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Toronto Holocaust Museum opens, shares stories of dozens of survivors

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is guided through a tour at the Toronto Holocaust Museum on Friday, June 9, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

TORONTO — A new museum that features stories from more than 70 Holocaust survivors has opened in Toronto, with the aim of sharing their experiences and combating antisemitism. 

The Toronto Holocaust Museum, which received funding from the federal and provincial governments as well as donors, features themed galleries, a theatre and educational programming. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford encouraged people both within and outside the Jewish faith to visit the museum, saying it will help educate many about the Holocaust. 

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says the government has a "sacred obligation" to fight hate against Jewish communities. 

Dara Solomon, the executive director of the museum, says Holocaust survivors in Toronto have wanted to see such a space become a reality for the last 40 years. 

Nate Leipciger, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor whose story is featured in the museum, says he and many other survivors were too traumatized to initially talk about their experiences and the museum helps that history to be shared with others.

"For forty years, no one was ready to hear. No one was ready to hear the horrors that we endured, nor were they interested in the traumas that we experienced and the difficulties we faced coming to this new country," he said on Friday. 

"But we persevered with the help of the Jewish and Canadian community, which gave us an opportunity to get an education, to move on, to create families."

Leipciger said "the story of the Holocaust survivor" was nonetheless not yet complete, and encouraged the next generation to share their own experiences. 

"I take this opportunity to ask the second generation to write their story," he said. 

"Write the story of their parents, their interactions with them, and how they struggled and prevailed in creating a new world in this beautiful, wonderful country."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2023.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Kiernan Green, The Canadian Press

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