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.
The Victoria Shoah Project invites you to attend our Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) commemoration on Sunday, May 1st, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, at the Victoria Jewish Cemetery on Cedar Hill Road (south from Hillside Ave.). Those who perished in the Holocaust will be remembered as real individuals, as we also honour the strength and resilience of survivors.
This year’s theme is ““Personal Stories of Remembrance and Repair.”
We will hear family stories of survivors and those who perished, through readings from a a Holocaust-centered play, and a new memoir by Isa Milman, a member of Victoria’s Jewish community.
We will include music and songs from that era to move us and remind us of the flourishing cultures in so many locations that were tragically upended by the Shoah. Memorial prayers and reflections will help us to think about how we can act today.
We invite you to share in this event with us. We welcome your presence and support as we gather to remember the past and look towards a future of peace and unity.
Congregation Emanu-El members may be interested in a research project at UVic led by Dr. Charlotte Schallié, in which comics artists were paired with Holocaust child survivors to co-create graphic narratives together.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 7 pm—The Victoria Shoah Project (VSP) invites the public to the annual commemoration of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). Each year, VSP invites the community to commemorate Kristallnacht which was the beginning of the tragic history of attacks on European Jews. The commemoration this year will be live-streamed on Zoom beginning at 7 pm on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.
This year’s program is titled Communities Standing Together Against Hate: Lessons from Kristallnacht. It will be a respectful remembrance of those who suffered on Kristallnacht and in the Shoah (Holocaust) and a reminder of how and why we, we as a collective society, commemorate such tragic events. Remembrance is essential —but we must also act in tangible ways to protect all peoples in our diverse community. VSP invites our political and law enforcement leaders, and representatives from the diverse faith communities to join at the commemoration and lead the community in reading a Pledge of Mutual Respect and Support.
Opens Thursday, November 11, 2021—Bēma Productions opens an eight live performance run of the multiple award-winning play LEIPZIG on Thursday, November 11, 2021 in its black box theatre at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria BC. Leipzig explores the journey of a three-member Irish Catholic Boston family when the mother descends into Alzheimer’s and begins praying in Hebrew, unwittingly revealing her long-held secret that she is Jewish, a child refugee of the Holocaust. The play is a beautiful exploration of religious identity, loyalty, parental bonds and attendant feelings of safety or threat. It is a plea for inclusion at a time of fear and religious polarization and a story of the impact on the second generation.
Sunday, May 30, 2021, at 7 pm—Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites you to join Dr. Suzanne Snizek, when she will introduce the concept of “suppressed music” through musical examples and biographical sketches, and discuss some of the contemporary issues and challenges related to reinstating music that was marginalized for racist and ideological reasons during the Shoah.
Suzanne Snizek has performed and presented extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Dr. Snizek’s groundbreaking research on Music in WWII British Internment Camps has been published by Böhlau Verlag-Vienna, Routledge-New York, the Council of Europe, Berghann-New York, Armand Colin-Paris, and online by the World ORT website.
A former winner of the national Flute Talk Magazine Competition, the UArts Concerto Competition, the New York Flute Club Competition and the Mid-South Young Artist Flute Competition, Suzanne Snizek has performed with the ESO (National Orchestra of Taiwan), and was an active freelance orchestral and chamber musician before receiving her DMA at UBC (Vancouver) in 2011. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, Dr. Snizek released her critically acclaimed CD titled Chamber Music (Re)Discoveries in 2016, and subsequently received the 2017 REACH award for “Excellence in Creative Expression” from the University of Victoria.
Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 7 pm—Please join us on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 7 pm for the online launch of a newly created digital exhibit featuring ten stories told by local community members whose families were devastated by the Holocaust.
Students in the Holocaust and Memory Studies course offered by the UVic Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies worked one-on-one with community members from Victoria, Vancouver, and Salt Spring Island to prepare these unique stories of the Holocaust for presentation. The exhibit centers not only on the actual stories themselves, but also on notions of relationship building, storytelling and transmission, as well as memory work, inter-generational trauma, and active remembering.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg has formally accepted the donation of Mænni Ruben’s Teresienstadt 1945 Autograph Book which belonged to our beloved Susi Deston’s first husband Mænni Ruben z”l. The book will become part of their permanent collection. We are very pleased the book will stay in Canada and at a museum focused on human rights. For more information about the book…
The launch of the Mænni Ruben (z’l) Autograph Book was an overwhelming event. This book captures the experience of the survivors of Theresienstadt camp while recounting the friendship, humour and desire to survive they shared. Thank you, Janna for making this project happen. Thank you, Susi (z”l) for your indomitable spirit and your endless valuing of people. Todah rabah to everyone who made this happen! Everyone is welcome to see the exhibit, replica book and more on the website: https://terezinautographbook1945.ca
August 20 at 11 am PDT, live-stream exhibit & website launch—Please join the Victoria SHOAH Project as we launch a special exhibit of the Autograph Book given by Susi Deston (z’l) to Rabbi Harry. You are invited to tune in on Thursday, August 20 at 11 am PDT.
The book belonged to Susi’s first husband, Mænni Ruben (z’l), a violinist from Copenhagen, who was taken as a young man with his family in 1943 to the ghetto/camp Theresienstadt near Prague.
Beginning in April 1945 as the war was ending, the autograph book contains optimistic and hopeful greetings, pieces of music and beautiful illustrations. Music flourished in the camp during the war. A remarkable piece of history, the book is in the final stages of being donated to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.