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.
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.