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 interview with Ralph Levy. Interviewed by Molly Kumar for SLAIS Oral History class. Ralph Levy was born in February, 1934 in Istanbul, Turkey. He is the youngest of four. He describes the language Ladino, which he speaks fluently. He lived in England as a child, where he witnessed the Blitzkrieg and attended post secondary there in Lester. He served in the British Military and was stationed in Egypt for two years. He met his wife in Lester and they were wed in 1957. After closing his marketplace business in England, he lived in the south of France till a storm struck. In 1968, he immigrated to Canada. He initially settled in Melfort, Saskatchewan, then went to Calgary, Fort McMurray and then moved to Victoria where he resided for thirty years before retiring in Vancouver.
Oral history interview with Elena Bregman. Born in Kraslava, Latvia. She discusses what it meant to be Jewish openly in the Soviet Union. Graduated from Leningrad University after studying finance. She met her future husband in Murmansk. Immigrated to Vancouver in 1991. She describes how the Jewish community in Vancouver aided her in settling in and her job change to cosmetology.
Oral history interview with Gallia Chud. Gallia Chud was born in Staraya Russa, Russia in the year 1923. She briefly describes her childhood in the town prior to her immigration to Canada in December, 1929 at the age of six. Her family settled in Winnipeg where she completed her studies and met her husband, Ben. They married in 1943 and were reunited in 1945 as Ben had been serving in the Canadian military during World War II. Ben was invited to teach at the Peretz School in Vancouver during its establishment and they moved to the city in October, 1945. Both Gallia and Ben were involved with the school for most of their lives while residing in Vancouver, with Ben serving as principal for fifteen years and Gallia serving as president for five while maintaining involvement with the PTA the whole time. They had two daughters. Ben passed away in 1986.
Oral history interview with Anne Chick. Anne Chick was born in was born in China and moved to Shanghai at the age of four, where she resided in the French Concession. She witnessed the Japanese takeover of Shanghai in 1932 and immigrated to Vancouver in 1951.
Oral history interview with David and Vera Bakonyi on the late Peter Bakonyi (Vera's husband and David's father). Peter Bakonyi was born in 1933 in Budapest, Hungary. He met his wife Vera at a high school function. While in Budapest, he trained for the modern pentathlon event (fencing, swimming, horseback riding, shooting and cross country running) and played volleyball all while attending law school. He and Vera immigrated to Canada in 1957 as refugees and wed in Vancouver in 1959. He began solely training in fencing and switched his career path to real estate. Peter was a 6x Canadian Fencing Champion, 18x British Columbia Champion and attended the 1968 Olympic Games after being prevented from attending both the 1960 and 1964 games. He was also a founder of the Canadian Maccabiah Games team. He competed in the Maccabiah Games until his death in 1997. Vera and David discuss the legacy they've established in Peter's honour, such as the creation of the Peter Bakonyi World Cup (formerly Challenge Peter Bakonyi).
Oral history interview with David Nemetz. David was born in Russia in the year 1894. He discusses his childhood in Russia prior to his immigration to Canada in 1912, when he arrived in Winnipeg. David describes his involvement in various Zionist groups in each city he lived in, such as the Young Zionist group and the Habonim Lodge in BC. His involvement in Canadian Zionist movements eventually lead to the establishment of Camp Hatikvah.
Oral interview with Brett Silberg. Interviewed by Debby Freiman. Brett talks about his family's history in South Africa, education, and the Apartheid. He arrived in Canada as a student before eventually immigrating and finding a renewed interest in Judaism.