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JHSBC Oral History Collection Vancouver Anglais
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Elaine Charkow

Oral History interview with Elaine Charkow. Elaine was born in Russia. Her family emigrated when she was 8. They first stopped in Winnipeg where her father worked in the grain business. They moved to Vancouver in 1926. During the 1930's Her mother took in 2 refugees from China. Her father was one of the founders of the Vancouver Free Loan Association. Elaine talks about the importance of the Jewish Community Center on 11th and Oak. Elaine instrumental in finding housing for Polish immigrants. She worked with B’nai B’rith Girls, United Jewish Appeal, and Hadassah.

George Weinstein

Oral history interview with George Weinstein. . George was born in Romania in 1925 and moved to Vancouver as a small child. He talks about his family and his mother’s involvement with the Vancouver Jewish Community. In 1944, he left high school and joined the Canadian Navy. After the war he went to work for his uncle in the scrap metal business driving a truck. He met his life Mildred at a Jewish Youth Group and they had 3 sons together. He talks about his parents coming to Vancouver in 1900 and his mother’s Journey in 1928. He talks about growing up in Vancouver.

Dan Sonnenschein

Oral history interview with Dan Sonnenschein on his mother Bronia Sonnenschein, who was born in Vienna in 1915. Dan talks about his mother’s experience during the war. She was smuggled into Poland after the annexation but ended up living most of the war in the Lodz Ghetto before being sent to camps in 1944. After the war she moved to Prague, where she worked for the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. She got married in Prague and they moved first to Haifa Israel then Vancouver in 1950. Dan’s Father died in 1952. She got a job and raised her children as a single mother. After she retired, she volunteered with many organizations, including JCC and congress. She did a lot of work for holocaust education in BC by going on tours and giving talks to school groups and other organizations.

Alex Kliner

Oral interview with Alex Kliner. Interviewed by Peter Doolan for SLAIS Oral History class. Kliner was born in Philadelphia in 1930. His parents were from Rusia and he talks about his parent’s life and growing up in Philadelphia. At 20 he was drafted to fight in the Korean War. He came back and studied acting at Hedgerow. After he graduated, he went to New York to work on Broadway. Morris Schwartz told him not to go into Yiddish Theatre because it was dying. He talks about McCarthyism and the blacklist in Hollywood and on Broadway. A friend convinced him to move to Hollywood. Here he went to Los Angeles Community College and UCLA and got a master’s degree. His teachers told him not to get his PhD and got into teaching instead. He moved to Vancouver to work at the Peretz School. He then became the program director at JCC. With Tova Sneider he started the Jewish Heritage Theatre Company. Later he became the Executive Director of State of Israel Bond. He also worked with Chelm Cultural Club

Dr. Jacob Narod

Oral history interview with Dr. Jacob Narod. He was born in Vilna and talks about the antisemitism there while growing up. At 22, he escaped and went to London. Then he went to New York, but he didn’t like it so he with to St. Louis, he worked in Scaffolding there. Next, he went to Portland and then up to Vancouver in 1910. He heard that Vancouver was a beautiful city. He talks about people (names and occupations) who moved to Vancouver during that time. He took a course in Chiropody and opened and office in 1929. The depression hit and he moved to Victoria in 1936. He talks in depth about the Victoria Community with a focus on the Synagogue during the war, entertaining the Jewish soldiers and helping refugees. He moved back to Vancouver in 1949. He was an active member of B’nai Brith.

Isaac Messinger

Oral history interview with Isaac Messinger. He was born in Poland in 1929. During the war he was moved to Siberia, Russia. Later in the war he became a chauffeur for a General in the Polish Army, he was 16 or 17 at the time. After the war he ended up in Germany and was a pickpocketing. He got sent to an American school in Germany that was teaching children that were going to immigrate to North America, but he couldn’t sit still in class, so they gave him a job in the garage where he learnt English with the Americans that worked there. He came to Canada at age 18 or 19. He got a job as a tin smith, then he got a job as a carnie and made his way to Vancouver where he worked at the PNE. He eventually opened a steak Restaurant and ran it for a while. He talks about Casinos and Las Vegas. He talks about how he met his wife and their life together.

Cissie Eppel

Oral History interview with Cissie Eppel. She talks about her family history and them moving from Latvia to England. Cissie was born in England. Her father was a tailor. She met her Husband during the war when her family would house Jewish soldiers. She moved to Canada in 1952 with her husband and child. They came by train right to Vancouver. They settled in the West End and opened a picture framing store. She was very involved with the National Council and JFSA. In 1992 she established the Jewish Genealogical Society of BC.

Bill Gruenthal

Oral history interview with Bill Gruenthal who was born in 1935 in Netanya, Palestine. His father's side is from Silesia, Germany and his mother's side comes from Lower Saxony and Aachen. In 1945-46, life became too hazardous, so they decided to get out of Israel. Friends suggested either British Columbia or New Zealand, John contacted both governments; B.C. responded first, that decided him to come to BC. Bill applied for various jobs after finishing a typing course, was declined by Imperial Bank of Commerce because he was Jewish, applied and was hired as junior clerk with an insurance company. He has been in insurance since Jan. 1953. Met his wife, Noemi, at a young adult group that met every Sunday night at the JCC. Talks about “Vancouver Diaspora” and the Vancouver Jewish Community. Bill has been a part of the Jewish National Fund and worked for the Vancouver Board of Trade

Cissie Eppel

Oral History Interview with Cissie Eppel. She talks about her family history and them moving from Latvia to England. Cissie was born in England. Her father was a tailor. She met her Husband during the war when her family would house Jewish soldiers. She moved to Canada in 1952 with her husband and child. They came by train right to Vancouver. They settled in the West End and opened a picture framing store. She was very involved with the National Council and JFSA. In 1992 she established the Jewish Genealogical Society of BC.

Boris Chenkis

Oral history interview with Boris Chenkis in preparation for the 2015 Scribe on Jewish clothiers. Boris’ parents were born in Chernovke, Ukraine. Boris was born in Belarus in 1952. His family moved to Canada in 1959, when he was 7 years old. His Father was an x-ray technician and got a job in Nanaimo. His mother was a cook. They loved in Nanaimo until 1967 when they moved to Vancouver so his mother could open a clothing store. He talks about going to camp Miriam and Habonim. He went to Israel during his gap year on a Habonim program then went to UBC. In 1984, he opened After Five, a clothing store, with his wife. He talks about running the store and fashion.

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