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Holocaust commemoration in Vancouver, B.C., 1943-1975 Schober, Barbara 2001

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HOLOCAUST COMMEMORATION IN VANCOUVER, B.C., 1943-1975 by BARBARA SCHOBER • B.A., Simon Fraser University, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Classical ^Near-Eastern and Religious Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June 2001 © Barbara Schober, 2001  http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/thesauth.htm  UBC Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation Form  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Classical, Near Eastern and Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date  ^UKfO  2.1  cLoO/  20/06/01 10:51PM  ABSTRACT The subject of this thesis is the development of Holocaust commemoration in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia in the period between 1943-1975.  In much of the current literature, the  two decades following the Second World War are considered to have been a time when the Holocaust was virtually absent from the public discourse of North American Jewry. this view,  Commemoration, according to  is said to have been a private affair  limited  to  survivors, a situation which changed only after the appearance of neo-Nazism in the early 1960s, the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, and particularly in the wake of the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973. Based on my own study of the oral and documentary materials pertaining to Warsaw Ghetto memorials in Vancouver, I argue that these  assessments,  which  are  largely  based  on  the  official  announcements and priorities of the national Jewish leadership, are of limited value in a community context, where there is evidence of a considerable variety of responses to the murder of European Jewry long before the awareness-raising events said to have initiated "Holocaust consciousness".  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iii  List of Figures  iv  A Note on Terminology  v  Acknowledgments  vi  Chapter I : Introduction  1  1.1 Historiography 1. 2 Sources  1 10  1. 3 Methodology 1.4 Notes  12 15  Chapter II: 1943-1955  18  2 .1 Background 2 . 2 Commemoration 2 . 3 Notes  18 29 49  Chapter III: 1956-1964  56  3 .1 Background 3 . 2 Commemoration 3 . 3 Notes  56 64 85  Chapter IV: Arnold Belkin's "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising" 4.1 Background  91 91  4.2 Notes  103  Chapter V: 1965-1975  106  5.1 Background 5. 2 Commemoration  106 116  5 . 3 Notes  138  Chapter VI: Conclusion  144  6.1 Summary 6. 2 Notes Bibliography  144 156 157  iii  LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Jewish Western Bulletin. Passover 1952  45  Figure 2 : Jewish Western Bulletin. Passover 1953  45  Figure 3 : "Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto" , 1959  91  Figure 4 : Mural unveiling, 1964  100  Figure 5: Memorial Program, Back Cover, 1967  136  Figure 6: Memorial Program, Front Cover, 1974  13 6  IV  NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY As  many  scholars  have  pointed  out,  the  now-common  term  "Holocaust", as used to denote the murder of approximately six million European Jews during the Second World War, did not enter into  popular  exception.  usage  until  the  mid  1960s, Vancouver  being  no  A great deal of recent work has also been devoted to  the origins and potential implications of the word, but this is a debate which I cannot grapple with here. argument  the  least  cumbersome  In the attempt to make my  possible,  I  employ  the  term  throughout my study as pointing to the wartime events in Europe as distinctly experienced by Jews.  While the term itself did not  enter popular culture in the immediate war and postwar years, I feel that the evidence confirms a fairly well-developed public concept of what had taken place, whether or not there was one specific word to describe it. Turning  to my  use  of  the term  "commemoration",  I have,  unfortunately, had to limit my study to public demonstrations of remembrance: ceremonies, newspaper tributes, religious services, performances, mass meetings, or permanent fixtures intended as memorial gestures to the victims of the Holocaust.  Where possible  I have included mention of private ritual, but this was not a subject that I raised systematically in my research.  v  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  I have many people to thank for their help with this thesis, beginning with my academic advisor Dr. Richard Menkis for his guidance, time, and keen suggestions of topic. My research for this project was facilitated by a number of individuals whom I especially wish to thank: Diane Rodgers and the staff of the Jewish Historical Society, the staff of the Isaac Waldman Library, Roberta Kremer and all those at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, and Natasha, who understandably never wants to see a box of material again.  My thanks also to Roni  Getchman and Karen Snowshoe for their assistance with newspaper research, and to Jean Gerber, Jill Pollack, and Faith Jones for the wisdom of their experience. I  owe the greatest gratitude to my  family, without  nothing that I do would be either possible or worthwhile.  whom A  thousand thank yous for putting up with me. Finally, my sincere thanks to all those whose past I have tried to relate here and who so graciously took the time from their busy lives to share their experiences with me. It goes without saying that I am solely responsible for any errors or deficiencies in the text.  I would like to dedicate this work to my extraordinary and dearly missed Grandma, Ottilie Andrews.  VI  CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Historiography: Despite increasing social and academic scrutiny, the subject of  Holocaust  commemoration  remains  largely  unexplored  at  the  community level, particularly in Canada, particularly in the West, and particularly in the period before  the early 1970s.  of  has  systematic  historians  attention  from  making  however, rather  broad  not  This lack  stopped  assessments  in  numerous matters  relating to the development of Holocaust memory, ranging from mild concern about its contemporary prominence to accusations that the entire discourse is not only recent but entirely manufactured and exploitative.1  Yet, on a local scale, commemorative acts and their  past have seldom been examined in their own right, nor in relation to how one community has negotiated commemoration over a sustained period of time. been  subsumed  Thus far research pertaining to this field has  into  three main  categories:  studies  of  survivor  groups, studies of memory in a national context, and studies of monuments,  museums,  and  institutions  devoted  to  Holocaust  remembrance. For Canada, there are only a handful of works that examine the survivor experience as it relates to commemoration.  Two of  these deal exclusively with Toronto and Montreal, where the number of survivors was proportionally quite high, between 15-20% of the local Jewish population as compared to the roughly 5% represented by the 400 or so survivors who settled in Vancouver between 19451956.2  The much greater number of survivors and the larger size of  the host communities in Toronto and Montreal entailed a dynamic 1  not  present  in  Vancouver,  namely,  "landsmanschaften",  Jewish  mutual aid societies set up by immigrants from the same town or region in Eastern Europe to help integrate newcomers and maintain a link to the past. of  Montreal  As Myra Giberovitch's interview-based study  survivors  demonstrates,  these  organizations  were  crucial, if somewhat insular, vehicles for commemoration  in the  postwar  annual  period.  ceremonies families,  Among  other  remembering often  the  building  things,  such  destruction  small  monuments  (Remembrance) books in their memory. study,  Giberovitch  finds  that  groups  of  their  or  homes  publishing  Based on her  commemoration  held  was  and  Yiskor  qualitative  frequently  the  first and longest-lasting activity undertaken by these groups. According to the similar findings of Leslie Anne Hulse for Toronto, joined  likewise based in large part on interviews, or  created  their  themselves, if at all.  own  groups,  survivors  commemorating  amongst  Only in the early 1960s did this change  with the creation of more politically-active bodies such as the Association  of  Former  Concentration  Camp  Inmates,  raising  the  public stature of survivors and their concerns and leading to the expansion  of  commemoration  "landsmanschaften,"  among  though, these  the  wider  community.  Like  survivor organizations  do not  appear to have had a counterpart in Vancouver.  Thus, my thesis  provides an analysis of a medium-sized Jewish community where two major  factors  maintaining  early  Holocaust  discourse  and  commemoration elsewhere in Canada were absent. As for the experiences of survivors who settled in Vancouver, the only  existing  study  is Jean Gerber's  2  1989 Master  of Arts  thesis, Immigration and Integration in Post-War Canada: A CaseStudy  of  Holocaust  Survivors  in  1947-1970.3  Vancouver,  In  approaching this subject, Gerber collected membership data  from  various communal organizations in order to trace the residential, occupational,  and  ideological  affiliations  established  by  Holocaust survivors as they arrived and settled in Vancouver.  She  also qualified this evidence with a number of interviews.  Based  on her findings of shared social and economic networks, a jointlyheld commitment to Zionism, and the institutional ties created by the mechanisms of immigration, Gerber concludes that despite some admittedly merged  very  into  separate Montreal.  the  set of  painful host  experiences,  community  local  rather  institutions, as was  survivors  than the  create  case  generally or  join  in Toronto  a  and  In addition to providing this important framework for  the Vancouver situation, part of her study also includes certain commemorative projects undertaken by survivors.  This aspect of  the research however, remains largely undeveloped, skimming only the  surface  of  the  community's  overall  activities  devoted  to  Holocaust remembrance. Other than these city by city studies of survivor groups, numerous scholars have touched on commemoration at a countrywide scale, as, for instance, in a collection of studies edited by David Wyman, The World Reacts to the Holocaust.4  Each of these  essays focusses on a particular country and its Jewish community, including Canada, to trace the development of various responses to the  Nazi  extermination  of  European  Jewry.  However,  such  an  approach has both its positive and negative attributes in regard  3  to early  forms of commemoration.  works provide  On the positive  a wider context against which  side, these  responses must be  viewed, for instance, the available news from Europe, immigration policy, and domestic anti-Semitism. attempt  to document  the  There is likewise a standard  "trail of commemoration",  as one work  calls it, sometimes pointing to memorial events organized while the war was still being waged.5  Perhaps most importantly, this  type of approach emphasizes that attitudes toward the Holocaust have  been  evolving  over  time,  particularly  with  each  new  generation. Partly  for  this  reason,  unfortunately,  most  "national"  analyses tend to be very general in their scope, some covering a time-frame  of  almost  Jewish populations  one  hundred  of thousands,  years  or more,  dealing  sometimes millions,  various parts of their respective countries.  with  living  in  By necessity, such  studies do not allow for extended analysis of factors such as the ethnic  press,  rabbinic  influence,  response,  rather, the analytical  organized  Jewish  country.  In  leadership  this  regard,  at  or  regional  focus generally the national  the  task  differences  lies with the  level  of making  in  a  of  a  given  country-wide  appraisal in many ways puts writers at a disadvantage.  Based on  my own research, an individual community setting such as Vancouver provides an ideal backdrop for the study of commemoration and all of  its nuances, some of which  confirm  assessments  made  of an  entire country, others which challenge these findings. In this regard, development  of  some of the drawbacks of approaching  Holocaust  memory  4  on  a  nation-wide  scale  the are  especially  evident  in  two  recent  books  on  this  topic,  Peter  Novick's The Holocaust in American Life, and Franklin Bialystok's Delayed Impact: The Holocaust and the Canadian Jewish Community.6 Both of these authors attempt to document the dynamics involved in the  entrenchment  of Holocaust  awareness  in  the North  American  context, yet their historical models break down when applied to an actual community setting like Vancouver. Although Novick's work The Holocaust in American Life does not  deal with Canada per  se, his  findings  can nonetheless  be  examined in a Canadian context as the postwar Jewish population in both  countries  concerns.  shared  Political  many  of  the  developments  same  such  characteristics  as  the  Cold  and  War  and  McCarthyism likewise had similar effects on both the Canadian and American  Jewish  communities  and  their  leadership.  Moreover,  during the period of my study, the great majority of the rabbis who  served  Jewish  in Vancouver were American-trained,  press  depended  in  large  part  on  services eminating from the United States. used  for  commemoration  were  also  the Anglo-Jewish  Holocaust  in American  Life  American  can  be  news  Many of the materials  despite the differences in context, the general The  while the local  in  origin.  Thus,  assertions made in  raised  in  a  study  of  Vancouver. In the main, Novick argues that the conduct of commemoration, like  all matters  related  to  invocation  of  the  Holocaust,  was  dependent on the patronage of the American Jewish leadership and its changing agenda. we  know  it  today  According to this thesis, "the Holocaust" as was  not  a  distinct  5  event  in  the  popular  imagination during and immediately after the war.  This argument  is extended into the 1950s and early 1960s, when, he asserts, the Cold War environment was such that it was actually detrimental to invoke the Nazi atrocities against Jews. view, occurred  after  The shift, in Novick's  the 1967 and particularly  the  1973 Arab-  Israeli wars, when Jewish organizations reacted to the threat to Israel by actively promoting "Holocaust consciousness". While parts of Novick's basic outline for the postwar years are sound, his argument is driven by the belief that the concerns of the Jewish public were determined mainly by what people were told.  He therefore examines the subject in most part through the  carefully-selected public and private statements of major Jewish organizations National latter  such  as  Community  were  the  American  Relations  not promoting  Jewish  Advisory  Holocaust  Congress  Committee. awareness  in  and  the  Because  the  early years,  including commemoration, he postulates that very little took place outside  of  survivor  circles  and  certainly  not  among  religious  bodies.  Having ruled out spontaneity and local initiative, it  does  appear  not  examining centres  what  or  that was  Novick  actually  synagogues  ever taking  during  these  verified place  this in  totally unique  during  attempting dependent  the to  on  what  Cold  show a  War that  national  and  long before  consciousness agenda,  6  of  Novick  by  community was  being  Unless Vancouver is  in this regard, which is highly unlikely,  were often common sites of Holocaust memory even  Jewish  years, nor  printed in smaller-scale Jewish publications.  hypothesis  these  and commemoration, 1967 the  or  1973.  In  Holocaust  was  overlooks  evidence  suggesting that it already existed. Similarly, the thesis of Franklin Bialystok's Delayed Impact is  that  "historical memory of the Holocaust  evolved  as  a by-  product of the changing circumstances of the Jewish community."7 Based largely on the official pronouncements, or lack thereof, of the Canadian Community  Jewish Congress  Relations  and its affiliate  Committee,  he  asserts  that  body  the  Joint  for  the  first  twenty years after the war, not only was there a general Holocaust amnesia among Canadian Jews, including the Jewish press, but "the community, as represented by its leaders, did little to instill knowledge of the catastrophe, and there was no grassroots desire for this to change."8  He attributes this lack of attention not so  much to the Cold War but rather to a general  sense of ethnic  comfort and the leadership's preoccupation with other issues such as support for Israel.  He does not pursue any of the factors  which may have been sparking memories of the Holocaust, nor the fact  that  the  commemoration  CJC  as of  Ghetto  uprising  during  the  itself  was  1954.  Similarly,  commemorations  in  issuing  programming  the  existence  a number  of  1950s notwithstanding, he adheres  to his  according  to Bialystok  developed  in  the mid  for  of Warsaw  Canadian  discounting such gestures as "a perfunctory effort". point  aids  cities  thesis by The turning 1960s  when  survivors in Toronto and Montreal grew increasingly frustrated by what they perceived as the Canadian Jewish Congress' timid stand toward  neo-Nazism  and  agitated  to  make  their  voices  heard,  eventually gaining positions of power within Congress itself. While  Bialystok's  approach,  7  despite  its  omissions,  sheds  light on the concerns of some of the CJC's national leaders and the tensions that developed with survivor groups, these findings, like the findings of studies of survivor organizations in Toronto and Montreal, do little to illuminate the situation in Vancouver, where again, these dynamics were not present. a  Canada-wide  survey,  Bialystok's  Moreover, in making  basic premise  is  similar  to  Peter Novick's in the belief that awareness of the Holocaust and its legacy required some sort of official endorsement and that the latter was not forthcoming until the mid 1960s when it was deemed to  meet  community  focussing  on  certainly  shaped  needs.  Vancouver, the  I  tenor  Very  early  into  found  that  while  and volume  of  my  own  research  current  concerns  Holocaust  discourse,  there was a continuity in the existence of commemoration itself. Early  acts  necessitating the  framework  of  public  remembrance  had  various  a broader definition of community developed  in Delayed  initiators,  leadership than  Impact, which  ignores,  for  example, the role of local rabbis, editors, or community civil servants.  In this regard, both Bialystok and Novick divide early  forms of commemoration from the public discourse when in fact, as I hope to show, these gestures and events were not necessarily marginalized. Herein, the third category of works related to commemoration, namely, studies of Holocaust monuments and memorial institutions, provides much more nuanced methods of viewing Holocaust memory and acts of commemoration on their own terms. with  the  construction  of  the United  Several books dealing  States  Holocaust  Memorial  Museum, for instance, have broached important issues pertaining to  8  the  group  conflicts  and  politics  involved  in  Holocaust  commemoration, as well as many of the aesthetic challenges raised by the representation of such events.9  In his study of the sites  of memory, James Young has developed several important approaches to this subject, one of them being the concept that both permanent and performative acts of commemoration have their own biography, a past just as crucial as their current form.10  He has similarly  pointed out the crucial role of an event's placement on the Jewish calendar,  not  only  in  anchoring  it  in  the  rhythms  of  annual  observance, but also in lending meaning to•the events surrounding it and vice versa.  A further important notion raised by Young is  the distinction between collective  memory and collected  memory,  for, as he points out, those who participate in commemoration all bring to bear their separate memories of the events, yet, for all but the survivors present, these experiences are vicarious.11 For the purposes of my study, I have attempted to heed a number  of  these  ideas, particularly  the  notion  of  using  the  available oral and documentary record to "re-invest" an event, in this case the local commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, with its own past.  Special focus on the Jewish calendar also  yielded insight as to how Holocaust memories were being evoked during  and after the war, not only on the anniversary  revolt but on numerous other occasions through the year.  of the Finally,  considering the very eclectic groups that were involved in local commemoration, alternative  the  view  to  concept  of  "collected  Peter Novick's  evaluation  something for everybody in the Holocaust."12  9  memory" that  provides "there  an was  Given the impact of the tragedy and the many factions that made  up  the  inevitable  postwar  that  Jewish  different  community  groups  drew  in  Vancouver,  different  focussed on different aspects of the events.  it  messages  is and  What I seek to show  in my work is that this was taking place well before some of the awareness-raising development  of  events thus far used as explanations Holocaust  memory  and  commemoration.  for the Memorial  events did not necessarily entail a unity of memory, rather, those who participated all drew their own personal meaning and memories, resulting  in  a  variety  of  perspectives  and  manifestations  of  remembrance.  Sources: In my approach to this material, I have sought to examine a wide  variety  of  the  available  sources,  beginning  with  the  administrative records that have been preserved pertaining to the local  Warsaw  programs, minutes.  Ghetto  press  Uprising  releases,  Committee,  general  including  correspondences,  memorial and  some  Much of my focus was also directed to the programming  aids, art work, speeches, and dramatic works which were used in conjunction with  commemoration, particularly  content and themes.  in  terms  of  their  Wherever possible I further attempted to find  the source of these materials and to identify the national and international connections involved in Holocaust remembrance during the time period of my study.13  Rich background information for  local and international concerns was also provided by the Jewish Western Bulletin, Vancouver's then-only regular Jewish weekly, as  10  well as the city's two leading mainstream dailies the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province.  All three newspapers provided not  only factual information regarding commemorative events but also an indication of public response, Jewish and non-Jewish. In addition to this documentary record, I was fortunate to interview or listen to existing oral histories with many of the individuals directly involved in establishing and conducting local acts of commemoration.  This group included the organizers and  sponsors of events, but also some of the individuals  who were  relied upon year after year to provide their dramatic and musical talents.  What soon emerged from many of these interviews is that  Vancouver  has  had  a  significant  number  of  people  whose  commemorative activities have been virtually ignored on the one hand, or taken for granted on the other.  In the former case, I  refer to the individuals involved with the local Peretz Shul and the United  Jewish People's Order  (UJPO).  dealt with  later, but  Vancouver's  Jewish left wing and their personal  it bears mentioning  Both groups will be here  that and  thus  far  collective  efforts to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust have received almost no attention outside of their own circle.14  At the same  time, as far as the community's more mainstream commemoration is concerned, there has been scant recognition of the sheer level of volunteerism evenings.  required  to  organize  and  promote  annual  memorial  Thus, as with my approach to the documentary  source  material, I attempted to include a wide circle of the people who were involved. Of course, given the fact that some of the activities  11  in  question took place more than fifty years ago, a number of key witnesses  have  since passed away, and of those  remaining,  the  inevitable problems related to human memory must be considered. Although they were in the minority, a number of the individuals whom  I contacted  based  on  their  documented  involvement  simply  could not remember, at least not in any great detail, while others recalled exact  certain  dates,  aspects  often  quite  vividly but  expressing  genuine  could  surprise  not  pinpoint  when  shown  a  document revealing their participation to have preceded their own estimates.  I  should  add  that  in  our  casual  conversations,  numerous members of the community at large took it for granted that when I invoked "the early years of local commemoration", I was speaking of the 1960s or later. Novick. dates  One or two even quoted Peter  In other instances, I found that some of the oft-repeated associated  accurate.  with  this  history  were  slightly  less  than  Given the timeframe and highly sensitive nature of this  subject, these misperceptions and vagaries of memory are to be expected,  and they offer all the more reason to document  this  history while the opportunity remains.  Methodology: The  wider  dates  of  my  study  correspond  to  what  I  have  identified as the inception of local acts of public commemoration in 1943, during the war itself, and, in the case of 1975, a major turning  point  with  the  establishment  of  a  Standing  Committee  charged with Holocaust education and a Holocaust Committee under the  auspices  of  the  Pacific  Region  12  of  the  Canadian  Jewish  Congress.  Thereafter, the level of community activity related to  the Holocaust expanded quite rapidly, with increasing numbers of survivors and their children taking an active role.15  Rather than  focus on these later developments, however, I have chosen to deal with the decades during which local knowledge and response to what took place in Nazi Europe were just emerging.  For the most part,  my analysis centres on those Jewish residents of Vancouver, new or established, who were attuned to events in Europe during and after the war and who struggled to respond in an appropriate manner. To  deal  with  the period  in  question,  I have  divided  my  chronology into segments of several years, based on identifiable shifts  in the growth and conduct  of  local  commemoration.16  I  commence with 1943-1955, when news from Europe began to filter through major  in  increasing  responses,  commemorate.  detail, initiating  followed  by  the  several  community's  postwar  first  efforts  to  The 1956-1963 period featured the establishment of a  Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Committee and the institutionalization of commemoration,  marked  by  wide-ranging  attempts  to  find  appropriate means to convey the importance of the events. 1964  I provide a brief chapter dealing with what was  Vancouver's  first permanent Holocaust memorial, Arnold  mural "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising". I  examine  the  further  the For  arguably Belkin's  Finally, for the years 1965-1975,  development  and  broadening  of  the  community's impulse to commemorate. For each of these periods, following more  factors.  notable  I have  sought  to outline  the  Each chapter begins with background of the  political  and  community  13  events  that  were  raising  awareness of the Holocaust, either directly or indirectly.  Then  turning to the various acts of commemoration, I examine the events and gestures themselves, as well as the individuals who became involved  and  their  personal  motivations  for  doing  so.  This  analysis also consists of a discussion of the materials that were used  and  community  the  messages  being  presented.  Lastly,  I  reaction and the ongoing concerns of those  include promoting  commemoration. While these divisions in historical time and theme are of course  in  examination  large of  commemoration.  part  many  of  imposed, the  this  approach  previously  allows  for  an  aspects  of  community  is  overlooked  Whether or not Vancouver's  Jewish  representative of others in these matters, it does not hold up to the  assertion  that  the twenty years  following  the war were a  period of amnesia or suppression of the murder of European Jewry followed by a sudden change in policy and the infusion of support on the part of the Jewish leadership. years  other  community priorities were  Throughout certainly  the postwar  paramount, but  they did not preclude the memory of the Holocaust; in fact, the two became irrevocably tied from a very early time.  Thus, the  Vancouver experience presents an opportunity to examine on a small scale  the ways  in which many of the now  familiar  rituals  and  symbols of Holocaust remembrance developed over a sustained period of time.  14  Notes 1. For example, in Branching Out: Transformation in the Canadian Jewish Community, (North York, Ontario: Stoddart, 1998), Gerald Tulchinsky presents a lengthy list of the various activities presently devoted to Holocaust remembrance and awareness in Canada, and, without analysis of these events or their development, he concludes that such memorials are perhaps excessive and detract from the "real" issues facing Canadian Jewish communities. In a much more extreme analysis of Holocaust awareness in the United States, Norman Finkelstein's The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering argues that commemoration is simply one component of manipulating the Holocaust's memory for the self-serving ends of those wishing to exploit it. 2. Myra Giberovitch. The Contributions of Montreal Holocaust Survivor Organizations to Jewish Communal Life, (MSW Thesis, McGill University, 1988), and, Leslie Anne Hulse. The Emergence of the Holocaust Survivor in the Canadian Jewish Community, (MA Thesis, Carleton University, 1979). Population statistics derived from: "Canada," The World Reacts to the Holocaust, p.760, see note 3. 3. See also: Jean Gerber. "Opening the Doors: Immigration and Integration of Holocaust Survivors in Postwar Vancouver, 19491970," Canadian Jewish Studies, 4-5, (1996-1997), pp. 63-85. 4. David C. Wyman (Ed.). The World Reacts to the Holocaust. (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press), 1996. 5. In Wyman, see Milton Shain, pp. 670-689, on South Africa's National Days of Mourning, called by the Jewish Board of Deputies in 1942, or Dalia Ofer's excellent essay on Israel, pp. 836-923, which coins the term "trail of commemoration" in its description of early responses by the Yishuv, such as literary projects of commemoration initiated in 1942, the preliminary discussion for Yad Vashem that same year, and the eventual fusion of aspects of private and public commemoration. 6. Franklin Bialystok. Delayed Impact: The Holocaust and the Canadian Jewish Community, 1945-1985. (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000); Peter Novick. The Holocaust in American Life. (Boston and New York: Houghton Miflin Company, 1999) . F. Bialystok is also the co-author, with Irving Abella, of the chapter on Canada in the above-mentioned Wyman work. 7. Franklin Bialystok. Delayed Impact, p.3. 8. Ibid, p.6. 9. See, for instance, Edward T. Linenthal. Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum. (New York: Viking, 1995) . The literature on representational issues and the  15  Holocaust is vast, but little touches directly on early forms of commemoration. 10. James E. Young. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993). 11. See in particular the chapter "When a Day Remembers: A Performance History of Yom HaShoah," The Texture of Memory, pp.263281. 12. Peter Novick. The Holocaust in American Life, p.184. 13. I was able to perform this search only through the longdistance assistance of several extremely gracious archivists: Ina Remus at the American Jewish Archives, Adina Wachman at the American Jewish Historical Society Centre for Jewish History, Nachum Lerner at the Workmen's Circle (New York Branch), Gunnar Berg at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (New York Branch) , and Janice Rosen and Eiran Harris at the Canadian Jewish Congress Archives. All of these institutions hold important repositories of documents related to commemoration during the period of my study. 14. The exception to this are two works by Faith Jones: "The Vancouver Peretz Institute Yiddish Library: A Social History of a Jewish Library," (MA Thesis, UBC, 1999), and "Between Suspicion and Censure: Attitudes towards the Jewish Left in Postwar Vancouver," Canadian Jewish Studies, 6 (1998). Both studies provide brief mention of Holocaust commemoration in the context of the ideologies and community relations of the two groups, but not at any length. 15. In addition to the inauguration of a highly successful annual symposium for highschool students in 197 6, a second and somewhat different commemorative evening was established in 1977, on the yearly anniversary of "Kristallnacht". That same year a local audio-visual project was initiated to record survivor testimonies. The early 1980s saw the emergence of a Second Generation and Child Survivor group, both of which began sending representatives to conferences and gatherings in Canada and around the world. These various developments, and the growing initiative of local survivors then culminated in the founding of a Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society (VHCS) in 1986, the construction of a monument to Holocaust victims in 1987, followed seven years later by the long-awaited opening of the Centre itself. The VHCS has also become the major sponsor of commemoration. 16. This chronology differs from the one identified by F. Bialystok in Delayed Impact. Bialystok divides his study into three segments: the war years until 1960, during which he feels the Holocaust made little or no impact on the Canadian Jewish community, 1960-1973, as awareness began to grow out of renewed fears of anti-Semitism and the politicization of survivors, and  16  1973-1985, when the Holocaust became what he calls "a marker of ethnic identification for most Canadian Jews."  17  CHAPTER 2: 1943-1955 Background: The Second World War had an immense impact on Vancouver and its Jewish community. British  Columbia,  Hitherto tucked away on the West coast of  the city of 300,000 people  became  a hub of  wartime activity and mobilization, particularly with the onset of the Pacific conflict.  