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Canada Organizations
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Albert Melul

Oral History interview with Albert Melul. He speaks French, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, English, and some Ladino. He grew up in Tangiers. He was a scout and scout master as a teenager. When Israel was established, he helped move people there but decided to go see the world before settling. When he first came to Canada he worked in a factory in Toronto. He moved to Vancouver for a job with the JCC and National Council. He talks about the Sephardic community as well as the general community in Vancouver.

Susan Quastel

Oral History of Susan Quastel. Mrs. Quastel was born in Amsterdam in 1923. During the early part of WW2 she worked at the Jewish Hospital in Amsterdam. After the war she moved to London, where she had family. While in the UK, she trained to be a nurse at Charing Cross Hospital. She then went to Israel, where her sister lived, and worked at Hadassah Hospital. During her time in Israel, she met her husband, who was from Vancouver, at the Hebrew University. She moved to Canada with him and they got married here. In Vancouver, she worked for many Jewish organizations including Hadassah, The National Council of Jewish Women, the Vancouver chapter of Canadian Friends of The Hebrew University, and the Zack Gallery.

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