love to give you a tour!

Suite C-140 123 Doncaster St.
Winnipeg, MB R3N 2B2
T: 204-477-7460
www.jhcwc.org
[email protected]

To learn more about this important initiative, please contact campaign co-chairs:

Kate Brenner
Volunteer Co-Chair

Belle Jarniewski
Executive Director Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada

Testimonials

What People are Saying About the JHCWC

“The collection certainly deserves to be better known among historians and I am sure it will be. It provides a singularly rich source of original manuscript material relevant not just to the history of Jews in Manitoba but also to Jews in Canada more generally. And, like me, all historians and students of Canadian Jewish life who use this and other original document collections preserved by the Jewish Heritage Centre will owe a debt to those community-minded individuals who showed wisdom and foresight in ensuring these Jewish historical treasures are safely preserved. Without this effort, the historical legacy of Canadian Jewry would eventually be lost.”

Harold Troper, Professor of History (University of Toronto) and co-author of None is Too Many

“The Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada’s archive is invaluable. Its rich collection of photographs, documents, and publications enables visitors to explore and learn about the rich history of Winnipeg’s Jewish community and the many contributions Jews have made to Winnipeg’s social, economic and cultural life. Over the past few years, I spent many days in the archives completing the research for my book, Communal Solidarity: Immigration, Settlement and Social Welfare in Winnipeg’s Jewish Community, 1882-1930. I know that the archives contain a wealth of material that could illuminate many more aspects of the history of Winnipeg’s Jewish community: the history of Jewish educational institutions, the formation of Jewish garment workers unions and their role in Winnipeg’s labour movement, the origins and development of the Jewish Welfare Fund and Jewish Child & Family Service, the arrival and settlement of Holocaust survivors after the Second World War, the history of Winnipeg’s synagogues, the contribution of Winnipeg’s Jews to the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Zionist Organization of Canada, to name a few.”

Arthur Ross, Professor (Ryerson) in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and author of Communal Solidarity: Immigration, Settlement, and Social Welfare in Winnipeg’s Jewish Community, 1882–1930.

“The collection certainly deserves to be better known among historians and I am sure it will be. It provides a singularly rich source of original manuscript material relevant not just to the history of Jews in Manitoba but also to Jews in Canada more generally. And, like me, all historians and students of Canadian Jewish life who use this and other original document collections preserved by the Jewish Heritage Centre will owe a debt to those community-minded individuals who showed wisdom and foresight in ensuring these Jewish historical treasures are safely preserved. Without this effort, the historical legacy of Canadian Jewry would eventually be lost.”

Harold Troper, Professor of History (University of Toronto) and co-author of None is Too Many

“The archives are the golden resource of the Jewish community. I have searched for family records, burial information, and marriage books for my own family and many others as well. The project launched by the JHC for the marriages performed by Rabbi Kahanovitch brought much joy to many families by reproducing these registers for them…The archives are a resource which needs to be added to and nurtured. The community depends on it in ways they do not even realize.”

Gerald Posner, Lawyer, philanthropist, and community leader—former Winnipegger now living in Toronto.