Research Guides

Research guides are an introduction to a particular topic or theme. They describe primary and secondary sources from the archives, library, museum and Holocaust testimony collections as well as recommended resources from other organizations related to that topic or theme. They are not an exhaustive list of the VHEC's collections holdings. Further independent research is recommended and encouraged. 
"Enemy Aliens" Research Guide
When the Second World War began, Canada's discriminatory immigration policies denied people seeking refuge, particularly Jews, entry into Canada. In 1940, when Canada agreed to Britain's request to aid the war effort by taking in "enemy aliens" and prisoners of war, officials did not expect approximately 2,300 civilian refugees from Nazism, most of them Jews. Of those deemed "enemy aliens" were German and Austrian citizens—Jewish and non-Jewish—between the ages of 16 and 60 who had found asylum in Britain only to be arrested under the suspicion of espionage. After a brief period of internment in England, they were deported to Canada and imprisoned in New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec alongside political refugees and, in some camps, German prisoners of war. To print or download a PDF of this research guide, click here.

Diaries and Correspondence Research Guide
The diaries and personal correspondence listed in this guide touch on subjects including life prior to the Second World War, efforts to leave Europe, experiences during the Holocaust, and the lives of Holocaust survivors in the post-war period. Researchers interested in ego documents are encouraged to also consult related record forms such as memoirs, scrapbooks, life writings and other ego documents at the VHEC. The focus of this guide is on correspondence and personal diaries written at the time an author experienced events and includes later published diaries. To print or download a PDF of this research guide, click here.

Holocaust Photography Research Guide
Holocaust photography is complex and encompasses many sub-themes. It includes pre-war life, life during the Holocaust and post-Holocaust life. Photographs are taken by everyone from perpetrators to resistors to survivors and their families. Holocaust photographs are useful for purposes of commemoration, education, documentation, understanding and more. To print or download a PDF of this research guide, click here.

Nazi and Antisemitic Propaganda Research Guide
The materials in this guide can be understood to have contributed to the spread of derogatory ideas through publications (e.g. newspaper articles, public bulletins), consumables (e.g. cigarette packaging) and everyday objects (e.g. childhood toys, postcards). Antisemitic ideas were widespread in Europe prior to the Nazis gaining power, and were used by the Nazis in order to obtain support and traction for their policies and decrees. To print or download a PDF of this research guide, click here.

The War Orphans Project Research Guide
The War Orphans Project was initiated by the Canadian Jewish community with the goal of bringing Jewish orphans to Canada after the end of the Second World War. In 1947, the Government of Canada issued Privy Council Order 1647, which permitted 1,000 Jewish war orphans, all under eighteen years of age, to immigrate to Canada under the auspices of the Canadian Jewish Congress, with the stipulation that full responsibility for the children's welfare would be assumed by the Jewish community. To print or download a PDF of this research guide, click here