Historical exhibition explores Canada's response to the Holocaust

Artifacts from rescuers and survivors are the highlights of a new exhibit studying the role of the Canadian military, journalists and war artists during the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.

Artifacts from rescuers and survivors highlight new exhibit at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

UBC professor Richard Menkis says the effects of the Holocaust was endured by survivors long after liberation. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

A new exhibit is exploring Canada's response to the Holocaust through the lens of both survivors and members of the Canadian military.

The event, put on by the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, will share tales of survival and rescue from one of the darkest chapters in human history.

"We're trying to take a look at the experience of the Canadians, as well as those who had been victimized," said Richard Menkis, a professor at the University of British Columbia.

Paintings from war artists offer some of the most visually-striking interpretations of the atrocities. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

Menkis is one of the researchers and writers of the exhibition, alongside partner Ronnie Tesler. He says the exhibit is meant to highlight the prolonged physical and psychological effects endured by survivors that extend far beyond the end of the Second World War.

"The story continues beyond the moment of 'liberation.' They were still dealing with illness, and still dealing with the [loss of family]," he said. "The experiences of the war didn't end at the end of the war."

The exhibition contains artifacts from the survivors and the Canadian military. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

Nina Krieger, executive director of the centre, says the exhibit will resonate with attendees, both emotionally and intellectually.

"I hope that visitors are left with a deepened and more nuanced understanding of this period." she said. 

"There are some very compelling testimonies of survivors, of liberators, and of war artists that reflect on how the encounters with Holocaust survivors and the evidence of Nazi crimes changed them forever."

UBC Professor Richard Menkis and Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre executive director Nina Krieger. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

Canada Responds to the Holocaust, 1944-45 will run until March 31, 2017 at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, located at 50 — 950 W 41st Avenue.

With files from CBC's The Early Edition

To listen to the full segment, click on the audio labelled: Holocaust survival stories highlight new exhibit in Vancouver