The Children’s Republic

The Children's Republic

Sunday, September 17 discussion following play: — From September 12—October 8, 2017, the Belfry Theatre will present the play The Children’s Republic which is based on the true and inspirational tale of Dr. Janusz Korczak, a selfless advocate for children’s rights. The Victoria Shoah Project has organized an opportunity to discuss the play with a small panel of experts on Korczak and Child-care after the 2 pm matinee on Sunday, September 17.
The Belfry is kindly offering a discount for that performance if you mention Congregation Emanu-El or the Victoria Shoah Project when you call to purchase tickets.

You can call the ticket office at 250-385-6815 for tickets.

Holocaust Studies at UVIC


Mazal Tov to Noga Yarmar on her admission
to UVIC’s Holocaust studies stream MA program
Germanic and Slavic studies. Noga, a teacher at
the Synagogue’s Hebrew School, is one of a handful of students embarking on
this informative and important Holocaust studies program that brings together
the past, present and future.

The Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the
University of Victoria is pleased to announce that it will offer a new MA stream
in Holocaust Studies starting in September 2017. By adding Holocaust Studies to
the Department’s two existing graduate streams of Germanic Studies and Slavic
Studies, UVic will become the only graduate program in Canada to offer students
the opportunity to study Germanic, Slavic, or Holocaust Studies all within one
unified Department.

Students will have hands-on learning opportunities during
the two-year MA program in Holocaust Studies, including a semester abroad, a
practicum placement or summer co-op work term that can be completed in Canada or
Europe, and opportunities to work with Holocaust testimony through collaborations
with the USC Shoah Foundation and the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.

If you would like further information about this program,
please contact Dr. Charlotte Shira Schallié ( or Dr. Helga
Thorson ( If you are interested in contributing to an academic
scholarship or a mobility fund that would help alleviate the costs for students
to travel abroad, please contact Katherine Blake (, the UVic
Development Officer for the Humanities.

UVIC’s I-witness Field

UVic’s fifth I-witness Field School will take place in May
of 2018. So far sixty undergraduate students and seven graduate students have
had the opportunity to study the Holocaust through this University of Victoria
course. The field school explores
the ways in which the Holocaust is memorialized in Central Europe.  Following one week of intensive study at the
University of Victoria, participants spend three weeks in Central Europe
exploring various memorial spaces in at least four different countries
(Germany, Poland, Austria, and Hungary) — from the sites of former
concentration camps to the stumbling stone project, from former ghettos to
railway stations, from cemeteries to T-4 euthanasia sites, and from museums to

The course
attempts to bring together the past, present, and future through the acts of
remembering, comprehending, and imagining:
the horrific atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust, comprehending and comparing the ways the
stories of the Holocaust are told in four different countries today, and imagining a future beyond prejudice and
hate. If you are interested in helping UVic students afford this
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, please contact Katherine Blake (,
the UVic Development Officer for the Humanities.

Yom HaShoah Commemoration

Sunday, April 23,


overcast skies nor a cool wind deterred the more than 100 people from the
diverse Victoria community from attending this year’s Yom HaShoah commemoration
last Sunday. The event was organized by the Victoria Shoah Project, a volunteer
group sponsored by Congregation Emanu-El dedicated to finding innovative ways
of respectfully remembering the Shoah and educating about it. 

Beautiful music
played by Emanu-El members opened the ceremony, followed by welcome remarks
from Isa Milman, who reminded us of the importance of remembrance and the deep
Jewish value of choosing life and living it as moral beings with a purpose of tikkunolam (putting the world to rights). Federal, provincial and municipal political
leaders, the acting Chief of Police and representatives from faith groups stood
together with members from the Victoria’s Jewish and non-Jewish communities for
two minutes of silence in respect and remembrance. 


An important objective of remembrance and education events
organized by the Victoria Shoah Project is to have multi-generational
participation, as this honors the determination of survivors to begin life
again and strengthens the memories of those who perished. This year’s program
was made even more special as Leo Vogel, a child survivor, told his very
personal and emotional story of the tragic death of his family and the heroism
of the Dutch resistance and the Christian family who risked their lives to save
him. He explained that for him remembrance is not once a year, but every day.
When a man with Leo’s direct history asks “When will the world learn?,” the
question has a profound message for us all. 

A presentation by Jillian
and the B’nei Mitzvah students told of the “Twinning Project” where,
as part of their preparation for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, students do research
through Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. 


They each chose to remember a young child who
perished in the Shoah and learn their name, birthplace and any other
information available and in this way bring the child who perished with them on
the journey to a B’nei Mitzvah which that child never could experience. This
learning and connection has a powerful impact and honors the more than one
million children who were killed in the Shoah. These presentations were
followed by the beautiful violin playing of Julien Haynes and Jeanel Laing of
UVIC music program and the evocative singing of Eili, Eili  by Orly Salama-Alber


As remembrance is
central to Yom HaShoah, Rabbi Harry led us in the El Malé Raḥamim memorial prayer and Peter Nadler led those in
attendance in the Kaddish of the Camps,
telling the story of his family who perished and reminding us that while
millions died in the concentration camps there were also a million and a half
who died in villages, ghettos and forests.


