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JHSBC Oral History Collection
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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.

Leon Broitman

Oral History interview with Leon Broitman. Leon was born in 1922 in the USSR. He talks about the Ukrainian Holocaust and living in the USSR under Stalin. He started studying to become a teacher but was drafted and subsequently wounded during WW2 and never completed his education. After the war he came to Canada and became a cutter (Tailor) in Montreal. He then moved to Ottawa and opened a store. He also started an investment company that was still in business at the time of the interview (2013). He closed is store in Ottawa and moved to BC. He had 4 children with his wife and talks about them and their careers. Much of the interview is about Soviet Union history and talking about WW2 and the Germans.

Pnina Granirer

Oral history interview with Pnina Granirer. Her was born in 1935 in Romania. During WW2 she went to a Catholic school because Jews weren’t allowed to go to school. Pnina left Romania in 1950 and moved to Israel. She went to architect school but wanted to be an artist. She worked as an illustrator. She moved to Canada with her husband because of work. They originally thought they would move back to Israel, but it did not happen. Pnina is a successful painter and has taught throughout her life.

Zoltan Fleischer

Oral history interview with Zoltan Fleischer in preparation for the 2014 Scribe with a focus on Jewish scrap metal dealers. He was born in Hungary in 1927. His father was drafted by the army in 1938, the army took their horses as well. Hungary was liberated by the Russian Army. He stayed in Hungary until 1956, when he came to Canada. He choose Canada because he had never heard anything bad about it. When he arrived here, he only spoke Hungarian and only had $5.00. His sister, brother-in-law, and him traveled by train across Canada to Victoria. He got a job in a scrap yard saved his money and bought land in Surrey. He opened a furniture business but sold it when the SkyTrain was being built. He then bought Scott Road Trading and Auto Wrecking.

Flora Bluma Field

Oral history interview with Flora Bluma Field. She was born in Los Angeles in 1924. She grew up Orthodox. Her father was a tailor and her mother worked with him in the tailor shop they owned. She studied music at UCLA. She moved to Vancouver in 1957 with her husband. They originally come to meet her father-in-law and fell in love with Vancouver. She got involved with the North Shore Jewish Community Association when she moved here. They celebrate holidays and had Bar Mitzvahs there. She has been volunteering with the Peretz Centre for years and been on the programming committee.

Daniel Ezekiel

Oral history interview with Daniel Ezekiel who was born in Manila. His family is split between Ashkenazi and Sephardic. Daniel talks about his family history and how they ended up in Manila. Daniel speaks 4 languages, his father speaks 5, and his mother 8. In the 1970s political change in Manila caused everyone who could to leave. His family moved to Vancouver. He went to medical school at the University of Toronto. He compares North American Jews to Jews in the Philippines. He went to Israel with a youth group in 1980 and still visits ever couple of years.

Allegra Dayan

Oral history interview with Allegra Dayan who was born in 1914 in Egypt and emigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 1957. She started working as a nurse at age 14. Her father was a Rabbi at the Jewish Hospital. She got married, moved to Cairo with husband and mother-in-law. They had 6 children together. Her husband worked in a bank. In the mid-50’s the Egyptian government force her husband to leave his job. They fled to France. They moved to Canada in 1057. Some of her children moved to USA and Israel. She was active with the Golden Agers. Allegra sings in Arabic.

Dvori Balshine

Oral history interview with Dvori Balshine, who emmirgated to Canada in 1969 when her husband, Michael Balshine, was accepted to do his Ph.D at the University of British Columbia. She grew up in Rehovot surrounded by a large family. She was part of Tzofim (similar to scouts) while growing up. Her family was originally from Russia. When in Vancouver Dvori taught Hebrew at Talmud Torah and the community college. She was the cultural art director at JCC. She was the executive director of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. Talks about being welcomed by the community in Vancouver and becoming involved with the community.

Raya Sitwell

Oral History interview with Rita Sitwell. Her family is from Vilna Poland. Her grandmother was a baker and would make all the traditional baked goods for the holidays. Rita talks about growing up in Vilna under communism and antisemitism in the USSR. They move to Israel in 1970, when Rita was 25. She talks about finding freedom in Israel and later Canada. Her family moved to Montreal. Rita worked as a hairdresser, she tried to work with Jewish people so she could switch to Yiddish when she didn’t know the English words. Her mother loved Montreal because it was better for her health than Israel. They all moved to Vancouver in 1974. Her and John got married in 2000 and she moved to Victoria with him.

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