Along with the industrial  shift  to war  production, thousands of service personnel flowed into Vancouver from all parts of Canada, including many Jews who later chose to stay in the city.  The local Jewish population, which would more  than double before  1951, was approximately  in 1939.1  2800  In  addition to its rapid growth, this period was also marked by a residential and occupational transition in the Jewish community as it gained  in affluence, shifting  its  locus  from  the  East  immigrant district of the city to newer suburban areas  end  further  West.2 Pre-war  communal  facilities  included  a  Jewish  Community  Centre and Orthodox synagogue, the Schara Tzedeck, built in 1921 to accommodate the entire community during the High Holidays. Conservative congregation was established  in 1932, Beth Israel,  but it was not until 1948 that its synagogue was built. Schara Tzedeck was opened at the same time. rabbis  served  generally  in Vancouver  considered  the  during  these  community's  A  A new  A number of different years, but  spiritual  the  leader  figure between.  1919-1948 was Rabbi Nathan Mayer Pastinsky, or "Father Pat" as he was known among non-Jews.3 religious  leader  arrived,  In 1943, a second Rabbi 18  highly-respected  Chaim B. Ginsberg,  an  eminent  Talmudic  scholar  Ginsberg  assumed  who  fled  Poland  the spiritual  after  the  Nazi  occupation.  leadership of Beth Hamidrash, a  small ultra-Orthodox synagogue that was established shortly before his arrival. Otherwise,  community  life  was  marked  by  high  degrees  of  membership in various organizations, particularly the B'nai Brith, numerous Zionist bodies, and the National Council of Jewish Women.4 Between 1934 and 1949, Vancouver was part of the Western Region of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the representational organ of Canadian Jewry; it was not until the latter date that a separate Pacific Region of Congress was established,  eventually  public relations primacy within the community.  assuming  Local fundraising  was conducted by a Jewish Administrative Council, mostly through a small  group  volunteered subsidized Western  of  influential  their the  services.  community's  Bulletin  professionals  (hereafter  editorial control.  Until only  and  1962,  weekly  businessmen  the  Council  newspaper,  JWB or Bulletin),  thus  the  who also  Jewish  maintaining  In fact, throughout these years, the caption  just below the paper's title declared it to be "Official Organ of B.C.  JewryX  Controlled  and  Published  by  the  Vancouver  Jewish  Administrative Council." Given Vancouver's  the Eastern European background Jewish  residents,  albeit  of  one  the majority or  even  of  several  generations removed in many cases, events in Europe were a major concern long before the outbreak of war. Novick  Although both Peter  and Franklin Bialystok have emphasized  the physical  and  psychological distance between North America and the "Old World",  19  even  a  seemingly  remote  city  like  Vancouver  reveals  that  reverberations of developments in Europe were experienced quite strongly at the local level.  While it was by no means the only  issue on the community's agenda, Hitler's 1933 assumption of power in Germany and the ensuing escalation of anti-Jewish measures were the  source  Bulletin  of  and  frequent  mainstream  coverage press,  in  often  both  the  breaking  Jewish into  Western  front-page  headlines, and, at times, into local response. The latter occurred twice before the outbreak of war, once in April  1933, when  the Nazis  declared  a nation-wide  boycott  of  Jewish stores in Germany, and then again five years later, on the heels of the November 9-10, 1938 "Night of Broken Glass", during which  hundreds  throughout Jews  of  Jewish  businesses  and  places  Germany and Austria were destroyed  arrested.  Both  of  these  of  worship  and thousands of  developments  prompted  mass  demonstrations in Vancouver, with attendance ranging from 1500 to 1700 people.5  Meetings included speeches by various political,  religious, and lay leaders from both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.  While the 1933 event ended with a single resolution  to urge the Bennett government to intervene on behalf of German Jews, the 1938 meeting concluded with three separate resolutions: firstly, the participants joined the Jewish people in mourning the innocent victims of this persecution; secondly, heartfelt sympathy was  expressed,  especially  toward  those  who  had  been  rendered  homeless and destitute; and finally, it was resolved to press the Canadian government to help solve the refugee problem and to open its own doors to "an appreciable number of refugees".  20  Canada's actual immigration policy vis-a-vis Jewish refugees during these years was an altogether different matter; suffice it to  say  that  it had perhaps  Western world.6  the poorest  record  of  the  entire  Nonetheless, numbers of Jews did manage to reach  Vancouver, if only in transit to other destinations.  The task of  providing hospitality and material aid for these individuals fell entirely on the city's small Jewish community, which mobilized for the  effort.  Between  1938 and  1940, hundreds  of Austrian  German refugees arrived by train on their way to Australia.  and They  were greeted by representatives of the community and placed with Jewish families, staying on for anywhere between a day or two up to several months and even years.  Before Japanese shipping was  halted, groups composed mostly of Polish Jews who had managed to reach Shanghai or Kobe also began arriving at Vancouver's port, where they were met and billeted with families by Rabbi Pastinsky and Bessie Diamond, the local Jewish Refugee Committee's Chairman of Port and Dock Work.7 Thus, before and throughout the war, a large part of the community  was  engaged  in  some  aspect  of  refugee  relief  and  personal contact, in addition to many other forms of war aid work. There  was  also  a  sizeable  number  of  Jewish  refugees  passing  through or residing in the city, all desperately attuned to events in Europe.  With this growing movement of people also came the  flow of information and rumours, adding to the increasingly grim news being reported in the media.8 outline  and  details  of  an  Certainly by mid-1943, the  extermination  policy  were  not  only  clearly available but also evoking a response, as evidenced by the  21  holding of the community's year.  first commemoration in July of that  From the available records, it appears that this memorial  was at least partly prompted by the June 1943 visit to Vancouver of Judge Bernard Rosenblatt, a prominent American Zionist, as well as the publicity given to reports of mass killings being issued from London, all of which emphasized that two million Jews had already been murdered by the Nazis in Poland.9 At about the same time, belated news also broke of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the forty-two day revolt that began on the eve of Passover, April  19th,  1943, when  German  and  auxhiliary  troops  entered the ghetto to liquidate the approximately 35,000 Jews who remained out of an original population of close to half a million people.10 varied,  Although the detail and accuracy of the  uprising  was  described  at  local  length  even  reportage in  the  mainstream Vancouver press, particularly the heavy casualties that the desperate  and poorly-armed  Jewish  civilians,  fighting  back  block by burning block, managed to inflict on the Germans, who brought  to  airplanes.11  bear  tanks,  flame-throwers,  artillery,  and  even  Several reports compared the revolt to the Battle of  Stalingrad, an analogy that induced understandable pride among the editors of the Bulletin.12  If one had, in fact, to identify a key  shift in the local awareness of events in Europe, it would seem to lie in the few months  surrounding the doomed uprising  and the  subsequent reports of mass deportations. Certainly by the end stages of the war, there could be no mistake about the fate of Jewry throughout Europe.  Issue after  issue of the Jewish Western Bulletin carried articles describing  22  the extent of the destruction in regions once occupied by Germany. An  early  May  1945  edition,  as  example,  carried  a  front-page  headline that the Jewish population in liberated cities was 1% of its prewar numbers; below this were two smaller articles "Nazis Slew 1000 Per Day in Lodz" and "450,000 Killed in Hungary".13 new  list  of  survivors  that was  compiled  in  Poland  and  Each other  European countries was announced in the Bulletin and immediately posted at the Jewish Community Centre. figure of  six million  By December of 1945, the  Jewish dead had been  firmly  through local coverage of the Nuremberg trials.14  established  Once the term  "six million" entered the community's vocabulary, it required no clarification  or  explanation  for  readers.  Thus,  while  some  scholars feel that what became known later as "the Holocaust" was not seen as an entity unto itself in these years, the fact that this  oft-used  term  was  taken  for  granted  as  a  universally-  of  the  understood reference suggests otherwise. Even with abounded.  the war's  conclusion,  reminders  tragedy  The Jewish refugee crisis that developed between 1945-  1948 in the "Displaced Persons" camps was frequently featured in the news.15  It bears mentioning here that in Delayed Impact, one  of Bialystok's extended examples of the gulf between the Canadian Jewish Congress  (CJC) leadership in Montreal and survivors still  in Europe was the fact that most of the findings of the two-man delegation Congress sent to Poland were not even translated into English  or  read.16  Yet,  when  Sam  Lipshitz,  one  of  the  two  delegates, came to Vancouver in March 1946 to speak about life in Poland under the Nazis and afterward, his lecture at the Jewish  23  Community Centre was attended by an emotional, capacity audience.17 This turnout should perhaps not be exaggerated, but it confirms the pitfalls of assuming that the actions of the national CJC leadership necessarily reflected the attitudes and reactions of the entire Canadian Jewish community. As for the arrival of survivors in Vancouver, aside from the few sponsored by relatives living in the city, approximately fifty young survivors arrived between 1947-1948 under the auspices of the  CJC's  "Orphan  unspecified  Project",  numbers  of  followed  "tailors"  a  from  brought to Canada through Congress.18  short  the  while  DP  later  camps,  by  likewise  In late 1949, hundreds of  the remaining Jewish refugees in Shanghai were taken to Vancouver on a temporary basis, though a substantial number of them chose to remain.19  As  community  to  with  previous  provide  arrivals,  for  the  it  fell  on  residential,  the  Jewish  material,  and  occupational needs of all these -individuals, many of whom were placed directly in the homes of local families. been well-documented  that many  Although it has  survivors did not wish  or  feel  comfortable enough to speak about their experiences, their mere presence,  I would argue, made a silent impact that  is clearly  detectable in many of the community's oral histories, particularly those individuals who were the age peers and acquaintances of the younger survivors. in her  At the same time, as Jean Gerber demonstrates  study, the task of finding work  energetically businessmen  taken  and  up  by  some  professionals,  of  many  for the  the of  survivors was  community's  whom  took  a  leading heartfelt  interest in the lives of the refugees, opening their own homes to  24  all.  While there was certainly an imperative for the survivors to  look to the future, these personal connections and contacts all had  a  distinct  impact  on  the  support  given  to  Holocaust  commemoration as it developed. Similarly, support  the  although  creation  the  of  community's  the  State  of  mammoth Israel  efforts  in  many  to ways  overshadowed memories of the Holocaust, the two issues were very much  linked  in  public  discourse  long  before  1967  or  1973.  Palestine, in the first place, was seen as the natural destination for the survivors still trapped in Europe, both for practical and philosophical reasons.  This was expressed in a JWB declaration  only  the war  a few days after  ended by  the  President  of the  Vancouver Zionist Organization, M. Freeman, who wrote: "For the Jews who have managed to survive this holocaust, Palestine and Palestine  alone  stands  out  as  their  Palestine can they start their broken ultimate  restoration."20  During  this  only  refuge.  Only  in  lives anew with hope of period  the  paper  also  frequently featured page-wide captions such as "Out of the Camps\ Into Productive Life\ With Histadrut", or "Remember the 6,000,000Let Us Fight to Save Those Remaining!"  Campaign funding for the  United Jewish Appeal in these years invoked similar connections. Often, the occasion of Israel's anniversary prompted commentary to the effect that if the State had only existed in 1939, millions of Jewish lives would have been saved. Moreover, soon after 1948, a deeper causal nexus developed between  the Warsaw  independence.  Ghetto  uprising  in particular  and  Israel's  By 1949 editorials began appearing stating that the  25  spirit and example of the ghetto fighters had imbued the Jewish pioneers in Palestine with the strength to rise up against what had become the empty promise of a Great Power: "their death with honor was translated  into dignity and nationhood  for Israel."21  This link was reiterated again and again in these years, taking many forms, but it became enunciated most clearly around Passover each  year, when  themes  of  freedom  fighting  in  Jewish  history  flowed naturally into invocations of both the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and its perceived ties to the Israeli War of Independence.  In the 1951 Passover issue, for instance, the  editorial asserted that the greatest lesson to be drawn from the uprising  was  spiritual  in  nature,  namely,  that  it  was  a  demonstration of the weak prevailing over the strong, revealing a source of hidden power in Jews that was fundamental to Israel's creation.22 Thus, although Israel was the community's main focus as of the latter part of the 1940s, many issues directly tied to the Holocaust  were  deeply  intertwined  with  this  support.  Renewed  concerns about Germany also came to the fore in the early 1950s, inevitably raising memories of the Nazi era.  Beginning at this  time, reminders of the millions of Jewish dead often appeared in the articles condemning West Germany's rearmament and the rapid rehabilitation of war-criminals in all sectors of German society, as well  as condemnation  of the  permitted to enter Canada.23  fact  that  ex-Nazis  were  being  The fear that many such individuals  who had escaped abroad were now planning revenge against Jews and Israel also emerged.  Some of the most heated of community debates  26  during these years arose over whether or not Israel should enter into  direct  reparations,  negotiations the  initial  with  the  Bonn  feeling being  government  negative,  even  over  invoking  comparisons to the Jewish councils which were appointed during the war  and which were  thereby widely  seen  as  complicit  with  the  Germans .24 Within the Jewish community, all of these emotional issues were  made  doubly  contentious  by  the  onset  of  the  Cold  War.  Although frequent denunciations of Germany were made by community leaders in these years, even some of the local rabbis expressed how delicate it was to protest subjects like rearmament without being labelled a Communist.25  The fear of being tarred with this  brush was particularly acute in Vancouver given the prominence of a branch of the United Jewish People's Order (UJPO), a left-wing, Yiddish-oriented  cultural  Toronto.  Despite  Communist  Party  organizations  not of  tended  and  political  being  officially  Canada, to  organization affiliated  membership  overlap,  and  based  between  certainly  in  with  the  the  two  the  local  perception of the UJPO was that it adhered to the Communist line on all matters, including an anti-Israel stance. this  was  awareness  accurate and  (in many  activism  of  cases  it was  members  of  the  Whether or not  not) , the UJPO  political  rendered  them  profoundly attuned to the events and aftermath of the Holocaust, and they were not adverse to raising these issues in debate. In 1951, for example, when the Jewish Administrative Council voted  on  a motion  to  expel  the  group  on  the  charge  that  it  subscribed to views inimical to Jewish interests, as had already  27  been done in all but the Pacific Region of the CJC, one of the spokesmen for the UJPO argued that "conformity by compulsion was the path chosen by Hitler."26  A similar plea was made two years  later, during a second attempt to have the group expelled, when a UJPO supporter stated that such a measure was "contrary to the tradition of our people and to the historic lessons of the Warsaw Ghetto fighters whose tenth memorial we will soon be observing. The heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto learned in the face of death the need for unity when confronting a common enemy."27  This sentiment  notwithstanding, the UJPO was in fact expelled from the Council at this meeting, the result of several years of simmering McCarthyera tensions and resentment on the part of the community's Zionist organizations.  