The last parts of the
program reflected an important part of our commemoration. Julius Maslovat, who
as a young child survived the notorious Buchenwald and Bergen Belsen camps led
us: Jews and non-Jews, young and old, political leaders and community members,
in the Pledge of Mutual Respect and Support, in which we all commit to stand
together against racism or discrimination against any peoples in our community and
to foster dialogue, based on mutual respect, amongst diverse groups. 

The day
concluded with a symbolic act of regeneration after the horrors of the Shoah.
The children planted a Garry Oak tree. As Isa explained, “What better metaphor
to symbolize our planting new life, right here, in our cemetery, which in
Judaism is called a “Beit Haim” or House of Life.” As those in attendance
slowly and silently made their way through the cemetery, the power of the
first-hand stories of survivors, the example of the B’nei Mitzvah students who
honor children who perished, and the spoken commitment of the broad spectrum of
the Victoria community in attendance to stand together when hatred is directed
at any group are the images and messages that will remain as powerful reminders
of this year’s Yom HaShoah commemoration.

See more photos of the event

The Victoria Shoah
Project welcomes contributions to support its programming. Donations can be made
through Congregation Emanu-El.

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 11am–12pm

On behalf of the Victoria Shoah Project, we would like to invite you to the annual remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). This year’s commemoration will take place on Sunday, April 23, 11 am – noon, at the Victoria Jewish Cemetery on Cedar Hill Road (south from Hillside Ave.). The Victoria Jewish community and friends will be remembering those who perished in the Holocaust as well as recognizing the strength of survivors and the lessons to be learned for all peoples from that tragic event. 

During the service, we will hear the personal story of a Holocaust survivor and hear other readings, songs and reflections from community members representing the second generation and third generations. Our program will conclude with the planting of a Garry Oak tree that will represent the many lives we lost and the hope of new growth and new life through remembering them. 

UVic International Holocaust Remembrance Day

27, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, Farquhar Auditorium lobby, University Centre

join the students of the University of Victoria in commemorating International Holocaust
Remembrance Day
with a special ceremony on campus. Various student,
community, and university organizations will be coming together to remember the
Holocaust whose legacy continues to impact many of us.

The ceremony
will be held on January 27th, from 2:00-3:00pm in the Farquhar
Auditorium lobby in the University Centre, 3800 Finnerty Rd. This event is free
of charge, and there will be general seating, though please give priority to
the elderly and those in need.

order to make this event as accessible as possible, there will be two licensed
American Sign Language interpreters.

event will be held on the traditional and ancestral lands of the Xwepsum and
Lekwungen peoples. We come from a place of respect and gratitude to know that
this memorial will be taking place on their lands.

you to the History Department, UVSS and Multi-Faith services for sponsoring
this event.

For more information,
please email Paige Gelfer.

Kristallnacht Commemoration: An Evening of Remembering and Resiliency

Wednesday November
9, 2016, from 7 pm, 
at Congregation

The Victoria Shoah Project invites everyone to
our annual commemoration of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), marking the attack on Jewish institutions in Germany on November
9, 1938, which left broken glass covering the streets and broken lives, forever
changed by this tragedy.

The targeting of any people is a warning to every society to respect
and protect all ethnic or religious minorities. Please join us to
remember the past and commit to a better future where we will respect and
protect our neighbors and not stand by in the face of attacks on any group. 

The Victoria Shoah Project is a diverse group of Shoah survivors, descendants,
educators and caring individuals whose passion is to share innovative,
informative and inspirational ways to honor, commemorate and educate about the
Shoah and is sponsored by Congregation Emanu-El. 

See its Facebook page, or contact it by email

Alice’s Gift

November 3, 4, 10, 11, 12 at 8 pm

November 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, at 8pm
Matinée November 5, 2pm

Alice Herz-Sommer was born in Prague and lived
through World War II playing piano recitals at the Theresienstadt ghetto. At the
time of her death, at 110 years of age, she was the world’s oldest Holocaust

Besides having a remarkable story of a cultured upbringing, and a
story of endurance and survival, Alice had an extraordinary ability to embrace
life and the people she met. In the play, the audience is warmly invited into
her living room and given the opportunity to hear some of her stories, her
music and her simple but profound wisdom.

This one-act musical play will be performed by Lina
de Guevara, with Charlotte Ridgway, pianist, adding the music that was her
passion and her unique tool for survival. Directed by Kate Rubin.

Performances are at Paul Phillips Hall (1923 Fernwood Road) : November 3,
4, 10, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. with a matinee performance November 5 at 2 p.m. The
play runs 60 minutes. 

Tickets are $20, online at, and in person at Munro’s Books (1108
Government Street).

Concert of Suppressed Music

Monday, June 27, 2016, 8pm


“Suppressed music” is a term that is used to refer to a diverse body of music, predominantly written by composers of Jewish backgrounds, that was suppressed by the Third Reich for ideological rather than artistic reasons

These musical works were systematically prohibited from publication, performance and broadcast. These compositions unfortunately often never found, or in many cases never regained, their place in the standard repertory even long after the WWII era concluded. The composers themselves had typically been forced to flee their countries of origin, were imprisoned in concentration and/or internment camps, and/or were murdered outright in the Shoah. Today this music still languishes in obscurity and remains largely unknown even amongst professional musicians and music educators.

