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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.

John Sitwell

Oral History interview with John Sitwell. John’s family is from Poland. His grandfather’s house in Poland was a large estate with a registration date of 1136. His family owned a sugar mill and sold bagged sugar. John and Rita went back to Poland and toured around the area his family lived. His parents survived the holocaust and then escaped Uzbekistan. They were on some of the first boats to Israel. In Israel, his grandfather owned a granary. They lived in Israel until John was 8, when they immigrated to Canada. They lived in Regina when they got here. John became a school councillor and moved out to the west coast. His parents followed him after they retired.

Elizabeth Wolak

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.

Rose Yorsh

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.

Ophira Schwarzfeld

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.

Ilana Strummer

Oral history interview with Ilana Strummer, interviewed by Jean Gerber. Ilana discusses her upbringing, growing up in Kibbutz Dan, her parents having made aliyah as Zionists. In the kibbutz she looked after children and at the age of 13 she was taking care of her baby sibling. Ilana also completed high school in Israel and completed her military service in kibbutzim after her initial army training. Later, she went on to study physiotherapy. At the same time, she met her husband who originated from Vancouver, where they settled together in 1963. She speaks about her life upon immigrating to Vancouver and about remarrying in 1975. Ilana also discusses her later career in physiotherapy, her involvement in Vancouver’s Jewish community as well as the life of her family as her children were growing up.

Ilana Strummer

Interview with Ilana Strummer. Interviewed by Bill Gruenthal. Ilana discusses kibbutzim in Israel and her family's history. She talks about her physiotherapy work in the Israeli army before immigrating to Canada, and her subsequent involvement in the Vancouver Jewish community.

Allan Nortman

Oral history interview with Allan Nortman, interviewed by Jennifer Yuhasz, in preparation for the 2014 Scribe with a focus on Jewish scrap metal dealers. Allan speaks on his family’s history, explaining how he came to be born in Haifa, Israel, in 1951. Following their short time in Israel, his family moved to England for a few months before setting in Vancouver in 1953. He speaks on his own career as well as his father’s though his own memories from his childhood.

Tamar Glaser

Oral history interview with Tamar Glaser, interviewed by Debby Freiman. Tamar talks about her family’s history and her upbringing in South Africa. In 1974, her family made aliyah, living in Netanya, Israel, before moving back to South Africa in 1980. She went into nursing at the age of 18 before meeting her husband the following year and getting married at 22. They both had their careers in Cape Town as well as had two children whilst living there. Finally, in 1998, they immigrated to Vancouver. Tamar remarks the differences between the Jewish community she experienced in South Africa in Vancouver.

Irma Schneider

Oral history interview with Irma Schneider, interviewed by Cindy Rozen. Irma speaks on her family’s history as well as her early life and adolescence in East London, South Africa. When she was married, she lived in Cape Town, where her children were also born, and in 1980 she immigrated to Vancouver, Canada. She details her family’s and her own experience with immigration and speaks about her marriage and her children.

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