Preserving the stories of Sephardi–Mizrahi Jews in Canada—An exhibition and a new collection at Library and Archives Canada

News release

June 3, 2022—Gatineau, Quebec

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and Sephardi Voices are pleased to announce a new exhibition in Ottawa and the donation of the Victor and Edna Mashaal Canadian Collection.

The Victor and Edna Mashaal Canadian Collection was donated to LAC by Sephardi Voices, an international heritage organization. It is a series of nearly 100 interviews in English and French, portraits, documents, and photographs chronicling the life stories of the Canadian Sephardi–Mizrahi community. This online collection is available to the public on the Sephardi Voices website.

In addition, LAC is hosting the exhibition The Forgotten Exodus—A Canadian Refuge in Ottawa until the end of June 2022. It tells the story of the last generation of Sephardi–Mizrahi Jews born in North Africa, the Middle East and Iran before one million of them were displaced in the mid-20th century. The photographs were taken by Liam Sharp and the exhibition was curated by Dr. Henry Green, University of Miami Professor of Religious Studies, and David Langer, the Media Director for Sephardi Voices.

        Exhibition:   The Forgotten Exodus—A Canadian Refuge
        When:           June 3 to 30, 2022
                               Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
        Where:          Lobby of Library and Archives Canada
                               395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON

        A reservation is not required for viewing the exhibition
        Current safety measures in place

The exhibition is composed of selected images from the Victor and Edna Mashaal Canadian Collection. Those unable to attend the exhibition in person can find these images and more on the Sephardi Voices website.


"We are pleased to accept the Victor and Edna Mashaal Canadian Collection, which was donated by Sephardi Voices. Contributions such as these bring more diverse voices to Canada’s documentary heritage, and align with Library and Archives Canada’s mandate to include, preserve and share stories from the diverse peoples of Canada for today and tomorrow."

Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada

"The Sephardi Voices’ exhibition illustrates how Canadian multiculturalism welcomes all refugees and is a light to others that their voices matter and will be heard.”

Dr. Henry Green, Chair and Founder of Sephardi Voices

“It’s the story of refugees, who carry in them nostalgia and sometimes painful memories, and all of that beauty is etched in their faces.”

Liam Sharp, photographer of The Forgotten Exodus—A Canadian Refuge

Quick facts

  • Canada is home to the fourth largest Jewish community in the world.

  • Sephardi refers to Jewish diaspora descended from those expelled from Spain in the 15th century, many of whom migrated to North Africa and the Middle East.

  • Mizrahi refers to Jewish diaspora from North Africa, the Middle East and central Asia.

  • In the decades following the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, close to a million Jews became refugees fleeing their ancestral homelands in the Middle East, North Africa, and Iran.

  • Nearly 90 percent of the Sephardi–Mizrahi were forced to seek refuge in new countries.


Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada

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The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

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