Traces of What Was

Traces of What Was


By Steve Rotschild

“How many Jewish children did they take to be destroyed, their worth unknown? The boy on the landing might have been a great painter. But I never saw him again.”

In the fall of 1943, Steve Rotschild and the other children are free to roam the passages and stairwells of the HKP labour camp in Vilna while their parents work. As a game, they construct a secret hiding place from the Germans. In March 1944, it saves all their lives during the Kinderaktion: the roundup of Jewish children who had to be fed but were of no use to the German war effort. The children’s games, Rotschild writes, “were games of survival. The winner lived.”

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About the Author

Steve Rotschild was born in Vilna, Lithuania in 1933. He immigrated to Israel with his mother and new step-father in 1949, and from there to Canada. He married Lillian Blumenfeld in Montreal in 1956 and they raised two daughters who have between them five children. Steve Rotschild now lives in Toronto.

Product Information

  • Release: October 15, 2014
  • $14.95 Paperback
  • 128 Pages
  • 6 x 9
  • ISBN: 9781897470442

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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.