The UJPO was thereby denied the use of the Jewish  Community Centre and JWB.  Although this rift never fully healed,  it is interesting to note that those attempting to mediate the dispute  also  frequently  invoked the need  for community  unity—  including unity in support of Israel—by pointing to what they saw as the example of the Warsaw Ghetto fighters.28 By the early 1950s then, contrary to the findings of scholars asserting  its  Holocaust  had  near-total directly  marginalization,  and  indirectly  the  entered  public discourse and activities in various ways.  events the  of  the  community's  It was not a  dominant issue by any means, but the course of its effects can be followed in the extensive media coverage and response going back to Nazi anti-Jewish policies beginning in 1933 and radicalizing in mass murder, to the efforts to aid and absorb the refugees and survivors  of  these  policies,  and  28  in  the  early  1950s,  to  the  connections  being  made  between  current events in Germany.  the  Holocaust  and  Israel  and  Although the Cold War did influence  the course of public debate related to the wartime events, it by no means silenced it.  In fact, all of these factors laid the  ground for various forms of remembrance.  Commemoration: Vancouver's "trail of commemoration", as mentioned, begins on Sunday the 25th of July, 1943, when members of the city's three Jewish congregations were joined by numerous non-Jewish citizens at a gathering at the Schara Tzedeck synagogue at Heatley Avenue and East Pender Street to memorialize what was then believed to be the two million Jews already murdered by the Nazis in Poland. the  prelude  to  this  commemoration,  the  following  In  editorial  appeared in the Jewish Western Bulletin describing the upcoming meeting as an opportunity to ...express, as a group, the admiration which each holds in our heart for the Polish Jews who have been sacrificed to the hatred of Hitler. It may seem superfluous to suggest that any organized tribute should be paid by our small Jewish community in Vancouver when each of us knows that our thoughts are ever with these people who have contributed all that life can give. It is only fitting, however, that this tribute be made as it will serve not only as simply homage to the Polish Jews but will help to keep before each and every one of us that we are not alone as individuals in our admiration for our people but are part of a great torrent which is surging forward to wash frever from the face of the earth the scourge that is Hitlerism. As we gather together this Sunday each of us will recall the individual ' sufferings of the Polish Jews which have been reported to us, but in the larger sense the individual cases will be exemplified by the horrible tortures, death and forced suicides of so many of the Jewish leaders in Poland. It is our constant duty to carry before us the pictures of those people whose noble but painful death is making possible the groundwork for the new world toward which we are surely approaching.29 29  Thus, as one of the earliest local calls to commemorate, this event was remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it enunciated a duty to remember what was seen even then as the martyrdom of Polish Jewry, twenty months prior  to the end of the European war.  From subsequent reports, it  appears that attendance was very good, although exact figures are not  given.30  The  gathering  was  chaired  by  David  Cherktow,  a  stalwart member of Schara Tzedeck and B'nai Brith, while the key organizer of the event was Jack Kalisky, a prominent Warsaw lawyer who had arrived via Kobe, Japan in 1942.31 become  the  president  of  a  Kalisky had recently  "Polish-Jewish  National  Committee"  composed of twenty-five or so of the Polish refugees in the city. Other memorial consul  participants  in Vancouver.  included  Bjenton  Brown,  Each of the community's  tendered  in English,  Polish,  Polish  rabbis was also  involved, including Rabbis Pastinsky and Ginsberg. the dead were  the  and  Prayers for Yiddish.  The  audience subsequently joined in prayer for an early victory and just retribution for the Nazis. For his part, Jack Kalisky's speech on this occasion invoked the "heroic stand made by the approximately 4 000 Jews in Warsaw who  fought  and  annihilated."32 emphasize  heroism  resisted Thus,  the  the  Nazis  tendency  and martyrdom  of  but  who  those  evidently  were  finally  commemorating  developed  early;  to in  fact, these themes can be deduced even in the JWB's above-quoted call to pay tribute to the "sacrifice" and "forced suicides" of so many Polish Jews, as well pride in the perceived role that Jewish martyrs were playing in bringing about a "new world". 30  All of  these  themes  commemoration.  and their variations  later  emerged  as  staples of  It bears pointing out, however, that Kalisky and  many of those present were from Warsaw.  They were memorializing  the confirmed destruction of their homes and families, and this event was, in the first place, a somber act of mourning. its long-term significance should not be overstated.  Perhaps  On the other  hand, nor can one discount the fact that while still in the midst of a world war, a small Canadian Jewish community, including local leadership, refugees, and non-Jews, organized an event in memory of the Jewish victims of an ongoing, unprecedented mass murder. In the years immediately after the war, community response to the Holocaust  consisted  absorption of refugees. in various  forms.  in most part  of material  aid  and  the  Nonetheless, commemoration did take place  In 1945, on the second  anniversary  of the  Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the JWB ran a long tribute article that had been written for the occasion one year earlier by Pierre Van Paasen, a. prominent non-Jewish Zionist writer and journalist who lived in Canada.33  This particular tribute reaffirms how quickly  the details of the uprising had attained a near-legendary status. Van Paasen provides a vivid description of the battle, with the might  of  the  German  army pitted  against  workers, shopkeepers,  rabbis, men, women, and children fighting with their bare hands. He calls it the greatest act of courage ever, to be reckoned with Masada, Verdun, and, of course, Stalingrad. He then describes how the end came for two separate ghetto groups, the first, a band of fighters who, having depleted their ammunition, stood together—one wrapped in a flag of  31  Zion—and,  singing the Hatikvah, destroyed themselves and any nearby Germans with a grenade; the other group, a party of worshippers, made their final stand in a Shul, reciting the Shema.34  He writes,  "Thus they died as they lived, as Gideon, as Judah Maccabee, as Bar Kochba, as Akiba."  And they did not die in vain according to  Van Paasen, they died so that Judaism could live and that Jews everywhere could hold their heads high, so that Jewish children could grow up in the safety of Eretz Israel, and ultimately, they died "for freedom of the spirit and the ultimate establishment of the Kingdom of God." Here then, is an early text which reveals many of the themes already connected with the uprising in the imagination of some, in this case, a Christian of Calvinist background  who was  deeply  philo-Semitic and Zionist: Jews from every walk of life uniting in a desperate battle of liberation and human dignity in proportion to the greatest military feats of ancient and modern history, in the spirit of Judaism's legendary religious and military leaders. There is also a clear link between this struggle and a Jewish state in Palestine, which, in turn, is linked to a better world in general, in fact, no less than the "Kingdom of God".  To this end,  Van Paasen bestowed equal degrees of martyrdom on those who died fighting Kiddush  and  those  haShem,  the  who  died  in  prayer,  sanctification  of  all  the  having  Divine  performed  Name.  The  latter, at least, can be inferred from the poem which concludes the article: For all the saints who from their labors rest, Who Thee, by deeds, before the world confessed, Thy Name, Adonai, be forever blest! Amen!  32  The inclusion of this piece in the JWB was clearly an act of homage timed to coincide with the uprising's anniversary.  Despite  the passage of two years of world war, the impact of this event evidently continued to be felt. made  in March  symphonic  194 6, when  poem  "The  the  Warsaw  A similar type of tribute was JWB published  Ghetto"  by  Harry  the  text  Granick  of  the  and  Sam  Morgenstern, which had premiered a few weeks earlier at New York's Carnegie Hall.35 refers  to  the  The excerpted text of this powerful work also Jews  of  the  Warsaw  Ghetto  "Barkochbas" and the Maccabees, beseeching with battles!"  as  heirs  them to  to  the  "Praise God  As with the Van Paasen text, the poem concludes on  a universalist note, though, one less religious in character: To the last man, To the last woman, To the last flag-defiant child, they are consumed. The ash is cold. But the incandescence--the incandescence will not fade! It hangs in the air of time A clarion flame against all oppressors, A glowing handclasp to all common man, A beacon on the bridge to the belonging together of all humanity! The final three lines of the poem bind past, present, and future  Jewish generations  in a perpetuity  of memory:  Warsaw, you live!\ You live in us! \ Forever live!"  "Jews of  Thus was the  Jewish identity of the ghetto fighters retained and to some extent internalized,  though  their  directed to "all humanity".  freedom-fighting  legacy  remained  This assertion of both universality  and an inherited Jewish duty to remember was also expressed in a poem printed on the anniversary of the uprising in 1949, this time by  Canadian  Jewish  writer  Nathan  Cohen.36  After  invoking  "Ancestral heroes sired in sorrow," Cohen calls on the memory of 33  the fighters to animate the present with their "sacred light": Make us recall! Now hear my prayer, hear my plea, You humble builders of liberty, Guide us forever on our way To mankind's brighter, better day, But if we to truth turn weak deaf ear Surrendering to coward's fear, Should we diminish, or worse forget, Make us recall our matchless d e b t Make us recall! Such literary tributes were perhaps not very high-profile, particularly when compared to the local fanfare which accompanied the anniversary of Israel's establishment, but as one of the first expressions  of  commemoration  they  reveal  a continued  sense  of  awareness as well as pride in the focal point of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.  Judging  from  the  themes  of  these  pieces,  the  JWB  editors who included them were sympathetic to what they saw as the historic significance of the uprising, as well as the articulated importance  to remember.  This was certainly  the case with Abe  Arnold, * editor of the Bulletin from February 1949 to July I960.37 Previous  to coming  to Vancouver, Arnold  was  involved  with  the  Anglo-Jewish press in Toronto, giving him early exposure to not only  the  reports  from  postwar  Europe,  but  also  some  of  the  survivors and war correspondents who had witnessed the devastation first-hand.  All of these factors, he feels, contributed to his  positive view of the importance to commemorate.38 Evidently, what appeared  these convictions in the Bulletin.  had a considerable  effect  on  In this regard however, it is  important to bear in mind what one longtime community official described as the "supervisory relationship" between the paper's editor  and  the  Jewish  Administrative 34  Council.39  The  latter  maintained  a  sometimes  Bulletin, particularly  tight  hand  if members  on  what  appeared  felt that something  in  the  that was  printed was not reflective of community opinion or best interests. This  occurred  on  several  occasions  during  Arnold's  time  in  Vancouver as editor, but never over issues involving commemoration or, for that matter, any articles related to the actual events of the Holocaust.  There is thus little indication that any form of  self-censorship  or  suppression  was  taking  Nazi  atrocities,  even  if,  attention  to  as  place Peter  in  bringing  Novick  has  asserted, it was contrary to the political climate of the times. Nor was Arnold the first or the last JWB editor to give prominence to these issues.  His successors, Sam and Mona Kaplan, who were  decidedly more right-wing and under no constraints  from Council  after 1962, were staunch supporters of community commemoration.40 As for the period of Arnold's tenure, in addition to his own editorial  encouragement,  the paper would  regularly  feature  the  writings of Dr. Isaac I. Schwarzbart, an ardent Zionist and former member of the Polish government in exile and perhaps the leading advocate of commemoration in the postwar period. World  Jewish  Congress'  (WJC)  As head of the  Organizational  Department,  Schwarzbart published voluminous commentary and reports about the state  of Warsaw Ghetto commemoration  around  the world,  which  were  Jewish  news  widely  interested bodies.  circulated  to  the  all of  services  and  His writings appeared sporadically in the JWB  in the late 1940s, becoming regular features of coverage by 1953 onward until his death in 1961.  Parts of his reports' were often  quoted verbatim in the Bulletin, one example being his 1954 call  35  on affiliates to "launch a major project of enduring educational or cultural value that will perpetuate the traditions of Judaism," for instance, a travelling Warsaw Ghetto library.41 At the national level, the Canadian Jewish Congress resolved to  "sponsor  the  anniversary  of  the  Warsaw  annually" at its October 1953 Plenary Session.42  Ghetto  Uprising  Between 1954 and  1958 the CJC's Adult Education Programming Services issued four extensive programming aids toward this end, parts of which were sometimes  featured in the JWB, such as the stated purposes of  commemoration  in 1954, the first of which was to: "Deepen the  conviction in the cause of freedom everywhere in the world, and support  and  liberty."43  preserve  the  rights  of  all  people  to  life  and  The Bulletin also faithfully announced the date set by  the CJC and WJC alike for each year's commemorations, which both organizations based on the date set by the Israeli government, namely, the 27th of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar; in its program aids,  the  CJC  added  the  instruction  that  groups  wishing  to  commemorate could do so at any time between April 19th and July 22nd, as those were the dates during which the uprising lasted. Once regular commemoration did begin in Vancouver, it was always held, as far as possible, on the Sunday closest to the revolt's anniversary, irrespective of these guidelines.  Nor was this ever  commented upon in the Bulletin; both dates would be announced side by side.  It was not until the early 1980s that this occasion was  observed on Yom HaShoah. At events  any of  rate, well before  the  Holocaust  also  any  of  these  stimulated  36  a  developments, different  form  the of  commemoration in Vancouver.  Although the city's Yiddish-speaking  population was not large, the wartime and postwar influx of Jews from other parts of Canada, particularly Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto, brought a sizeable number of highly dedicated Yiddishists to the city. Peretz  In 1945, a group of these individuals established a  School,  a  small  afternoon  shule  where  the  community's  children could experience secular, progressive Jewish education. According  to  development  those  was  involved,  the  the Holocaust.  driving  impetus  The mass murder  of  for  this  the  great  majority of the world's Yiddish-speaking population presented a tremendous void to fill, a fact the founders were acutely aware of.44  Or, as expressed in September 1945 by the school's first  principal, Ben Chud, "The best monument that we can build to the six million Jewish dead is to enlarge the I.L. Peretz School in our city."45  The school's very reason for being was thus grounded  in a living, activist form of remembrance.  When a long-awaited  new building for the school was opened in January 1962, it was officially dedicated with a plaque to "Our Six Million Martyrs" by survivors and Peretz members Kiva and Mary Knoop. The school began commemorating on a yearly basis in 1948, when members invited the entife community to "a memorial evening for the heroic dead of the Warsaw Ghetto".46  Program  features  included a banner that read "We shall not forget", the singing of the Partisan Song (then referred to as Song of the Vilna Ghetto) , poetry readings, violin renditions, and two speeches.47  In his  address, Principal Ben Chud declared that "We have come together to take the flag of freedom under which they struggled and which  37  they passed into our hands, " while the president of the shul Sol Wyne  asserted  the need  to not only remember but  fascist forces still alive in the world.  