Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre Museum
The Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre is a unique Holocaust museum as all the artefacts in the exhibits belonged to local Holocaust survivors and their families. The museum’s existence itself is thanks to the local survivor community whose vision was a place where students and the broader community could come to learn about this tragic chapter of human history and its implications for the present and future.
With the passage of time, there have been advances in best practices in Holocaust museology, education, and research findings. Technology has become an essential element of Holocaust museums today, attracting the interest of young people and also allowing for the integration of a large collection of materials. With that in mind, the Jewish Heritage Centre has created an interactive table, which will feature stories and photographs outlining the lives of local survivors before, during, and after the Holocaust. An overview of the Holocaust will also include maps and photos to further illustrate the history as well as the individual stories. We are also paying tribute to the contributions of our survivors to our community.
In addition to the interactive table, a computer kiosk will connect visitors to the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive (VHA) and its more than 55,000 video testimonies and a list of 1.9 million searchable names. The Jewish Heritage Centre is the only full access site to the VHA between Toronto and Calgary. A third electronic addition to our museum will be the projection of the names of all survivors who settled in Winnipeg at any time – some 1050 men and women.
The physical exhibit, beautifully designed by curator Candace Hogue, features never-before-displayed pieces from our collection. New items were added in response to our call for artefacts as we began this project. We are also adding new and important elements to the exhibit – such as a window that depicts life before the Holocaust and featuring photos and artefacts from our survivors. We wanted to illustrate the diverse history of our survivors before the Shoah. Another new element we will be presenting is the story of antisemitism in Canada. Unfortunately, many Canadians are completely unaware of Canada’s less than stellar history when it comes to its treatment of Jews before, during, and even after the Holocaust.
Our January 25th 2023 opening event featured keynote addresses by the Honourable Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, and Peter Flegel, Executive Director, Government of Canada’s Anti-Racism Secretariat, among others. A recording of the event van be found by clicking here.
Each year, the HEC welcomes students from grades six through university. We are looking forward to welcoming students and the general public back into this wonderful space.
The Jewish Heritage Centre is most thankful for the agencies that helped make our vision a reality: Canadian Heritage, the Province of Manitoba, the Azrieli Foundation, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Foundation, the Manitoba Arts Council, and many kind and generous private donors.