This recording and concert project is part of the larger global effort amongst Suppressed music scholars to reinstate this deserving music into the standard classical repertoire. As other scholars have noted, though it took Hitler little more than a decade to remove many of Europe’s leading composers, it has taken generations to acknowledge, confront and repair the musical and cultural damage caused by their removal.

Dr. Suzanne Snizek began researching this rich vein of music in 2006, as a doctoral student at UBC-Vancouver.  After receiving a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in 2011, Suzanne began teaching at UVic where she has taught a course called ‘Issues in Suppressed Music” and where she serves as the Professor of flute. Suzanne has been actively researching, teaching and performing this vast body of work for the past ten years; this recording and concert project is the culmination of this extensive study period. 

Now, as the recipient of a UVic research and creative project grant, Suzanne is recording six musical works that illustrate the diversity and vitality of the musical styles and ideas that were being explored during that historical era.

Public Concert in Victoria:

Suzanne will be presenting three works from the recording project in a public concert on 27 June 2016 at 8 pm at the UVic School of Music Philip T Young recital hall.

The chamber music works performed in this concert have significant musical value: they are exceptionally well crafted, yet remain totally unknown to most contemporary musicians. By any musical measure, they are extremely well written pieces that deserve to be heard by audiences and studied, performed and promoted by contemporary musicians.

The concert programme for 27 June will be:

  1. Sonata for Flute and Piano by Leo Smit is an exceptionally beautiful piece of music and represents a major contribution to the Sonata repertory for flautists. Leo Smit (1900-1943), a talented Dutch composer of Jewish background, was murdered in Sobibor concentration camp. This stunning Sonata was his last composition, written just before he was arrested and deported to the camps. Smit’s musical language is strongly influenced by the French school known as Les Six, stemming from his contact with them in 1920’s Paris. There is only one existing recording of this excellent work.
  2. Sonata for Flute and Piano by Boris Blacher. German Boris Blacher was a composition student of Paul Hindemith. Blacher was viewed by the regime as politically suspect: he was of mixed parentage, he admired jazz and other “degenerate” styles, and had close personal ties with many Jewish people. Eventually he became involved in politically dissident actions and his career suffered. Taken together, he could be described as in “internal exile.” This unique Sonata features pervasive jazz rhythms and Hindemithian harmonic language. This mature work was written in 1940, before Blacher was forcibly removed from his teaching post in Dresden. This work has never been recorded.
  3. Trio for Flute, Violin and Viola by Jan van Gilse (1881-1944) was an active member of the Dutch resistance. His music was banned and destroyed during the Third Reich’s occupation of Holland. Van Gilse’s two sons were active in the Dutch resistance as well and both were ultimately executed for their political activity; shortly afterwards, van Gilse himself fell ill while in hiding. Admitted to hospital under an assumed identity, he was buried in an unmarked grave to protect those who had protected him during his illness.  This exceptional trio is an unusually substantial chamber music work for the flute.  It is more typical of the string trio genre in its seriousness, difficulty and musical weight, and is a ‘crowd pleaser’ in its sheer beauty and melodic richness. There is only one existing recording of this work.

Performers: Several leading Canadian musicians will be performing with Snizek on 27 June, including violist Keith Hamm, principal of the Canadian Opera Company; violinist Aaron Schwebel, the concert master of the National Ballet of Canada, and pianist Dr. Yoomi Kim, who is currently a faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory. 

Concert details:

  • WHEN: Monday27 June 2016 at 8 pm
  • WHERE: Philip T Young Recital Hall,  UVic School of Music.
  • COST: Admission by Donation; suggested $15 general ; $5 for students/low income

Press: please contact

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Commemoration Event

Sunday, May 8, 2015, 11am–12pm

Victoria Shoah Project members invite you to join them to commemorate Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Sunday, May 8, 11am–12 noon at the Victoria Jewish Cemetery on Cedar Hill Road (south from Hillside Avenue), honouring those who perished in the Holocaust as well as recognizing the strength of survivors and the lessons to be learned for all peoples from that tragic event.

During the service, we will hear the personal story of a Holocaust survivor and hear other readings and reflections from descendants representing the second generation and third generations, Holocaust educators and community members, as well as university students of diverse backgrounds.

The tragedy of the Holocaust continues to reverberate through the generations and provides relevance for Jews and non-Jews alike in today’s world.

We hope you will be able 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.

For more information, please contact:

Micha Menczer and Elisheva Gray, coordinators


Book launch: “Holocaust Memory”

Sunday, March 13, 3:00 pm, at Congregation Emanu-El


A book launch of Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generationsby Eli Rubenstein, organized by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies.

The launch includes a silent auction to support participants in the 2016 I-Witness Field School, a program which brings UVic students to Europe for field research at Holocaust sites. There is no charge for this event, but donations are welcome. 

For more information: email Helga Thorson, Chair Germanic and Slavic Studies, UVic or <; />

(Photo by Lauren Petersen)