But I Live Book Launch

The Victoria Shoah Project is honoured to host, along with the University of Victoria, the Canadian launch of a stunning new graphic book, But I Live. Described as “the most powerful collection of non-fiction graphic novellas of the Holocaust since Art Spiegelman’s Maus,” But I Live is the first volume from a pathbreaking partnership led by congregant Charlotte Schallié.

Pairing Holocaust survivors with contemporary artists to create haunting and beautiful stories of resilience and survival, the book elucidates, in the words of Holocaust scholar Henry Greenspan, “the complex relationships between story and image in Holocaust recounting. It is equally a book about relationships . . . between the artists and the survivors and then all of us who are . . . drawn into their vital conversations.”

We hope that many in our community will join a discussion of this important work at a roundtable including Charlotte, artist Miriam Libicki, and survivor David Schaffer.

Mark your calendars for September 11, at 2-4 p.m. at the beautiful Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion, with ample parking on site. Refreshments will be served during a book signing to follow the presentation.


Summary of event details

But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust

Four Holocaust survivors and three graphic artists have worked tirelessly to co-create a series of three autobiographical graphic novels about one of the darkest times in human history. Now, a multi-year global effort culminates in a beautifully rendered, one-of-a-kind collection that frames the enduring lessons of the Holocaust.

The book is available in local bookstores. Click here for details.

Charlotte Schallié is a UVic scholar and Holocaust historian who is leading the graphic novel project. Back in February, our newsletter published links to her remarkable UVic Continuing Studies course: Reconstructing Holocaust histories through visual narratives. UVic has published a fascinating Q &A about her ongoing work supporting the creation of “survivor centred Holocaust graphic novels.” You can read it here.


Isa Milman Launches her Memoir

Sunday, October 17, 2021, 2–3 pm PDTIsa Milman invites you to the launch of her memoir Afterlight: In search of Poetry, History, and Home, on Sunday, October 17, 2021 from 2-3 pm PDT. This will be a free, virtual event hosted by professor/journalist Lynne Van Luven and registration is required. Register here to receive the livestream link. Isa looks forward to your attending, and celebrating this special event with her. Please feel free to share this among your friends.

Dr. Ruth Simkin Launches Dear Sophie

Join Dr. Ruth Simkin as she launches her latest book Dear Sophie on Sunday, July 21 at 2:00 pm, Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria V8W 2J3.  Dear Sophie is Dear Sophie is the continuing memoir of The Jagged Years of Ruthie J. as Ruth fsucceeds in being accepted to medical school only to face sexual harassment and discrimination during her training. Told in letters to her niece Sophie, Ruth weaves a feminist story of perseverance and determination for equality. The book demonstrates to Sophie how to live a happy, productive, feminist life.

In 2010, The Jagged Years of Ruthie J met with critical acclaim; Dr. Simkin has written countless medical papers and contributed to medical textbooks. Dear Sophie: Life Lessons in Feminism and Medicine is her fifth book.

Dr. Simkin worked as a family physician, and later on became a specialist in hospice and palliative care, working at the Victoria Hospice. She is currently retired and resides in Victoria. She happily lives with her Golden Doodle, Kelly, enjoying the fauna and flora from her home.

How writing about the past challenges the novelist!

GG listens

An enthusiastic, overwhelmingly female audience gathered at the synagogue last Sunday to hear Gabriella Goliger speak about her novel Eva Solomon’s War. The audience appreciated the clarity with which Gabriella provided the background to the plot and to the historical setting. Continue reading How writing about the past challenges the novelist!

A River Could Be a Tree

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Wednesday, February 13, 5:30 – 6:30 pm — Angela Himsel launches her memoir, “A River Could Be a Tree” on Wednesday, February 13, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, UVic Engineering and Computer Sciences Building, Room 108.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Join Angela as she discusses her recent memoir about growing up in an apocalyptic fringe religion in Indiana and her journey to Judaism. Himsel’s seemingly impossible road from childhood cult to a committed Jewish life is traced in and around the major events of the 1970s and 80s with warmth, humor, and a multitude of religious and philosophical insights. A River Could Be a Tree is a fascinating story of struggle, doubt, and finally, personal fulfillment. Himsel is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York.

Book Launch: City in Colour

Wong in color.pngTuesday, November 7, 2018 – 7 to 9 pm at 1644 Hillside Avenue — Join Bolen Books in celebrating the release of May Q. Wong’s new book, City in Colour, a collection of rediscovered stories of Victoria’s pioneers, trailblazers, and community builders who were a people of diverse colour. It includes a story about Congregation Emanu-El, Judge Samuel D. Schultz, and Amelia Copperman. Meet the author, join in on a discussion about the unsung individuals of the city’s history, and pick up a signed copy of the book.

Often described as “more English than the English,” the city of Victoria has a much more ethnically diverse background than historical record and current literature reveal. Significant contributions were made by many people of colour with fascinating stories, including:

  • the Kanaka, or Hawaiian Islanders, who constructed Fort Victoria, and members of the Kanaka community such as Maria Mahoi and William Naukana
  • three Metis matriarchs—Amelia Connolly Douglas, Josette Legacé Work, and Isabelle M. Mainville Ross
  • the Victoria Voltigeurs, the earliest police presence in the Colony of Vancouver Island, and who were primarily men of colour
  • Grafton Tyler Brown, now known in the United States as one of the first and best African American artists of the American West
  • Manzo Nagano, Canada’s first recorded immigrant from Japan
  • and many more

With information about various cultural communities in early Victoria and significant dates, May Wong’s City in Colour is a collection of fascinating stories of unsung characters whose stories are at the heart of Victoria’s history.

Guide to Jewish Cemetery Draws a Crowd

Book SigningClose to 50 people came to the official book launch for the Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery written by Amber Woods and published by the Old Cemeteries Society. Rick Kool was the MC on behalf of Congregation Emanu-El and the Cemetery Committee. Short presentations were given by John Azar of the Old Cemeteries Society (OCS) and Amber Woods. Gary Cohen read a short biography as an illustration of one of the three anomalies of the Jewish Cemetery. Books were sold and signed in the social hall and a few Jewish desserts were served.

Shared Motion: Science and Spirituality

Shared Motion

Sunday, June 24 2 pm at Congregation Emanu-El —  Dvora Levin will launch her new book of poetry titled, Shared Motion: Science and Spirituality on Sunday, June 24 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Congregation Emanu-El. Dvora and friends will read selections from her new book. Light refreshments will be served. Books will be available for purchase.

Continue reading Shared Motion: Science and Spirituality

Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery

AmberJewishCemeteryOn Monday, June 18, 7:30 pm you are invited to attend the launch of Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery written by Amber Woods at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Continue reading Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery