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 History interview with Eva Kero. She was born in Budapest in 1934. After the Hungarian revolution in 1956 she and her sister emigrated. Her mother moved to Israel, in 1957, where she had family living. Eva went to Sao Paulo Brazil. Both her and her mother arrived in Vancouver in 1959, her sister was already here working as a photographer. In Brazil Eva worked as a fashion designer. In Vancouver she studied art at Vancouver Community College and UBC. She got a master’s degree in Fine Art History. She talks about her family history, universities in the lower mainland, and being Jewish in Hungary and Vancouver.
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.
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.
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 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.
Interview with Stephen Greenham. Interviewed by Alysa Routtenberg for The Scribe, 2018. Stephen is the co-owner of Sweet Obsession alongside his business partner Lorne Tyczenski. He talks about how the two of them ended up opening Sweet Obsession and how their shop has grown since. Stephen also discusses the role Lorne's Judaism has played in the business.