to  fight the  At the conclusion of the  evening, as the JWB relates, "the audience stood with bowed heads and took the vow never to forget the fallen heroes of. the Ghetto and the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazi beast."48 This type of commemoration became an integral part of the school's yearly calendar. Given the left-leaning orientation and social concerns of the Peretz School, there was a fair degree of overlap between its members and members of the United Jewish People's Order.  The  latter became involved in Holocaust commemoration soon after 1948, particularly through the UJPO Drama Workshop, a sub-section of the organization dedicated to theatre with a message.49  By the early  1950s the Drama Workshop was putting on a Warsaw Ghetto memorial evening, renting a space at the Peretz School for the occasion. The  theme  of  these memorials was  "Never  to  forgive, never  forget," and in the early days commemorations were kept  to  fairly  simple, something like a sketch, slide show, or dramatized reading to background music, as well as speeches in English and Yiddish. The  rendition  highlight  of  materials  for  of any  the  Partisan  memorial.50  these  evenings  Song  was  The  UJPO's  lay  with  a  central priority  anything  and  moving  in  finding  produced  by  witnesses and victims themselves; many works were obtained from survivor committees in Poland and the YIVO Institute in New York, or from Yiddish literary journals and anthologies.  Interestingly,  two other important sources of material in these early years were  38  the  CJC  programming  aids  and  World  Jewish  Congress  reports  mentioned above.51 Another work often used by members of the Drama Workshop in the early 1950s was "Genesis", a powerful poem by Jules Alan Wein that  takes  the  Biblical  text  as  its  point  of  departure  to  incorporate the events of the Holocaust—"In the beginning there were\ transports, " and so on.  At certain points the narrative  opens to the voices of the perpetrators, always emphasizing the cold, scientific nature of the killings: "The human infant\ Passes sixteen  fluid  drams  of  urine,\  If  punctually,\ German Fascist Time..."  wrested  from  its  mother\  The crescendo of the poem is  reached with the Warsaw Ghetto revolt--"And the sixth day dawned, defiant\ Kidush Hasham".  The conclusion of the work reads thus:  "And it was evening, the seventh\ day, \ And death was but the birthcry of\ the morrow."52  Thus, here again are the themes of  sanctifying the Divine Name and a new world as the result of the uprising, though meant here in the secular, revolutionary sense, what the poem calls "the brotherhood of blood and\...battle!" keeping with always  the  presented  simple, raw tone with  the  lights  of  the  text,  dimmed,  a  In  "Genesis" was single  candle  illuminating the scene.53 While works  like Novick's  The Holocaust  in American  Life  suggest that left-wing involvement in Holocaust discourse was to some degree political posturing  in line with Communist  policy,  this hardly seems the case with UJPO members in matters pertaining to commemoration.  Being Yiddish-speaking often meant that their  families had arrived more recently than others, rendering the loss  39  of extended  family in Europe more profound.  The latter was a  pronounced motivating factor in the case of Claire Klein Osipov, a well-known Yiddish singer and stalwart of commemoration for over fifty years.  For her, the Yiddish songs of Holocaust victims lent  a sense of the deeply human tragedy involved; though they could no longer speak for themselves, singing the songs of those lost was her way of ensuring that their memory would not be forgotten.54 Another longtime contributor to the Drama Workshop, Oscar Osipov, always approached commemoration with what he feels was dignity and reverence.  Both as an actor and as a Jew, he found the Holocaust  a deeply moving subject to undertake, as was the. perpetuation of Yiddishkeit. unrelated  Even to  the  the performance events  of  the  of Yiddish  war  was  theatre  seen  as  a  totally form  of  commemoration.55 Politically speaking, it is true that underlying these UJPO activities was an urgent feeling that the message of the Holocaust was not being understood, that message being that it could happen again, that Germany continued to be a potential  aggressor, and  that the nuclear threat made it crucial to take an activist stand against the ever-present forces of fascism and imperialism.  The  basic lack of popular knowledge about the Holocaust in these years was also a problem.  Oscar Osipov, for one, would often speak  about the events after a performance. group  recall  being  ready  and  Numerous members of the  willing  to  perform  anywhere,  accepting any invitations that came their way.  Some of their  early  of  venues  even  included  the  community  halls  the  local  Ukrainian and Russian Federations, where they would present works  40  related  to  groups.  the  Holocaust  to  the  left-wing  factions  of  these  Otherwise, the UJPO's commemoration during most of the  1950s appears to have been rather insular, attracting mainly those who  were  after  already  their  involved  1953 expulsion  with  the  organization,  from Council.  On  particularly  the  other  hand,  members feel that they filled a real need for those who believed remembrance was important, particularly when, as they accused, the mainstream Jewish community was oblivious to the issue. This  perception,  however,  was  not  quite  accurate.  Commemoration of an ostensibly more traditional nature, that is, religious memorials, began as soon as the war ended, when special Sunday  services were held at each of the  synagogues  following  "Victory in Europe Day", to "offer thanks for those of our faith found remaining alive in Europe," and to offer prayers "for those of our faith lost previous to that period."56  It is most probable,  of course, that prayers for the Jews of Europe were often said throughout  the war  as a part  of  sermons  and  regular worship.  Certain festivals such as Purim would surely have evoked parallels with the genocide taking place in Europe; in the immediate postwar period  the analogy between Hitler and Haitian was  a  commonplace  feature of the rabbinical columns written for the Bulletin on this occasion.57 during  Rosh  which  to  Hashanah offer  was  another  prayers  or  natural  religious  Jewish  commentary  holiday about  delivery from the Nazis, as witness by the 1943 message from Rabbi Ginsberg.  After invoking the need for increased prayer and study,  he wrote,  "May the Almighty G-d  United Nations.  speedily bring victory  to the  May a deliverance come to our persecuted brethren  41  during this year.  And may we see, in the coming year, the true  establishment of our Jewish National Home."58 Unfortunately, the available record does not allow for a more detailed view of postwar rabbinical involvement in commemoration until 1952 and onward.  In the meantime however, a significant  religious gesture of remembrance was made on the part of those involved  in  the  construction  synagogue, Beth Israel.  of  the  community's  Conservative  A plaque on one side of the sanctuary  doors of Beth Israel reads as follows: In a spirit of humility and reverence and deeply conscious of the immortal continuity of Jewish religious life, we dedicate this building to the sacred memory of all synagogues in Europe destroyed by the rage and fury of Nazi hate and oppression. 5709 - 19485 It is not immediately apparent what may have influenced this particular dedication.  Conjecture points at least in part to the  rabbi of Beth Israel, David C. Kogen, a future vice chancellor of the  Jewish  Conservative  Theological  Seminary.  congregation  between  Kogen 1946  served  and  Vancouver's  1956.  In  the  introduction to the synagogue's 1949 Dedication Book, he asserted that the plaque was not a mere formality but rather a promise to the dead of Europe: "We have taken up the torch of Judaism from the place where  your  failing hands have  holding high this torch. hopes,  and  aspirations  dropped  it.  We  are  It is we who must realize your dreams, for  Judaism."60  On  a  personal  level,  Kogen's experiences as head of one of the committees charged with settling the community's younger Holocaust survivors also appears to have had a major impact on him, at least judging  from the  prominence given to this group in his 1951 M.A. thesis.61  42  Again  though, whether or not Kogen' personal contact with survivors or historical sensitivities played a role in the dedication of the synagogue is difficult to establish. In 1952, all three Vancouver  rabbis were  involved  in the  first community-wide commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, part of which consisted of the use of a special memorial service for the six million prepared by the Synagogue Council of America.62 Each rabbi conducted a portion of this service and then spoke of the significance of the uprising.63  Rabbi Ginsberg, it seems, took  a personal approach, speaking of the loss of his family.  Rabbi  Mozeson of Schara Tzedeck asserted that there were times when one had to make exceptions to the Ten Commandments "in the interests of survival and human welfare."  He went on to say that fighting  back was a great virtue, a lesson carried out by the Israel.  Rabbi Kogen suggested  Haggadah  be  Passover.  composed  for  that a special  the uprising  since  Jews in  addition to the it  had  begun  on  In recalling the event, he emphasized that not only was  it the first time that Jews were united, but it was also the first time other than in Soviet Russia that the Germans were forced to withdraw from the field of battle.  He concluded that the struggle  demonstrated "the desire of the Jewish people to 'live with honor and die with honor'," adding that it was much more difficult to live with honor. Based  on  these  comments,  the  community's  rabbinical  leadership was well attuned to the history and perceived lessons of  the  uprising,  religious  and  otherwise.  On  the  tenth  anniversary of the battle in 1953, Rabbi Kogen devoted his weekly  43  sermon to the subject of "Ghetto Uprising in Retrospect".64 1954,  all  three  synagogues  announced  the  following  In  special  services on the last day of Passover: Rabbi Goldenberg of Schara Tzedeck would use a special prayer and ritual dedicated to the Warsaw Ghetto martyrs; Rabbi Ginsberg would honour the heroes who battled for their lives and ideals against overwhelming odds and who wrote another chapter in Jewish history; and Rabbi Kogen would dedicate his sermon to the "heroic Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto".65 Thus, even if the events of the war were by no means a dominant part of the community's discourse during these years, in both the rabbinic and popular imagination, the Jewish calendar itself had become  infused with the historic parallels  revolt.  and  imagery  of the  Each Passover season and anniversary of the uprising,  followed so closely by Israel's Independence Day, these memories and ties were in clear evidence. This was  certainly  Western Bulletin.  the  case with  coverage  in  the  Jewish  Aside from occasional articles throughout the  year, often in connection to issues like German rearmament and restitution,  almost  all  reflection  appeared around April or May. especially issues  manifest  in  the  devoted  to  the  Holocaust  In 1952 and 1953, this interest was covers  (see Figures 1 and 2) .66  of  the  Bulletin's  Passover  Both of these feature a Jewish  family seated for a Seder meal, metaphysically surrounded by the heroes  of  Biblical  Jewish .history. motifs  as  well  as  The  1952  cover  a  figure  who  involves could  partisan\ ghetto fighter or a soldier defending  be  prominent either  Israel.  a  In a  vivid example of how inter-connected these themes had become, the  44  editorial that follows the front page, in fact, makes  specific  reference to Israel being once again threatened by enemies, among them  modern  Egypt,  whose  army  was  being  trained  by  "German  The 1953 cover, though it does include Exodus motifs at the very top, is dominated by the imagery of armed resistance and destruction, save for a glimpse of a plow and field of wheat. This  picture  was  drawn  specially  for  the  Bulletin  by  Arnold  Belkin, then twenty-two, an artist from Vancouver who would later donate the community's first permanent Holocaust memorial.  45  Belkin  was visiting at this time in conjunction with his one-man show at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  In the editorial describing Belkin's  depiction on the 1953 Passover cover, emphasis  is laid on the  wheat field as a symbol of renewal., with the assertion that the fighters could have been either from the ghetto, the Palmach, or Haganah,  indeed,  "the  quest  for peace  and  hope  for  a  better  tomorrow agitated the materially hopeless struggle of the ghetto fighters  as much  as  it  did  the  victorious  resistance  of  the  Israeli Army."68 Given these popular linkages and the political issues that were being debated at this time, it seems hardly coincidental that 1952 also marked the mainstream Jewish community's first official Warsaw Ghetto Memorial, held at the Schara Tzedeck Synagogue. event  was  sponsored  by  the  Jewish  Community  Council,  The whose  president Dr. J.V. White gave a speech recalling that Jews had been the  first to fight for their beliefs and  mentioned,  all  three Vancouver  rabbis  also  freedoms.69  participated.  As The  committee in charge of arrangements was headed by Sam Tenenbaum, a local businessman and community activist originally from Poland, and one the most active and personally-involved of the individuals who had helped to settle Holocaust survivors, including  several  members of his own family. The dramatic piece chosen for the event was actually one of the first works to treat this subject, Morton Wishengrad's radio play  "Battle  October  1943  of  the Warsaw Ghetto", which  on  NBC's  "The  Eternal  Light",  program of the Jewish Theological Seminary.70  46  was a  first hugely  aired  in  popular  Although this work  emphasizes the heroism of the battle, as its title would suggest, it  also  pays  considerable  tribute  to  the  cultural  resistance  manifest in the ghetto, including its socialist aspects: "In the cellars wherever  of  the  there  tenements was  a  the  patch  children  of  dirt  went the  to  older  classes; boys  studied  agriculture; carpenters taught their trade to clerks with chests; schools; free."71  the  watchmakers  the  artists  Themes  of  and  taught  the  leather  their  martyrdom  art.  are  also  makers And  all  opened of  prominent,  and  thin trade  this was especially  considering the early date of its composition; as the play opens and El Moleh Rahamin is chanted, the narrator declares of the ghetto dead: "let him sing and hear him with reverence for they have made an offering by fire and an atonement unto the Lord and they have earned their sleep."72 For the Vancouver memorial in 1952, this work was performed by a group of amateur Jewish actors involved in theatre circles. According to the Bulletin, the meeting was attended by 250 people and  described  as  a  "solemn  and  impressive  evening".73  publicity preceding this event is also significant  The  in that the  following comment was made: For many years now it has been felt that there ought to be an appropriate recognition by the community of the heroic struggle of the Jews of Warsaw who went down fighting against the nazi hordes; some event to recall the rich cultural life of the Jewish community of Europe destroyed so utterly. The Warsaw Ghetto is considered a dramatic symbol of the destruction of six million Jews by the Germans. It is anticipated that a community-sponsored memorial meeting will become an annual event.74 Considering  the  fact  that  it  was  not  until  1956  that  commemoration of this nature did become institutionalized, it is  47  difficult to judge if the sentiments expressed in this particular announcement  were  based  on  local  realities  or  if  they  were  prompted in part by the positive reinforcement of Dr. Schwarzbart of  the  WJC,  who,  as  mentioned,  was  championing  just  commemoration in this period through the Anglo-Jewish press.  such At  the local level in Vancouver, whatever momentum had built up to prompt the event in 1952 was not carried over for another four years.  This did not mean that commemoration ceased; ironically,  as described above, in addition to Abe Arnold at the Bulletin, the two groups that continued to be most active during the interim were the community's rabbis on the one hand and the United Jewish People's Order and Peretz Shule on the other.  Soon though, the  absence of a community-wide commemoration was clearly being felt on the part of some, leading to important changes.  48  Notes 1. Cyril Leonoff. Pioneers, Pedlars, and Prayer Shawls: The Jewish Communities in British Columbia and the Yukon, (Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1978), p.87. 2. See Jean Gerber's "Immigration and Integration in Postwar Canada". Also the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia's (hereafter JHSBC) Interview Tapes of Morris Saltzman (December 1984-January 1985). 3. Leonoff, p.128; also JHSBC Interview Tapes Morris Saltzman (1984-1985) and Ben Pastinsky (1972), Rabbi Pastinsky's son. 4. Ibid. All three sources indicate an unusually high per capita involvement in organizational life in the Jewish, community. 5. For 1933: "Hitler and His Propaganda Denounced at Mass Meeting," JWB, April 13, 1933, p.l; "Hitler Tyranny Protest," Vancouver Sun, April 7, 1933, p.l; "Persecution of Jews by Nazis Scored," Vancouver Province, April 7, 1933, p.24. For 1938: "Strong Protest Made by Vancouver Citizens," JWB, November 25, 1938, p.l; "Canadian Home for German Jew Refugees Demanded," Vancouver Sun, November 21, 1938, p.3; "1700 Vancouver Folk Vote to Invite Jewish Refugees to Canada," Vancouver Province, November 21, 1938, p.5. 6. This record is detailed at length in: Irving Abella and Harold Troper. None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948, (Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys, 1982). 7. JHSBC Interview Tapes of Bessie Diamond (May 1974), Jeanette Chess (August 1971), and Ben Pastinsky (May 1972). All three describe how on a given night there might be any number of newcomers in their homes. Aside from the coverage of refugee arrivals in the JWB, both mainstream newspapers sometimes displayed considerable sympathy for the Jews forced to leave Europe, see for instance, "150 Jews Sail From City, Flee Hitler's Wrath," Vancouver Sun, November 23, 1938, p.l. 8. Personal interviews with Paul Heller (December 2000 and February 2001). As an active member of both the Polish emigre and general Jewish community from November 1941, Mr. Heller recalls that word of mouth played an important role in the transmission of news from Europe. 9. "Zionist Hopeful for Post-War Era," Vancouver Sun, June 5, 1943 p.27; "Jews May Go To Palestine," Vancouver Province, June 5, 1943; "Seventh of Jews Exterminated," Vancouver Province, June 11, 1943, p.4. The latter article gives a country-by-country breakdown of Jewish deaths, concluding, "The Germans have transformed Poland into one vast centre for murdering Jews." Judge Rosenblatt's speech, given at a grand rally at Hotel Vancouver, outlined the proposal that Palestine could absorb the two to three million 49  European Jews who would survive the war. 10. Estimates as to the actual length of the revolt tend to vary. Sporadic fighting among the ghetto ruins continued well into the summer months of 1943. The forty-two day figure represents the period of heaviest resistance, culminating in the total destruction of the ghetto itself and the murder or deportation of the remaining inhabitants. A small number of the resisters were able to escape. 11. "Hun Tanks Wipe Out 40,000 Warsaw Jews," Vancouver Sun, May 14, 1943, p.l; "Hun Division Quells Bloody Polish Revolt (Warsaw Jews Rebel)," Vancouver Province, May 2 9, 1943, p.l; "Warsaw Jews Kill 300 Nazi Elite Troops (Ghetto Cost Huns 2300 Casualties)," Vancouver Sun, June 4, 1943, p.l. 12. "The Ghetto Fights Back," JWB, June 1943, missing exact date. Unfortunately, the existing archive of the Bulletin lacks much of the coverage for this period. What does exist, however, shows that the uprising made a lasting impact. See, for instance, "Nazis Used Poison Gas in Warsaw Ghetto," JWB, September 24, 1943, which re-invokes many details of the battle based on a report delivered that week to the World Jewish Congress. 13. JWB, May 3, 1945, p.l. On June 8, 1945, the Bulletin also published the written report of Senator Leverett Saltonstall, one of the party of twelve American senators who was sent to Germany to view some of the liberated concentration camps at the request of General Eisenhower. 14. JWB, December 28, 1945, p.l. 15. A local connection to these events was provided by the reportage of Lottie Levinson, a Vancouver nurse who was sent to Europe as a relief worker with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Levinson's letters home, addressed "Jewish Community Centre", were prominently featured in the JWB. 16. Frank Bialystok. Delayed Impact, pp.37-39. 17. JWB, March 15, 1946, p.l. 18. Gerber, "Immigration and Integration in Post-War Canada." A country-wide book-length account is also available: Fraidie Martz. Open Your Hearts: The Story of the Jewish War Orphans in Canada, (Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1996). The majority of these young people were aged between fifteen to twenty-one. Many of the refugees admitted as tailors did not exactly meet that definition either; certain allowances were made by CJC representatives in Europe however, as before 1948, both the orphan and labour projects were among the only avenues of bringing Jewish refugees to Canada. 19. "178 Jewish Refugees from Shanghai," JWB, October 6, 1949, p.l. According to Roberta Kremer, the current director of the 50  Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, thirty-three families with roots in wartime Shanghai were identified during research for a recent exhibit.  local Jewish successfully  20. M. Freeman. "Our Solidarity is Within Palestine," JWB, May 11, 1945, p.l. Note that Freeman's use of the term "holocaust" was still rare during these years. That said, in the synagogue's 1949 Dedication Book, Beth Israel Men's Club President Allan Gold also wrote, "The men, women, and children who have survived Hitler's holocaust must be helped to reach the promised land now. They cannot wait any longer." 21. "Passover, the Warsaw Ghetto, and Israel," JWB, April 14, 1949, p.2. 22. "Eight Years After the Revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto," JWB, Passover Issue, April 20, 1951, p.10. 23. See, "Remembrance Day and the Germans," JWB, November 9, 1950, or the editorial on p.2, "A Time for Anger". 24. JWB, April 9, 1952, p.2. For an extremely vivid example of local outrage also see letters to the editor for June 5, 1952, p.2. 25. Rabbi Maxeson. 1951, p.2.  "A Purim  Perspective,"  JWB,  February  15,  26. "Pacific-Region of Congress Turns Down Vote to Disaffiliate UJPO," JWB, October 9, 1951, p.l. 27. JWB, March 19, 1953, p.2. 28. "Warsaw Ghetto and Israel Independence Day," JWB, April 9, 1952, p.2; "Warsaw Ghetto Anniversary," JWB, April 9, 1953, p.l. 26 JWB, July 23, 1943, p.2. The headline on the front page read "Memorial Services for Martyred Polish Jews This Sunday Evening at Schara Tzedeck Synagogue." Announcements for the meeting also appeared in the city's two leading mainstream newspapers, the Vancouver Sun, July 24, 1943, p. 8, "Memorial Service for Murdered Jews", and the Vancouver Daily Province, July 24, 1943, p. 5, "Plan Memorial for Dead Jews". 30. "City Requiem for Jews Who Died In Poland," Vancouver Sun, July 26, 1943, p.8; "Vancouver Jews Hold Memorial," Vancouver Province, July 26, 1943, p. 5. The Bulletin issue for this time period is regrettably lost. 31. Personal interview with Paul Heller (February 2001) and Susan Bluman (December 2000) . According to Mr. Heller, Jack Kalisky was unable to practice law in Vancouver, but he eventually became a legal counselor to Vancouver's Polish community and a kind of liaison between the city's Jewish and non-Jewish Poles. 51  32. "City Requiem," Vancouver Sun, p. 8. 33. Pierre Van Paasen. "The Historic Battle of Ghetto," JWB, Passover Issue, March 28, 1945, p.17.  the  Warsaw  34. This type of description, namely, of Jews going to their deaths singing Hatikvah or reciting the Shema, which became a popular motif of early commemoration, was assumedly based on news reports printed during the war, a local example being "Jews Sang Hatikvah on Way to Death Camp of Treblinka, " JWB, March 3, 1944, p. 1. 35. JWB, March 1, 1946, p.2, "Strictly Confidential" column. 36. Nathan Cohen. "To the Ghetto Heroes," JWB, April 14, 1949, p.l. 37. All personal information pertaining to Abraham Arnold was acquired through several phone conversations and personal correspondences between February and April 2001. 38. According to Mr. Arnold, the Vochenblatt carried pieces about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising every year, including the abovementioned "To the Ghetto Heroes". In fact, the author of this poem, Nathan Cohen, preceded and succeeded Arnold as editor of the English section of the paper. Cohen went on to become a prominent theatre critic and television personality. On a personal note, a further important factor in Mr. Arnold's awareness of these issues was his rapid acquisition of the 1946 work The Black Book — The Nazi Crime Against the Jewish People, one of the very first compilations of evidence documenting the Holocaust. 39. JHSBC Interview Tapes of Lou Zimmerman (November 1984). 40. For an overview of differences in editorship, Tightrope of Independence: Vancouver," A Century of the (Ottawa: Borealis, 1989).  the Bulletin's history, including see: Lewis Levendal. "Walking the The 'Jewish Western Bulletin' of Canadian Jewish Press, 1880s-1980s,  41. "Cultural Memorials to Mark Warsaw Ghetto Anniversary Urged by World Jewish Congress," JWB, February 26, 1954, p.7. 42. CJC National Archives, Series ZA, Box 1\ File 1A. 43. "Commemorating the Ghetto Fighters in H-Bomb Era," JWB, April 15, 1954, p. 3. These early CJC programming aids were based on materials published by the Jewish Welfare Board in New York beginning in 1951. 44. Personal conversation with Sol Wyne (March 2001), the first president of the Peretz School and one of its original founders.  52  45. JWB, September 15, 1945, p. 4. According to his widow Gallia, Ben Chud had planned to enter medical school after his wartime service in Europe. He was so affected by the destruction he witnessed however, that he simply could not refuse the job of principal when it was offered to him. 46. "Lest we forget\ Commemoration Uprising," JWB, April 22, 1948, p. 3.  of  the  Warsaw  Ghetto  47. "Warsaw Ghetto Memorial," JWB, May 6, 1948. 48. Ibid. 49. Information about UJPO commemoration was gathered through personal conversations with Sylvia Friedman, Claire Klein Osipov, and Gallia Chud, and interviews with Sol Jackson, Harold Berson, Oscar Osipov, and Clive Kaplan. All of these individuals have been involved in Holocaust remembrance for over fifty years. 50. The Partisan Song, "Zog nicht keyn mol" (Never Say), was written by Hirsh Glik, a popular poet from Vilna incarcerated in that city's ghetto at the time of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, news of which inspired the song. It soon spread to other ghettos and camps and became the hymn of Jewish partisans throughout occupied Europe. In the postwar period it became an integral part of commemoration, and in many cases, the only Yiddish song that many North-American Jews, regardless of background, were familiar with. 51. Personal interview with Harold Berson (November 2001). As the UJPO representative unofficially in charge of gathering materials for commemoration, Mr. Berson acquired a sizeable file of works and programming aids pertaining to commemoration. I am most grateful to him for allowing me generous access to this material. 52. Personal files of Oscar Osipov. 53. Personal interview with Oscar Osipov (November 2000). 54. Personal conversation with Claire Klein Osipov (January 2001) . As a member of the UJPO musical group the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, Mrs. Osipov participated in one of that city's first Holocaust commemorations in 1948. This event, apparently, was not attended by most of the mainstream Jewish community because of the UJPO's involvement. " 55. Personal interview with Oscar Osipov. 56. JWB, May 11, 1943, p.l. 57. One example being, "A Purim Perspective," JWB, March 15, 1951, p.2. 58. Rabbi Ch. B. Ginsberg.  "Penitence, Prayer, and Charity," 53  JWB, Rosh Hashanah Issue, September 27, 1943, p.20. 59. I am most grateful to Jean Gerber for bringing this plaque and dedication to my attention. It bears pointing out that Vancouver's new 1948 Orthodox synagogue, the Schara Tzedeck, was dedicated as a memorial to the Jewish community's war veterans and casualties. 60. David C. Kogen, "Holding High The Torch," Beth Israel: Dedication Book, 1949, unpaginated. Kogen's introduction also includes an anonymous poem to this effect, with the martyrs proclaiming: "We leave you our deaths, \ Give them meaning.\ Our deaths are not ours.\ They are yours.\ They will mean what you make of them." 61. David C. Kogen. "Changes in Jewish Religious Life," MA Thesis, (University of British Columbia, 1951). Kogen relates the story of the arrival and integration of these survivors in a segment describing the new, non-religious meaning of "a Good Jew", which features a long section devoted to the community's efforts to help settle the orphan group, including an update of their activities and concerns. The latter was a subject with which he was clearly sympathetic and familiar. 62. This prayer was actually composed in 1944, on the first anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, to be used in conjunction with a U.S. country-wide day of commemoration and prayer. 63. "Memorial Meeting Fitting Tribute to Warsaw Ghetto," JWB, May 1, 1952, p.l. 64. "Ghetto Uprising in Retrospect," JWB, April 9, 1953, p. 3. 65. "Ghetto Memorial Services Sunday at Synagogues," JWB, April 23, 1954, p.l. 66. I am grateful to the Jewish Western Bulletin for permitting me to reproduce these covers here. They originally appeared on April 9, 1952 and March 26, 1953. 67. "Guests at the Seder Table," JWB, Passover Issue, p.2. 68. "Historic Inspiration," JWB, March 26, 1953, p. 2. According to Abe Arnold, he convinced Belkin to do the cover after they were introduced in 1953 and discovered a mutual interest in the uprising and related issues. 69. "Memorial Meeting Fitting Tribute to Warsaw Ghetto," JWB, May 1, 1952, p.l. 59. Elihu Katz and Jeffrey Shandler. Broadcasting American Judaism. <http://www.jtsa.edu/pubs/books/tradren/chap27.html> 54  71. Morton Wishengrad. Unpaginated script: "Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto." CJC Pacific-Region Files, Box 15\ File 535. 72. Ibid. 73. Ibid. 74. "Radio Play to Highlight Warsaw Ghetto Memorial," JWB, April 24, 1952, p.l.  55  CHAPTER 3: 1956-1964 Background: As  in  the  immediate  postwar  decade,  Vancouver's  Jewish  community continued to grow and diversify in the late 1950s and early 1960s. and  A new wave of refugees arrived from Hungary in 1956  1957, over  260 in number, necessitating  mobilization and absorption.  another  flurry of  The city's entire Jewish population  in 1960 was a little over 7000 people.1  Despite complaints of  community "sluggishness" by some of the leadership, a fundraising drive  of unprecedented  proportions  took place  in  this  period,  culminating in the opening of a new Jewish Community Centre in November 1962.  Support of Israel throughout these years continued  to occupy a prominent discrimination groups.  work,  role in community affairs, as did antioften  in  conjunction  with  other  minority  Although it does not appear that anti-Semitism was an  ongoing problem, it did erupt into the media subsequent to certain incidents, to be discussed. appear  to  have  been  a  On the whole though,  forward-looking  period  of  these years growth  and  opportunity. That said, a number of factors also worked to keep Holocaustrelated issues not far from the surface of community life, some of which Unlike  emerged the  into public discourse  bitter  debates  that  and others which  developed  over  did not.  German-Israeli  reparations, for instance, securing restitution on an individual level was to a large extent a behind-the-scenes process, despite involving a tremendous amount of administrative work on the part of local Canadian Jewish Congress personnel and volunteers. 56  As of  1959, the CJC had helped to process claims for some 250 Vancouver survivors, December  resulting 1961  publicity  the  in the collection sum  accompanied  had  risen  these  to  of  over  $115,000.2  $345,000.3  activities,  but  the  Very  By  little  documentation  involved required of applicants to recall—and share with others— the full horror of what they had been subjected to during the war, in the most minute of details. surely  had  a  significant  officials alike.  This process, one can only assume,  impact  on  survivors  and  community  At least this appears to have been the case with  Morris Saltzman, the CJC staffperson who administered many of the early claims and who showed great sensitivity to survivors and issues of remembrance throughout his years of public service.4 Aside from restitution, there were also more public triggers for memory at this time, as in late 1958, when a local theatrical company called "The Barnstormers" obtained the rights to produce the stage version of "The Diary of Anne Frank".5  Despite the  success which the play enjoyed in New York and around the world, the initial response in Vancouver seems to have been lukewarm. The situation  became  so  bad,  in  fact,  that  a  reporter  from  the  Vancouver Sun took it upon himself to champion the play, stating that it had been hailed as "penance for the world's sins and hope for its future."6  The reviewer for the Vancouver Province likewise  called it "A human interest story that ranks with the greatest documents to come out of World War II."7  The JWB was slightly less  enthusiastic, but concluded that "Generally speaking, we would say that the cast succeeds in conveying the proper Jewish feeling."8 Others were not so sure.  