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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oral history interview with Elizabeth Wolak, interviewed by Jennifer Yuhasz. Elizabeth reflects on her childhood in Poland, while discussing her family’s history, including her experience living through WWII. She details her education both ordinary and musical, from which she graduated with honours and after which she was recommended to assist a conductor. Elizabeth started her own professional career conducting in 1952. When it was time for her and her mother to immigrate, they moved to Sydney, Australia, where they had some relatives. It was here that Elizabeth became truly interested in Jewish music. She and her husband, who she’d known in Poland, married in Australia before moving to Vancouver in 1963, where he had eventually settled after the war. Once in Vancouver, she ran a large choir with the Jewish Community Centre. She also speaks about her passion for music and how it has intertwined with her involvement in both Jewish and choral communities in Vancouver, since her immigration. Finally, she speaks about her family.
Oral history interview with Rose Yorsh, interviewed by Judy Lam Maxwell and Jennifer Yuhasz. Rose was born in Sorochintsy, Ukraine (former USSR). Her parents fled shortly after that in 1923 and settled in Alberta for some years before moving on to Winnipeg. She also speaks about the responsibility and hardships she experienced in her adolescence after her mother passed away in 1935. She also talks about her career in the medical field and studying at Johns Hopkins. Rose then explains how she came to meet and marry her husband in Vancouver. She had also secured a position training nurses at St. Paul’s Hospital. Finally, she discusses her time running her husband’s office, as well as the life of family and their successes.
Oral history interview with Ophira Schwarzfeld, interviewed by Bea Berger. Ophira was born in Be’er Sheva. She talks about her family’s existing history in North America, and her trials when she first immigrated to Vancouver at the age of 15. She also discusses her own family’s life, and her weekly activities and involvement within her community.