Thank you to the Isadore and Florence Burstyn Memorial Fund, the Krell family, and donors to the Human Rights and Holocaust Education Fund at the Calgary Public Library Foundation for generously supporting these programs and engaging Albertans in critical dialogue.

Upcoming Programs

Completed Programs


Monday, April 15
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall, Central Library, and livestreamed online.

Join Francie Cyngiser as she shares her father’s oral testimony of Holocaust survival in a live presentation of Through Their Eyes, a film that weaves testimony of Sidney Cyngiser, with his grandchildren’s perspectives. Live Q & A with Francie to follow the film.

Thursday, March 7
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall, Central Library, and livestreamed online.

Join author, Holocaust historian, and filmmaker Max Wallace as he discusses his book In the Name of Humanity, which won the 2018 Canadian Jewish Literature Award for Holocaust history. Wallace reveals an incredible story involving secret negotiations to end the Holocaust. These revelations will help rewrite the history of the Holocaust and WWII.

Monday, February 26
6:00 to 7:30 P.M.
Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall, Central Library
800 3 St SE

Join Bashir Mohamed to learn more about key figures in Alberta’s Black civil rights history, make connections to modern civil rights movements, and discover online research tools that can be used to find Black stories and history to support learning.


Tuesday, November 14, 2023
12:00 to 1:00 PM
Online event

Join Dr. Carolyn Whitzman for a virtual talk on housing needs across Canada and the human rights implications of the current affordability crisis.

Dr. Whitzman is a professor, writer, researcher, and housing and social policy consultant currently working as the Expert Advisor and Outreach Coordinator for the Housing Assessment Resource Tools (HART) project, based at UBC Housing Research Collaborative. She is the author, co-author or editor of five books related to “the right to the city” in both contemporary and historical perspectivesShe is also the author or co-author of over 50 book chapters, articles, and published conference presentations on housing policy, children’s independent mobility, women’s safety, and disability rights. She frequently provides policy advice to local, state and national government and to the UN.

The Klabona Keepers: Screening and Discussion (in-person event)
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
6:30 to 8:30 PM
Stanley A. Milner Library, Edmonton

Attend the Alberta premiere of award-winning documentary film The Klabona Keepers. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Tahltan elders.

The Klabona Keepers is an intimate portrait of the inspiring Indigenous families that succeeded in protecting the Sacred Headwaters, known as the Klabona, northwest British Columbia, from industrial activities. Spanning 15 years of matriarch-led resistance, the film follows a small group of determined elders in the village of Iskut as they heal from colonial wounds to push back against law enforcement, the government, and some of the world’s largest multinational companies. Nestled between scenes of stand-offs and blockades, land defenders reflect on how their history of forced displacement, residential schools, and trauma strengthened their resolve to protect the very land that was so essential to their healing journey.

Date: March 14, 2023
Time: 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Central Library Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall and Virtual Event

Surprise discoveries, Nazi treasure hunters, and a secret Nazi tunnel complex are just some of the improbable events author Menachem Kaiser encountered on his pursuit to reclaim his Holocaust-surviving Grandfather’s property in Poland. Join Menachem as he discusses his latest book Plunder, and the remarkable events surrounding this journey.

This talk was presented in partnership with the Calgary Jewish Federation and Edmonton Public Library.

Date: February 21, 2023
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Virtual Event

Art Spiegelman has almost single-handedly brought comic books out of the toy closet and onto the literature shelves. In 1992, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterful Holocaust narrative Maus— which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus II continued the remarkable story of his parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their lives later in America. Spiegelman believes that in our post-literate culture the importance of the comic is on the rise, for “comics echo the way the brain works. People think in iconographic images, not in holograms, and people think in bursts of language, not in paragraphs.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning artist spoke at a virtual event on February 21, during the first Forward Thinking Speaker Series event of 2023, “A Conversation with Art Spiegelman”. During this moderated event, Spiegelman discussed his career, the recent banning of Maus by some schools, and his art.

This virtual talk was presented during Freedom to Read Week which encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom. “A Conversation with Art Spiegelman” is presented in partnership with Edmonton Public Library.

Throughout the month of February, Bashir Mohamed joined the Library as Black History Month Historian. His work at the Library looked into important figures in Alberta’s Civil Rights History, including Lulu Anderson and Calgary-locals Charles Daniels and Ted King.

The Historian hosted virtual programs throughout February in partnership with the Edmonton Public Library, as well as virtual one-on-one consultations with interested Library patrons.

