Interview with Aaron Kafka. Interviewed by Michael Schwartz for The Scribe, 2018. Aaron talks about his experiences with coffee shops and cafes before he decided to open Kafka's in Vancouver. He talks about how his coffee shop sets him apart from competition, the city's shifting food scene, and the importance of relationships in the Jewish community.
Series contains photographs and some letters of the Langer family, beginning with the marriage of Fritz and Olga. Materials were created on Fritz and Olga's travels before having children, in daily life in Vienna, throughout the family's journey to Canada through France and Palestine, in daily life in Vancouver, and when visiting family in St. Louis. Series also includes photographs of friends of the Langer family.
Oral history interview with Sam Rothstein who was born in Russia, 1921. His family left Russia due to anti-semitism and post-revolution fallout, despite his father’s success in the lumber business. His father was Yisrael Leib and his mother was Elka Raisel. They settled in Vancouver because that’s where the rest of his family had chosen to live when they had arrived years before. He attended UBC for undergraduate studies and did a joined honours program in French and English and completed his masters there in French and English. He did his PhD at Berkeley and then got a teaching fellowship at the University of Washington in 1942 as a French teacher. He was drafted into the Canadian military during WWII. He served in counterintelligence. He was shipped to England in June, 1944 and then to Italy, Belgium and then stopped in Holland. While finishing his service, he came across a Librarianship pamphlet. He had money for the first time in his life and felt it was time for a change as he felt distance from the idea of being a French professor. He was invited to the faculty of the University of Manitoba as a French Professor but decided to go to Berkeley instead to become a Librarian, doing his PhD in Illinois. UBC offered him a job while he was briefly on return to Vancouver. He met his wife Miriam in 1948/49 through youth group activities at the JCC, they wed and then moved to Illinois to do his PhD, which he received in 1954 while Miriam worked as the dietician for the men’s residence. In 1961, he became the acting director of the UBC libraries. He also started the library school at UBC that same fall. Their daughter Linda was born in 1955 and Sharon was born in 1957. They were members of Beth Israel and Miriam was active in Hadassah. Sam served as an advisor to Hillel and joined the board at the JCC and eventually became president from 1970-1972. He served as one of the vice presidents of Jewish Congress.
Oral history interview with Isaac Lipovsky who was born in Russia in 1902 but the family emigrated to Winnipeg in 1905 after Issac's brother was born. Issac's father fought in the Russo-Japanese War, finding work at Red River Sheet Metal Works in Winnipeg, later opening B.C. Ceiling and Roofing Company once the family relocated in 1910. After working through a number of businesses, mainly concession stands and selling candy, started working for Woodward's Department Stores in 1932.
Oral history interview with Betty Averbach who was born in Romania in 1921. Her family moved to Canada when she was 3 years old, the Council of Jewish Women met them and helped them get settled. Talks about growing up in Vancouver and the Jewish community here. Her father was a junk peddler when they first arrived. Talks about raising her family in Vancouver and her family's active relationship with the Schara Tzedeck synagogue. Speaks of the importance of the Jewish Community Centre in the life of the community when she was young, the support and confidence it generated amongst Betty and her friends.
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 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.
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