One letter to the editor  57  complained  that, "This book, which is a brutal and tragic story, has been turned into a cozy little tale of a girl who goes to a rest camp in the country."  He added, "The legitimate theatre' in Vancouver  will enjoy financial success only when history is told exactly as it happened and not whitewashed."9  To which another reader replied  in disagreement that the play was "a moving drama, heartbreaking and heartwarming."10 Emotional objections of a different nature were also voiced about the play's publicity by one K.G. Schmidt, who complained in the Vancouver Sun that all Germans were being linked to atrocities when these acts were committed by 0.0001% of the population while the rest did not know.11  This same reader, incidentally,  also  complained that West Germany was supposed to be an ally, though you would not know it from the Vancouver press.12 in  turn,  elicited  an  angry  letter  from  a  This response,  former  War  Crimes  Investigator whose memories of Bergen-Belsen remained as strong as ever.  This reader called the claim that Germans didn't know "pure  nonsense", while he asserted that the atrocities were a subject that  should  be  brought  happening again.13  up  daily  so  as  to  prevent  them  from  As it turned out, the play was attended by more  than 2000 people on its last two nights, a significant audience considering the city's notorious lack of support for the theatre.14 At the political level during this time, little of note took place until an October 1957 annual convention of the B.C. Social Credit League, during which a Dawson Creek delegate named Percy Young took to the floor—unchallenged—to espouse his views that Zionism controlled  everything  from Communism  58  to Nazism and was  undermining the foundations of Christian civilization.  The too-  familiar tone of this attack, to which Abe Arnold responded with a front-page  headline  reading  "Hitler's  Disciples  in  British  Columbia," caused understandable anger in the Jewish community.15 One individual who responded with a letter to the editor invoked the work of Joseph Goebbels and Julius Streicher, stating,  "If  this delegate, whatever his name is, had any Christianity in his heart, he would think of the six million men, women, and children gassed during the Hitler era.  You don't dominate the world by  gassing half of your people."16 This was by no means the first time that a member of the Social Credit party had made anti-Semitic remarks, but the episode fueled further controversy because it exposed the fissures within Vancouver's Jewish community over the appropriate way to respond to such attacks. circulated Happened  a  The United Jewish People's Order, for its part,  pamphlet-petition  HERE!  Socred  Bennett, the provincial  Hits  to  Jews",  the  community  calling  leader of the Socred  on  entitled B.C.'s  Party,  "It  Premier  to make a  public statement against anti-Semitism and racial discrimination.17 The  body  Public  officially  Relations  charged  Committee,  with  public  preferred  to  relations, meet  the  privately  Joint with  Bennett to discuss the matter, resulting in the desired public statement one week later.18  Thus, unlike in other Canadian cities  where it was mainly groups of Holocaust survivors who emerged to protest  what  leadership's  was  called  "sha  policy of behind  shtil", the  scenes  or  "hush  advocacy  hush",  the  rather  than  public demonstrations, in Vancouver this role was to some extent  59  played by the UJPO. In any case, more worrisome than the Percy Young episode was a world-wide wave of vandalism and anti-Semitic incidents in late 1959  and  early  1960,  which,  according  Congress, occurred in 240 centres.19  to  the  World  Jewish  Vancouver appears to have  escaped the brunt of these attacks, save for at least one swastika daubing and a threatening phone call made to Abe Arnold and a local radio station.  For several weeks the topic dominated the  pages of the Bulletin, oftentimes invoking comparisons to the prewar  situation  in Europe  happen here."20 source  of  and  the  "illusion"  that  it  "couldn't  The role of the leadership became once again the  criticism  among  those  wishing  for  strong  public  statements, including, naturally, the UJPO, which issued another pamphlet-petition, "Statement to Our Community on ANTI-SEMITISM". In  addition  to  castigating  the  local  Jewish  leadership,  the  pamphlet took the opportunity to condemn West Germany as the main source of neo-Nazi activity, alluding to the many ex-Nazi military figures who had been rehabilitated and were now commanding NATO, apparently hoping for revenge and sabotaging disarmament talks.21 On the home front, the Canadian government was accused of letting in  more  and  more  "fascist corps".22  fascists,  thus  strengthening  the  country's  The pamphlet included a detachable petition  addressed to Prime Minister Diefenbaker, urging that he press the United Nations to officially condemn anti-Semitism. To a certain degree, then, it is clear that the UJPO shared some  of  the  same  concerns  as  the  community's  leadership,  particularly where anti-Semitism, German rearmament, and Nazi war  60  criminals were concerned.  The leadership, however,  lacked the  freedom to protest these issues quite so openly without invoking the  specter  increased. heavy  of  Communism,  particularly  as  Cold  War  tensions  Common action was rendered even more unlikely by the  persecution  of  Jews  under  tacitly avoided by the UJPO.  the  Soviet  regime,  a  subject  The question of support for Israel  remained another major stumbling block, as the local UJPO was held accountable for any criticisms of the State that appeared in the Vochenblatt,  the publication  associated,  with the UJPO and Communist Party.  though not  officially,  Thus, despite several requests  in the late 1950s on the part of the UJPO to be re-admitted to the Community Council, this never took place, which continued to mean that the group was denied any coverage in the Bulletin and the use of the Community Centre.  The UJPO's isolation was such that even  issues of common concern simply led to further deterioration of relations. At any rate, soon after the neo-Nazi outbreaks faded from the media glare, news broke that Adolf Eichmann, the SS officer who had played the leading role in organizing the Holocaust, had been located and brought to Israel.  From his capture in May 1960 to  his execution in June 1962, the .Eichmann trial became a dominant subject of coverage in the JWB and at times in both mainstream dailies.  In the initial stages, the Bulletin's coverage was to  some extent defensive, often reiterating Eichmann. of  Israel's  right  to try  Articles in the mainstream press, despite a fair amount  sensationalism,  proceedings.  were  more  limited  to  descriptions  of  the  Some of the public response to the trial, however,  61  was extremely pointed and emotional.  One woman who had lost her  entire family to the Nazis wrote a letter to the Vancouver Sun in which she stated that she and many like her had found time to be a great healer; giving Eichmann the spotlight would nightmares  of  complained,  hundreds  thousands."23  of  "What with the show  "reawaken the  Another  letter-writer  'Exodus' and Eichmann trial, I  think it's time we got off this Jew Nazi kick.  Not only is the  arrest and trial illegal, but if we are to dig up the wrongs of the past why only Jewish martyrdom?"24 A  similar  sentiment  was  voiced  by  a  reader  named  Scholtz, who protested against Eichmann being portrayed arch-sadist burned,  of  all  gassed,  time  when  suffocated,  "thousands buried  of  alive,  bomber and  in Germany)."25 "The whining  as the  crews  blew  millions of civilians, systematically, deliberately  G.F.  also  to  bits  (3.5 million  To which another local resident angrily replied,  and  their boot-licking  squirming  of Eichmann's  companions, under  the  fellow  nationals  accompanying  glare  and of  present publicity is evidence of their mental and • moral affinity with the despicable and degrading acts which are the cause of the trial."26  He added that such comparisons of guilt were an insult  to every man and woman in uniform and all those who died under the "triumphant  rampaging  Axis".  In  another  response  to  those  criticizing the trial, a letter-writer invoked the need to realize that this was no ordinary crime and that many  "twisted minds"  still entertained the idea of a master race: "The trial is to make sure that the world can see, hear and judge and never forget that it can happen again."27  62  Thus, there is no question that the Eichmann trial was a major catalyst in enhancing the existent local awareness of the Holocaust, both in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.  The  word "holocaust" itself came into common use at this time, slowly becoming interchangeable with the mostly literal definitions used up to that point, such as the mass slaughter or murder of six million European Jews during the Hitler era.  Within the Jewish  community, a committee was established on the eve of the trial by the  CJC,  the  United  Zionist  Council,  and  the  B'nai  Brith  to  explain the proceedings to those with questions; this measure was apparently taken to deter anyone else debating the issue publicly or "causing a stir."28 the  subject  of  On numerous occasions the trial was also  community  lectures  by  local  legal  experts  and  rabbis, suggesting that the latter may have discussed it from the pulpit as well.  For those still unfamiliar with events, frequent  articles throughout the press featured vivid descriptions of the documents and evidence presented by the prosecution. Aside groups  from  the  trial  and occasional  reports  of  extremist  from abroad, rumblings of domestic neo-Nazism were  also  felt during the early 1960s, when the existence of a "Nazi Party of  Canada" was  divulged  during  a controversial  interview  with  American extremist Lincoln Rockwell on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.29  Although such activity was widely seen as being  restricted to Quebec and Ontario, in March 1964 a department .store in Victoria was flooded with anti-Semitic pamphlets, which, as it turned out, were distributed by a highschooler who had gotten the materials  through  the mail.30  In the meantime,  63  the plight  of  Soviet Jewry increasingly occupied the headlines, as did the issue of Israel's safety in light of reports that Egypt had acquired the services of many Nazi scientists, purportedly to build missiles for the destruction of the Jewish State.31  As the German statute  of limitations approached in 1965, the topic of Nazi war criminals worldwide became particularly  acute.  For the  Bulletin began printing advertisements  first  time, the  for local survivors with  potential information about specific war crimes to come forward.32 Such  developments,  of  course, must  be  considered  in  the  context of the day-to-day life of the community, which went on as usual regardless of events in the news. and  1964, numerous  reminders  of  Nonetheless, between 1956  the Nazi  era  intensified  the  public discourse related to the events of the Holocaust, often revealing  deep  controversy. generated stimulating  wells The  were  by  further  of  emotion  Eichmann all  trial  means  awareness  a and  and and  no  small  the  publicity  significant interest  measure  in  of  that  it  turning-point  in  aspects  of  the  wartime genocide of European Jewry, including its commemoration, but the foundations of the latter were well in place several years before these developments.  Commemoration: The trail of Vancouver's commemoration picks up once again in 1956, when a small, tightly-knit circle of acquaintances, almost all of whom were originally  from Warsaw, became  determined  to  perpetuate the memory of the destruction of European Jewry through an annual, community-wide Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Evening.  64  Towards  this end, they formed a committee that met with Lou Zimmerman, then  Executive  Director  Executive  Secretary  Congress.  Although  of  of the  the  Jewish  Pacific  Community  Region  of  Council  Canadian  and  Jewish  it is not quite clear who approached whom  about establishing the event, Congress and Council were certainly involved from the beginning, co-sponsoring the evening with the Committee until 1965, when the new Jewish Community Centre took over Council's sponsorship role.33 As for the Polish Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee itself, as it  was  called  in  these  early  years,  members  included:  Jack  Kalisky, the Warsaw lawyer who had arranged the community's 1943 memorial; Sophie Waldman and her husband Isaac, both of whom had survived the war in hiding; Dr. Ludmilla Zeldowicz, a psychiatrist who had been trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto before escaping into hiding; Stephan Heyman, an engineer who came  to Vancouver  via  Japan during the war, as did another member, Dr. Henry Fischaut; and Sam Heller, who had fled Poland with some of his family after the Nazi attack, arriving in Vancouver in 1941.  Sam's brother  Paul also became very active in the Committee's work at a slightly later period, as did Susan Bluman, another Warsaw native who came to the city via Japan in 1942. background, position  of  the  group's  having  In addition  members  lost  most,  found if  to their  themselves  not  all,  of  in  similar  the  their  same  family.  Commemoration was in one sense a much needed act of mourning. Ensuring  that  the  Jewish  community  did  not  forget  the  wider  tragedy was also a positive assertion of action in the face of an otherwise helpless situation.  65  Although  the  exact  chain of consequence  is  impossible  to  determine, the Committee's formation also came at a time when some of the  Jewish  commemorate. as  Franklin  1950s,  this  leadership became vocal  about  the  importance  to  Rather than being absent from the community agenda, Bialystok was  has  stated  precisely  the  emerging and being encouraged.  was  period  the  case  when  throughout  the  commemoration  was  At the national level, even Dr.  Schwarzbart of the World Jewish Congress  took note of what he  called "a gratifying change of attitude toward commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by the CJC", citing the 1953 plenary resolution to sponsor Warsaw Ghetto events as well as the personal assurances  of  Saul  Hayes,  the  CJC's  actively support memorial exercises.34 even invited by Hayes to be the guest  executive  director,  to  In 1955, Schwarzbart was speaker  memorial in Montreal, though he had to refuse.35  at that  year's  In the meantime,  as mentioned, the CJC's Adult Education Programming Services began to  issue  extensive  programming  aids  for  commemoration  included resource materials and dramatic works.  which  These materials  were made available to the public free of charge. In Vancouver,  announcements  for the  1956  and  1957  events  included special appeals for the community to attend signed by Morris  Saltzman,  who  was  then  active  in  the  Jewish  Community  Council, and Hy Altman, the chairman of the CJC's Pacific Region. Altman, like Saltzman, had been very active in settling Holocaust survivors, and announcements for these early memorials read: "The entire Jewish Community is urgently invited to attend."36  Altman  gave the evening's opening address in 1956, stating, "The affair  66  showed that the Jewish people are prepared to respond in large numbers to an appropriate commemoration affair of this kind."37 That same year, the community's B'nai Brith lodges also arranged their first and only Warsaw Ghetto evening at the Jewish Community Centre, consisting of, according to the announcement, a dramatic presentation with choral and cantorial music.38  The community's  Labour  the  Zionist  organization  was  also  marking  uprising's  anniversaries in these years through its weekly radio show "This is Our Story", which would feature a special memorial program with an underlying  emphasis on the link between  the revolt  and the  establishment of the State of Israel.39 It is difficult to fully account for this expansion of the impulse to commemorate, or at least invoke commemoration.  