Bashir Mohamed is a writer and historian focused on the history of the Black Civil Rights movement in Alberta. In his free time, he enjoys cycling and being by the water. For more information, visit 

The Importance of Black Canadian History in the age of #BlackLivesMatter
Date: February 15, 2023
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Virtual Event

Teens, educators, parents and more were invited to this virtual presentation with Calgary Public Library’s Black History Month Historian, Bashir Mohamed. Participants discovered key figures in Alberta’s Black civil rights history and made connections to today’s Black Lives Matter movement.

Online Archival Research in the Age of COVID
Date: Thursday, February 16, 2023
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Virtual Event

Researchers, genealogists and historians of any experience level are invited to learn alongside Calgary Public Library’s Black History Month Historian, Bashir Mohamed. Participants discovered online sources for primary and secondary sources and learn tips and tricks for navigating university websites, public library collections, national and local archives and even

An Evening to Honour Ted King: Patricia Irvine and Bashir Mohamed in Conversation
Date: February 26, 2023
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Online and in-person at Central Library

In recognition of Black History Month, Calgary Public Library’s Black History Month Historian, Bashir Mohamed shared his research behind prominent Alberta civil rights activist, Ted King.

Date: February 5, 2023
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Virtual Event

The Auschwitz Album is the only surviving visual evidence of the process leading to the mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration & extermination camp. Presented virtually from Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum, Yad Vashem, participants explored Auschwitz through photos taken by the SS, letters from prisoners, & survivor testimonies.

In partnership with Calgary Jewish Federation.

Here to Tell: Faces of Holocaust Survivors is a commemorative and educational photography exhibit featuring both living and deceased Holocaust survivors with a connection to Calgary. The exhibit sheds light on each of the survivors’ Shoah (Hebrew word for the Holocaust) experiences, while also providing a glimpse into their lives lived post-war. In partnership with Calgary Jewish Federation.

The exhibit was on display at Central Library in January 2023.

Date: January 26, 2023
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Virtual Event

Is there any connection between recent antisemitic attacks and recent controversies about public Holocaust education? Actually, yes, and it’s built into a strange historic bargain struck between Jews and non-Jewish societies. Here are the parameters of that bargain, and the reasons why we all should opt out.

Dara Horn’s book People Love Dead Jews was the Winner of the 2021 National Jewish Book Award for Con­tem­po­rary Jew­ish Life and Prac­tice and Finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction.

In partnership with Calgary Jewish Federation.


Date: November 10, 2022
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Location: Virtual and the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall at Central Library

Following a virtual school-aged program in the morning, Ben M. Freeman, author and Holocaust educator, shared with attendees how to identify internalized oppression, why Jews represent the canary in the coal mine, and how to combat the self-loathing and oppression that we must all face.

Watch the daytime School Event. 

Date: September 25-November 27, 2022
Location: Stanley A. Milner Public Library, Edmonton AB

In April 2016, artist Carol Wylie attended the Saskatoon Holocaust Memorial service. As survivor Nate Leipciger spoke of his horrifying experiences in a Nazi death camp, and his ongoing efforts to educate and shed light on these atrocities, she was struck anew by the extent of abuse a human being can endure at the hand of another. Several events followed that service, and Carol was reminded of the residential school experience of 150,000 Indigenous children. This exhibition consists of eighteen portraits of Jewish Holocaust and Indigenous Residential School Survivors. In Jewish tradition, eighteen represents the word ‘chai’, which means life. Themes including trauma, ongoing recovery, shared pain, and the indomitable human spirit, are central to this work. With numbers of Holocaust Survivors dwindling, and the same eventual loss of Residential School Survivors, these portraits remain and continue to reflect the strength and courage of these individuals.

Hosted by Edmonton Public Library in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Edmonton.


Date: June 10, 2022

This one-day virtual conference for young writers in grades 10-11 was inspired by human rights, creative expression, and the life and works of Anne Frank. Students in Calgary and Edmonton heard from activists and writers and were inspired to find their voice through poetry, song, memoir, and more. Attendees also had an opportunity to submit their works for an anthology that will be published in Fall 2022.

This conference was organized through a collaboration between Edmonton Public Library and Calgary Public Library.

Date: Sunday, April 24, 2022
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Mossad agent Avner Avraham discovered the original documents surrounding Adolf Eichmann’s capture and trial – an event of world importance. He later became consultant for a major motion picture on Eichmann’s capture – MGM’s Operation Finale starring Ben Kingsley. In this virtual program, Avraham shared his fascinating insights into this rich chapter of history.

Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Time: 7:00

All the Frequent Troubles of our Days – The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler
In this virtual program, author Rebecca Donner chronicled the extraordinary life and ruthless death of Mildred Harnack, the leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany during WWII. Fusing letters, testimony and declassified intelligence documents, Donner reconstructed the moral courage of an enigmatic woman nearly erased by history.

In partnership with Calgary Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton.

View the Recording
Access Code: PCYHkc%4

Date: Sunday, February 20, 2022
Time: 2:00 p.m.

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, is the ultimate source for Holocaust education. Come explore the history of the Holocaust with one of Yad Vashem’s expert guides on a one-of-a-kind virtual tour of the Holocaust History Museum. This exclusive tour will give you the chance to learn the stories behind the personal items on display.

In partnership with Calgary Jewish Federation.

Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Time: 1:30 PM

In honour of Black History Month, Edmonton Public Library and Calgary Public Library invited grades 4-9 classes to a free, virtual presentation by award-winning and internationally renowned Canadian author, Lawrence Hill. Hill read from his middle-grade debut, Beatrice and Croc Harry, and students learned about Hill’s writing practice, his inspiration for the book and the significance of his literary contribution to a greater understanding of black history in Canada.

In partnership with Edify Magazine.


Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Time: 7:00 pm

In a talk about his new novel Beatrice and Croc Harry, Lawrence Hill discussed writing for both children and adults, the formation of racial identity, the artistic challenges he faced in using humour to explore sensitive subjects, and the joys of playing with language and inventing words for readers of all ages. He drew parallels between Beatrice and Croc Harry and his well-known novel The Book of Negroes, and discussed his own experiences with censorship and with the title change of his earlier novel. This event was moderated by Natasha Deen.

In partnership with Edify Magazine.

Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022
Time: 7:00 pm

In honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, internationally renowned Jewish author and educator Ben Freeman discussed Jewish identity, combating antisemitism and raising awareness of the Holocaust. The Holocaust may have ended years ago but the story that led to it is still being written today.

In partnership with the Calgary Jewish Federation.

View the recording. 


Date: Friday, November 19, 2021
Time: 2:00 pm

Fanny was 14 years old when Nazis invaded her hometown of Korzec, Poland (today Koretz) and conditions for the Jews quickly deteriorated. Through this program, Grade 11 students had the rare opportunity to speak with a Holocaust Survivor after watching a video where she recounted her harrowing experiences from the Holocaust.

This program was part of Holocaust Symposium presented by Calgary Jewish Federation (in partnership with MRU) to Social 20 students across Alberta. 96 teachers registered and 4,951 students attended.

View the Recording. 

Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021
Time: 7:30 PM

This virtual Human Rights poetry event united Alberta’s two largest cities, Edmonton and Calgary, and their 2021 Poet Laureates. Titilope Sonuga, Edmonton’s Poet Laureate and Natalie Meisner, Calgary’s Poet Laureate performed their Human Rights related pieces and discussed the impact of the arts on Human Rights advocacy.

View the Recording. 

Date: Sunday, October 31, 2021
Time: 11:00 AM

In this virtual program, DJ Schneeweiss, former Israeli Consul General to Toronto and Western Canada and award-winning public speaker, provided an insider’s view of one of Israel’s most important intellectual and cultural institutions. Participants got to experience some of the Library’s most exquisite and rare pieces, saw a sneak peek of the iconic new building opening in the heart of Jerusalem in 2022, and learned about innovative digital, cultural and educational initiatives that give the NLI an ever-more significant role in the fabric of life in Israel and in the Jewish world.

Hosted by Jewish Federation of Edmonton (JFE); Partnered with Calgary Jewish Federation (CJF)


Human Rights and Holocaust Education Fund

Calgary Public Library and Edmonton Public Library have partnered to raise awareness and engage Albertans in critical dialogue about Human Rights and Holocaust Education. In addition to supporting the Human Rights and Holocaust Education program series for three years, donor funds will support physical exhibits and virtual tours that build on program and events, facilitate community storytelling opportunities and enhance Library collections related to human rights.

The collaboration between Alberta’s two largest municipal libraries is generously supported by the Isadore and Florence Burstyn Memorial Fund for Human Rights & Holocaust Education, the Krell family, and donors to the Calgary Public Library Foundation.