Holocaust and other persecutions against Jews Working Group

This Working Group has created collaborative initiatives across the city of Montreal with community institutions such as the MHMC, and new research projects in different universities related to oral history, memory and the Holocaust. Examples include an initiative entitled Dislocation and Relocation: Nostalgia as a Paradigm for Jewish Emigration from Morocco to Canada, focused on the life stories of Moroccan Jews in Montreal, under the supervision of Yolande Cohen in the History Department at UQAM. Also planned by the Working Group is an intercultural multimedia exhibition under the supervision of Erica Lehrer, Canada Research Chair in Post-Conflict Memory, Ethnography and Museology at Concordia University, and David Ward, a professional photographer and Life Stories-CURA collaborator. Dr. Lehrer and Mr. Ward will create extensive treatments of several featured individuals, through text, photo essays, and other media such as short videos and a display of physical objects.

One of the other noteworthy initiatives of the Holocaust Working Group is entitled  From 'Second Generation' to 'Generation Next': Assessing the Importance of the Holocaust in the Lives of Jewish Montreal Youth, led by Rachel Berger from the History Department at Concordia University. The purpose of this initiative is to uncover the ways in which ‘second generation’ Holocaust survivors commemorate and recognize the significance of the Holocaust in their lives. The literature exploring the effect of the Holocaust on the personal lives of Jews has focused primarily on the experience of direct descendants of survivors. However, it fails to address the experience of ‘surviving’ as perceived by the succeeding generation. This initiative will investigate the gaps in scholarship by interviewing the most recent generation of Holocaust survivors: Jewish Montreal youth, now aged 13-18, who have been raised in the context of community-run institutions and can thus offer insight into the success and failure of ‘Holocaust awareness’ as it is has been implemented through educational, social and religious programming. The outcome will be 20-25 oral interviews, an article on the evolution of the idea of the ‘second generation’, and an article on the changing scope of ‘Holocaust awareness” in Montreal vis-à-vis new immigrants.

Our Projects

This Working Group's research focuses on second generation Holocaust survivors, and in members of Montreal`s Jewish communities whose lives have been less examined by previous projects. Research results will be presented in both academic contexts and artistic mediums.  

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The life stories of Montreal-resident Holocaust survivors, second generation descendants and the members of the Moroccan and other Sephardic Jewish communities will be recorded. As well, the 470 interviews conducted by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre (MHMC) with Montreal-area Holocaust survivors will be digitized and archived to ensure access to them.

Iraqi Jewish Montrealers Study
A documentary film will be produced to explore the lives of Jewish Montrealers´ of Iraqi origin.

«Second Generation» to «Generation Next»: the Holocaust in the lives of Jewish Montreal Youth
Research will be undertaken on the he use of the term « second generation » and on Holocaust awareness in the lives of Jewish youth.

Dislocation and Relocation: Nostalgia as a paradigm for Jewish emigration from Morocco to Canada
The life stories of people of Sephardic origin living in Montreal will be explores and the research results shared through journal articles, reports and conference papers.

Multimedia Exhibition
Multimedia and photography projects will be produced to share knowledge with project members, scholars and the public and in order to create an intercultural space for reflection. Erica Lehrer from the Concordia History Department as well as photographer David Lehrer are involved in this research.