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

VIJFF 2022! Save The Date

8th annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival
“Captivating Cultural Cinema”

November 1st through 6th, 2022 – Running Tuesday through Sunday, the 2022 VIJFF will again be a ‘free admissions’ / ‘donations appreciated’ event.

In-Person Film Events: Each of the 5 in-person evenings will be a film event, with live pre-show music, a specially catered nosh, and the film screening (note: there will be no film event Friday night).

Online Film Screenings: Via VIJFF’s virtual cinema portal, 3 other films will be available for screening.

Shoah Project Film Event: Wednesday evening’s film event, co-programmed with the Victoria Shoah Project, links the experiences of Indigenous People, Jews, and others.

Family Film Event: For families with children, Sunday afternoon will feature a short (English) film, live entertainment, and special nosh!

Door Prizes: Chateau Victoria is sponsoring a 2-night stay!

Donor Appreciation Movie Lover Lounge: On Sunday afternoon, in advance of Sunday’s closing night film event, and specially & solely for donors (>$150 / $250 for individuals / couples) & sponsors, the VIJFF will host a Movie Lover Lounge. Mingle with fellow community members and film enthusiasts. Nosh on a special VIJFF menu of sweet & savoury snacks and alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages. Invitations forthcoming.

VIJFF Website: Take a look at the brand new site at vijff.ca.

Coming Soon: The 2022 program of VIJFF-screened films.

Save the date! Kind thanks for your continued support!

Summary of event details

  • Date: November 1–6, 2022
  • Time: TBA
  • Where: The Vic Theatre
  • Cost: by donation
  • Contact: coordinator@vijff.ca

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Commemoration Event: “Personal Stories of Remembrance and Repair”

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.

Summary of event details

Theresienstadt 1945 Autograph Book Exhibit Launch

MRT Autograph BookAugust 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.

To join on line…CLICK HERE

To dial in: 1 (778) 907 2071
(For non BC residents: Find your local number here… )
Meeting ID: 848 1978 3591
Passcode: 055337

After the launch you can see the exhibit, replica book and more on the website:

Janna Ginsberg Bleviss, Writer and project coordinator
Richard Kool, Launch producer and website development
Micha Menczer, Victoria Shoah Project

SUSI’S GIFT: Theresienstadt Autograph Book

Theresienstadt Autograph Book

The Theresienstadt Autograph Book, belonging to Susi Deston’s first husband, Mænni Ruben, is being donated to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg for their Holocaust gallery. The book is in remarkable condition for being 75 years old! Continue reading SUSI’S GIFT: Theresienstadt Autograph Book

Why Am I Here?

Why am I here.jpgTuesday, November 5 at 4 pm — Victoria International Jewish Film Festival (VIJFF) Presents the World Premiere of “Why Am I Here?” on Tuesday, November 5, 4 pm at The Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street, Victoria sponsored by The Victoria Shoah Project. The film will be followed by Q & A with film subject Julius Maslovat and Executive Producer Helga Thornson.  Tickets: http://dash.ticketrocket.co/tour/57

Long-time Victoria resident Julius Maslovat grew up knowing he was a child survivor of the Holocaust, but had few answers for how and why he lived.  In this locally produced film, which is premiering at the VIJFF, Maslovat describes the chance discoveries and dogged research that allowed him to piece together his remarkable history. Julius Maslovat was among the youngest of only 5,000 children under the age of 16 who survived the Nazi concentration camps. This is his incredible story.  Julius Maslovat often speaks to local groups about how he answered the existential question, “Why Am I Here?”

Kristallnacht 2017

Lorne U & Suzanne D

This year’s commemorative event for Kristallnacht took place on November 9, 2017 at Congregation Emanu-El synagogue and was attended by over two hundred people from various and diverse backgrounds. In addition to the Jewish community, the attendees included leaders from the Christian and Muslim faiths,  law enforcement, First Nations and government. Continue reading Kristallnacht 2017

Kristallnacht 2017

Victoria Shoah ProjectThis year’s commemoration will take place on Thursday, November 9, 7 p.m. at Congregation Emanu-El synagogue. We will be remembering what took place on the evening of November 9, 1938. Kristallnacht targeted Jews solely for who they were with planned attacks of Jewish owned stores, buildings and synagogues in Germany and Austria while authorities did nothing to stop the assault.  The name Kristallnacht refers to the pieces of broken glass covering the streets but represents the broken lives, forever changed by this tragedy.

November 9, 1938 was only a hint of greater harm to come. The history of Kristallnacht reminds us of how quickly lives can be shattered. Kristallnacht is not only a painful scar in the pages of Jewish history, but a lesson for all humanity. All of us have a responsibility to respond promptly and loudly at the first appearance of injustices targeting any group. This message is particularly significant in today’s world when acts of irrational and violent prejudice are all too common.

Our program will remember all who perished in the Holocaust with a candle lighting ceremony by survivors, second- and third-generation descendants, as well as students and youth, representing our ongoing hope for a future of peace. In addition, the program will include a variety of other speakers, musicians and the reading of our Pledge of Mutual Respect and Support by politicians, multi-faith representatives and law enforcement leaders from the Victoria community and others in attendance.

Please join us to remember the past and envision a better future where we will respect and protect our neighbours, not remain silent in the face of any injustice against any person or group and work towards building bridges leading to unity and shalom (peace) in our own community and beyond.