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Concept 1 Subtopic

WHERE TO GO?

The choice to come to Canada was not always in Holocaust survivors’ hands. They often moved because of chance. An immigration official may have recommended Canada to them. Or maybe it was simply the first available place to go. Some survivors came to Canada to reunite with family who already lived there.

Many dreamed of immigrating to British Mandate Palestine. They saw the land that would become Israel as the historical home of the Jewish people. They might have ended up in Canada because different countries had the power to deny or allow Jews to enter British Mandate Palestine.

Explore this section to learn more about why some Holocaust survivors came to Canada in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Subtopic Background

CANADA'S ESTABLISHED JEWISH COMMUNITY

Even though Canada limited the number of Jews that could immigrate in the ten years before the Second World War, Canada had an established Jewish community. Jews in Toronto had thriving synagogues and businesses. There was a flourishing Jewish community life in neighborhoods like The Ward and Kensington Market. Joining this Jewish community was appealing for many Holocaust survivors.

Subtopic Background

FAMILY CONNECTIONS IN CANADA

Many Holocaust survivors moved to Canada because they already had a family member living there. Canadian citizens were able to sponsor their closest relatives to immigrate through family reunification. This was one of the most common reasons that survivors came to Canada in the years after the Second World War.

Subtopic Background

FREEDOM AND SECURITY

Europe was still unstable for Holocaust survivors even after the Second World War. The constant change of political powers and social norms made life hard for survivors. They wanted freedom and security after surviving the Holocaust. Canada was the place that offered this to them.

Subtopic Background

OTHER PLACES

Canada was not always Holocaust survivors' first choice for starting a new life. Even though immigrating to Canada was complicated, immigrating to other places was sometimes even harder. Many Jewish survivors wanted to move to British Mandate Palestine. The British made moving there difficult because of political conflict. British soldiers stopped Jewish immigrants who tried to move to Palestine and interned them at camps in Cyprus. Palestine was also facing internal tension and conflict. Coming to Canada often seemed like a simple and safe option compared to other countries.

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