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In their own words: Toronto Survivors address local, national and international issues

Tue, December 18, 2:30 to 4:00pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Cityview 1 Ballroom


In late 1947, a group of Toronto survivors established the “Farband “Shairth Hapleito” . As Adara Goldberg, Frank Bialystok and Jack Lipinsky have demonstrated, by then—and in the two years after--survivors in Canada had a range of encounters with various communal agencies, not all of them pleasant. In their own organization, however, survivors could define the priorities for survivors and try to implement them

Most of our knowledge of the survivors comes from those communal agencies that were trying to integrate them, or from interviews conducted decades after their arrival. But there is another valuable source. In 1950, the organization decided to publish a monthly newspaper/newsletter with the revealing title HEMSHEKH. Although it only appeared monthly for six months (January-June 1950), here we have survivors addressing concerns that are local (e.g. local events and connections with the Jewish community), national (questions of immigration, including the admission of non-Jewish Germans) and international (e.g. reparations, and events in Israel). We also have survivors deciding how they wanted to commemorate, in their new homes, the events of 1939-1945, including how to engage the memory cultures that were developing elsewhere.

This paper will contribute to the robust research now being carried out on memory and the postwar survivor community by David Slucki, Jan Schwartz, Laura Jockusch and others. It will add to our understanding of survivors in the Canadian context. Most significantly, it will examine the MULTIPLE concerns of a survivor community in the first years after their arrival in the New World.


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