Sustaining Memories: Stories of Canadian Holocaust Survivors

Sustaining Memories: Stories of Canadian Holocaust Survivors


Edited by Paula Draper

The Azrieli Foundation established the Sustaining Memories Project to help survivors write their stories. A unique partnership between survivors and volunteer writing partners who were trained to work with Holocaust survivors on recording and transcribing their stories, volunteers spent countless hours on these testimonies. The strength of the bonds that form when a volunteer and a survivor create a memoir, of the emotional challenges that a survivor faces in the telling and the understanding, and the insight that the listener experiences were all part of an incredible journey. Excerpts of these co-written memoirs, never before published, are produced in this anthology to give readers a wide range of understanding of the varieties of experiences of Holocaust survivors. Sustaining Memories gives voice to Canadian Jews who suffered through ghettos, camps, hiding, fighting in the underground, as refugees in foreign countries or passing as non-Jews in daily fear of betrayal. Following their liberation, survivors often had to congregate in displaced persons camps, where many married, had children and waited years for countries to offer them new homes. Some would end up in the detention camps of Cyprus on their way to pre-state Israel; others found themselves locked behind the Iron Curtain for decades. Between 1946 and the 1980s, they all built new lives in Canada.

Add To Cart

About the Author

Dr. Paula Draper is a Holocaust historian and educator. An early advocate of memory history, she oversaw the videotaping of interviews with four hundred survivors in Toronto in 1986 and then became Lead International Trainer for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation. She has taught in the History department of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), the Jewish Studies department of York University and the Canadian Studies department of University College, University of Toronto. Dr. Draper served as vice-president of the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies for nine years and has created texts for Holocaust-related exhibits in Toronto and Vancouver. She has published widely on the topic of Canada and the Holocaust and is now researching the post-war experiences of Canadian Holocaust survivors.

Product Information

  • Release: January 14, 2020

  • $17.95 Paperback

  • 312 Pages

  • 6 x 9

  • ISBN: 9781988065571

Get the E-book

The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs

Since the end of World War II, over 30,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors have immigrated to Canada. Who they are, where they came from, what they experienced and how they built new lives for themselves and their families is an important part of our Canadian heritage. The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs is guided by the conviction that each survivor of the Holocaust has a remarkable story to tell, and that such stories play an important role in education about tolerance and diversity. Millions of individual stories are lost to us forever. By preserving the stories written by survivors and making them widely available to a broad audience, the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs series seeks to sustain the memory of all those who perished at the hands of hatred, abetted by indifference and apathy. The personal accounts of those who survived against all odds are as different as the people who wrote them, but all demonstrate the courage, strength, wit and luck that it took to prevail and survive in such terrible adversity. The memoirs are also moving tributes to people – strangers and friends – who risked their lives to help others, and who, through acts of kindness and decency in the darkest of moments, frequently helped the persecuted maintain faith in humanity and courage to endure. These accounts offer inspiration to all, as does the survivors’ desire to share their experiences so that new generations can learn from them. Recognizing that most survivor memoirs never find a publisher, the Azrieli Foundation established the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program to collect, archive and publish these distinctive records.