Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
All the objects

Life Before: A Deep-Rooted Memory

According to survivors, vestiges of life before the Holocaust are hard to find. The few carefully guarded objects, documents, and photographs that were smuggled out or narrowly escaped destruction represent some of the most personal of memories: their origins. Family, particularly parents who were lost, occupy a special place among those memories. Their homelands, their houses, and their villages are also at the heart of cherished recollections.

Hardships during the Holocaust: A Traumatic Memory

What survivors primarily recall of the Holocaust is life under horrific conditions, in captivity, in hiding, or fleeing persecution. However, when the story of an object is told by its owner, the violent nature of these hardships also become associated with remarkable acts of humanity. These objects, which bear witness to either material or spiritual resistance, link the traumatic memory with expressions of resistance.

The Period of Renewal: A Resilient Memory

Resettling in Montreal is a unique memory for individuals who arrived in Canada after the Holocaust. Despite the challenges of immigration, this period is synonymous with respite. Although they had to learn to live with serious trauma, survivors quickly began to rebuild. They started new families, planned career paths, and involved themselves in new projects. They resiliently went from struggling to survive to building new lives.