The  latter carried over into 1958, when several articles appeared in the JWB hailing the prospects of the new community centre as a fitting monument to the spirit of the Warsaw Ghetto heroes, on the condition that it would "not only boast of gymnasiums and steam rooms but also of Jewish literary circles and musical groups and other  stimulating  Jewish  activities."40  Furthermore,  as  these  articles went, such a centre could only be true to the survivalist ideals of the ghetto resisters if it was inclusive of all factions in an  "all-embracing  spirit recognizing  community is an intra-inter-cultural  that  Jewry  family."41  in our own  This particular  type of advocacy appears to have stemmed in part from some of the widely-circulated writings of Dr. Schwarzbart of the WJC, most of which in these years were devoted to themes of commemoration and what he called "repairing the cultural losses".42  67  Local realities  being what they were, though, such invocations must also be seen as reflective of an attempt to ease some of the community tensions and rally further support for a new community centre. Coincidentally  or  not,  a  slightly  similar  campaign  was  launched in 1958 on the part of those involved with the ultraOrthodox Beth Hamidrash, the smallest by far of the community's synagogues.43  The  spiritual  leadership  of  Beth  Hamidrash,  as  mentioned, had been assumed in 1943 by Rabbi Chaim B. Ginsberg, a highly-regarded scholar and refugee from Poland who soon developed a small but extremely devoted following in Vancouver, as well as the respect of the Jewish community as a whole.  In the Bulletin  he was sometimes described as one "saved from the fires of Hitler pogroms."44  Most of Ginsberg's  family did not  survive though,  which partly explains the attempt in 1958 by the congregation of Beth Hamidrash to enlarge the synagogue and have it renamed Beth Haknesset as a "monument to the six million Jewish martyrs under nazism."45 have  For reasons which are unclear, this attempt appears to  failed;  instead,  an  arrangement  was  made  whereby  Rabbi  Ginsberg would be available to a wider segment of the community.46 This in no way deterred him from Holocaust commemoration, in fact, he indelibly impressed even members of the United Jewish People's Order  with  his  tremendous  dedication  to  dealing  with  this  subject.47 As for the programs organized by the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee in this initial period, the 1956 evening was held at the Schara  Tzedeck  synagogue  and  featured,  yet  again,  Morton  Wishengrad's radio play "Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto", as well as  68  the cantor and choir from the Beth Israel congregation and guest speaker  Wendel  Phillips, a  former press  representative  to  the  United Nations Commission on Palestine, who emphasized episodes of Jewish sacrifice and achievement throughout history, Israel chief among the latter.48 the  very  The 1957 memorial consisted of a showing of  successful  Polish  film  "Border  Street"  at  the  Park  Theatre, preceded by the rendition of El Moleh Rahamin by one of the  community's  younger  survivors, Murray  Kenig,  and  what  was  described as "an appropriate reading in English from the 'Hurban' literature" by Ben Kopelow, the local actor-producer who went on to stage  "The Diary of Anne Frank".49  Both the  1956 and 1957  evenings appear to have been fairly well-attended and received. The 1958 memorial entailed ambiguous elements.  A preliminary  announcement stated that in light of the tenth anniversary of the State of Israel and the related mass events taking place in those weeks, the Warsaw Ghetto memorial would resume in 1959, save for a special service and dedication at the Schara Tzedeck synagogue on the last day of Passover.  This decision was clearly not unanimous  however, as the Committee did in fact organize a memorial that year at the Jewish Community Centre, under the auspices of the Centre  Adult  committee historical  Committee.  member events  Dr.  The  program  Ludmilla  leading  to  featured  Zeldowicz,  the Holocaust,  who  a  speech  spoke  of  concluding  by the  with  a  warning of the dangers of extremism and fanaticism and a tribute to the human spirit.50 conducted  by  Rabbi  The candle-lighting for the ceremony was  Ginsberg,  while  the  Schara  Tzedeck  choir  performed two ghetto songs, including Ani Maamin, the proclamation  69  of  faith  that  Holocaust. "Martyrs  had  become  associated  with  the  victims  of  the  The memorial concluded with a short film about the Forest",  a  remembrance  project  in  Israel  that  was  promoted in Vancouver through the B'nai Brith. An estimated sixty-five people attended the 1958 evening.  In  this regard, however, the week's most vaunted community event, a lecture by Robert Briscoe, the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, also drew a much smaller audience than expected.51  One week's  notice for the memorial may have also contributed; ordinarily, the event was advertized at least three weeks in advance.  Whatever  the case, it is apparent that in matters relating to the community calendar, Warsaw Ghetto commemoration had not quite  established  itself firmly, particularly when it came to the primacy given to Israel-related events.  Most likely as a response, it was at about  this time that the Committee began seeking to widen its base by involving  "interested  community.52  people"  from  different  segments  of  the  Seeing as there was no group more interested than the  UJPO and its Drama Workshop, it was not long before its members were approached by the Committee. Prior to this development, the UJPO had continued holding its own  Warsaw  Ghetto  commemorations,  generally  along  the  lines  mentioned earlier, with dramatic presentations and songs written in the ghettos, often with a slide show. materials  used  were  not  of  an outright  Although some of the political  nature,  the  group's deeply-held ideological beliefs clearly shaped the tenor of  their  remembrance.  A  pamphlet  produced  to  accompany  the  uprising's commemoration in 1957, for instance, reveals some of  70  the group's preoccupations herein. the  fight  against  fascism  Central to the narrative is and  its  many  . contemporary  manifestations, those listed being the Padlock Laws, McCarthyism, and  the  rehabilitation  material  of Nazi  officials.  In  and short description of the uprising  attention is devoted to denouncing the Judenrat  the  choice  itself,  of  special  (Jewish Council)  and other perceived collaborators, including the Polish government in exile, while the left-wing (rather than Zionist) composition of the Anti-Fascist Front that fought the Nazis is brought to the fore. the  At one point, a female partisan was quoted as saying that Ghetto  heroes  "died  with  two  'Internationale' and 'Hatikva'."  songs  on  their  lips--the  The overall message of the work  is that the martyrs to fascism were being betrayed unless the fight against fascism continued. Given some of these views and the group's estrangement from the mainstream Jewish community, not to mention the tenor of the times, the Warsaw Ghetto Committee's invitation to the UJPO was a significant gesture.  In the event, politics, including their own,  were less important to the Committee than the fact that another group  of  Whether  Jews  or not  experiences  as  was  dedicated  it was a  between  result  the  commemorating  their pre-war of  showed greater tolerance. relations  to  the  environment  the war, Committee  uprising.  in Warsaw members  or  simply  Judging from numerous accounts, mutual  two  groups  were  very  good,  which  is  certainly borne out by the fact that half a dozen or so of the UJPO members  remained  involved  for  several  decades  thereafter.  Although some of the latter recall incidents of being made to feel  71  unwelcome by other community members at large, this was apparently never the case with the Committee itself.  To the contrary, an  amiable working relationship developed whereby Committee members tended mainly to organizational matters while the members of the UJPO handled many of the artistic and musical components of the programs.  . It is important to note, however, that UJPO members  participated  in an  individual  capacity.  The  organization,  as  such, was not acknowledged in the printed programs or publicity.54 The first major collaborative effort put on by the newlyexpanded group took place for the 1959 memorial.  The evening was  held at the Talmud Torah Auditorium, filled to capacity according to reports.55  The program included a slide show, dedications by  Rabbi Ginsberg as he lit the six memorial candles, a series of songs  from the ghettos performed by  the Vancouver  Singers, and a rendition of the poem "Genesis". CJC  report,  the  meeting  was  considered  "one  Jewish  According to a of  the  appropriate and interesting ever offered on this occasion."56 1960 program was similar in some respects.  Folk  most The  The event took place  at the Oakridge Auditorium, attended by about 450 people.57  Rabbi  Ginsberg gave the dedications, the Jewish Folk Singers performed a musical program while the Drama Workshop did "Genesis", and Dr. Ludmilla Zeldowicz spoke again of her experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto.  New participants included children from the community's  Jewish schools and youth organizations, all of whom carried lit candles symbolizing "the link between the generations."58 Inadvertently perhaps, the one standout feature of the event was a dramatic work called "Never to Forget", by author Howard  72  Fast.  Fast had been prominent in the American Communist Party  until a very public break in 1956-57. deals  with  example  of  the  Battle  of  how  Jewish  religious  leftist materials. interwoven variation  with of  Warsaw themes  Ghetto, were  lending often  another  adapted  in  In this case, the narrative of the piece is  Biblical  the  the  This particular work of his  Shema:  Humanity is One."59  episodes  of  freedom  "Hear, Oh Mankind,  fighting  Men  and  a  are Brothers,  The central theme of the work is the image of  the Jewish partisans, that is, Jewish partisans operating with a red  star  on  their  caps,  in  other  words,  adherence or loyalty to Soviet ideology.  with  some  sort  of  This twinning of Jewish  and Communist symbols is repeated throughout the sketch.  Speaking  to the ghetto fighters, one line reads, "Tomorrow we will be at thy side,\ The red flag by the blue\ The six-pointed star by the five-pointed  star."  As with other works treating the uprising  that used the metaphor of a torch being passed from the fighters to subsequent generations, so too does the Fast work conclude with the sacred duty to take up the battle against oppression: Comrade, take the weapon I hand you and use it well. When all men are free, Lay it down reverently. When will our ancient greeting have portent? Peace unto thee, And unto thee peace, But until then, no rest; no rest until then! Even many decades after the staging of this piece, those involved recall that it precipitated the one and only time that the Committee expressed disagreement with the subject matter of the materials performed by the UJPO members.  73  The symbol of the  red star was just too much.  Interestingly, there does not appear  to have been any negative public reaction to the presentation; it was  reviewed  as usual  letters ensued.60 Ghetto  Memorial  as  "dramatic  and  sincere" and  no  angry  Nor did it cause any real harm to the Warsaw Committee's  inner  relationships.  Subsequent  programs were most often joint projects; moreover, numerous UJPO members joined the Committee itself.  After a short while, it was  simply taken for granted that certain people could be counted upon year after year to provide their time and expertise, resulting in consistent, high-quality memorial evenings. Notable program showing  of  features  several documentary  concentration  camps  and  in the  early  films of  extermination  Resnais' powerful "Night and Fog".  1960s  footage  centres,  included from  the Nazi  including  Alan  The ceremonial lighting of six  candles and chanting of the El Moleh Rahamin were every memorial.  the  features of  Following the death of Rabbi Ginsberg in 1961,  synagogue representation was for a time limited to cantors and youths involved in the candle-lighting.  On the artistic side,  "Genesis" continued to be an oft-used, high-impact piece, as was a dramatic monologue based on "Night and Fog" which was performed by Searle Friedman at the 1962 and 1964 events.  The 1963 evening  featured a musical program inspired by the music of the ghettos, performed by local violinist Gideon Grau and his string orchestra, the Vancouver Chamber Players. cast which  In the following year, a large  included Norman Oreck, a prominent  community judge,  staged several scenes from John Hersey's book The Wall. Although the records are incomplete, some of the  74  speeches  given during these years are indicative of the concerns of the day.  In 1963, presumably with the Cuban missile crisis still in  mind, the visiting guest speaker Dr. Avrum Stroll spoke of how the dangers and lessons of bad government highlighted by the story of the resistance of the ghetto fighters had become even more acute in an age when humanity trembled on the brink of nuclear disaster, warning that the entire world could become a crematorium if apathy to bad government were allowed to reign.61  The perceived ties  between the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the establishment of Israel also remained a regular theme. 1961,  Dr. Moses  British  Steinberg,  Columbia,  recounted  As part of the lecture he gave in  a  professor  how  the  at  ghetto  the  University  fighters  forged  of an  attitude and will that helped to build the Jewish state in Eretz Israel.62  In his speech at the 1964 event, Rabbi Goodblatt stated  that  creation  the  of  Israel  gave  meaning  to  those  who  were  martyred, asking "How much greater would the tragedy have been had the  Jewish  state  not  come  into  being  to  reclaim  the  saved  of  1960,  remnant?"63 Despite  a  change  in  editorship  in  the  summer  publicity in the Bulletin preceding the annual memorials likewise continued to emphasize the links between the two events.  As it  turned out, the paper's new editors, Sam Kaplan and his wife Mona, proved to be extremely staunch supporters of the Warsaw Ghetto memorials.  Like Abe Arnold before him, Sam Kaplan devoted many of  his editorials to the subject of commemoration, once even taking on the persona of a child "guest columnist" to give a "first-hand" account of the revolt which concludes, "it doesn't matter if we do  75  not win.  Our fight will always be remembered by other people in  other countries. us."64  I hope that other Jewish people will remember  Kaplan also travelled to Israel for the Eichmann trial,  visiting Yad Vashem during his stay.  His articles around the time  of the uprising's anniversary frequently invoked the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust and the need to commemorate. issues  also  continued  Remembrance",  an  to  addition  carry to  a  special  the  "Seder  traditional  Passover Ritual  Haggadah  of  which  invokes the Warsaw Ghetto and the martyrdom of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.65  Wherever publicity was concerned,  both Kaplans lent the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee their full cooperation. Coverage  in  Vancouver's  two  different matter in these years.  mainstream  dailies  was  a  Although the Committee purchased  small advertisements for the evenings in both papers beginning in 1956, along with numerous ads in the smaller  local papers, it  appears that it was not until 1961 and the Eichmann trial that the Vancouver Sun sent a reporter to the memorial. review  which  choice  of  Others."66  appeared  title:  was  "Jews  neither  Told  They  tactful Can't  or  Rely  Even then, the accurate On  Good  in  its  Will  of  The latter purported to be the subject of the evening's  keynote speech by the above-mentioned Dr. Steinberg when, in fact, this  statement  was  taken  completely  out  of  context  and  bears  little resemblance to the spirit of his lecture, which did exhort the  need  praised rescue.67  for the  Jewish  minority  self-reliance of  non-Jews  but who  also had  To his chagrin, in the days that  76  acknowledged  helped  and  in  wartime  followed,  the Sun  headline  became  the  butt  of  fun  among  some  of  Professor  Steinberg's colleagues, even eliciting phone calls from members of the Jewish community--several of whom had not even attended the memorial — criticizing his public relations.58  He then protested to  the editor in writing, only to have his letter published weeks later, buried on an inside page under the caption "Error Alleged". Commemoration itself sometimes drew angry reactions from some members  of  protested  the  survivors,  community. Eichmann  one  memorials. so.  the  woman  In  trial  also  the for  denounced  same  letter  dredging the  up  annual  in  which  the  she  pain  Warsaw  of  Ghetto  She wrote, "Those who want to remember always will do  I do not believe in the unnecessary whipping-up of outbursts  of emotional weeping, etc.  My child will learn from me about how  her grandparents died, but why expose her and thousands of other youngsters to unspeakable horror?"69 then challenged  by  another  This particular letter was  reader who wrote  to  the  editor  in  favour of the memorial services precisely because she felt it was not enough  for survivors and their descendants  to know.  Such  evenings were important for educational purposes, as "young people all over fascism,  the world need fanaticism,  to be racial  told over  and over  intolerance,  and  about what political  dictatorship can lead to, and have in fact led to in the past."70 Some  of  commemoration Fog".  the  most  emotional  written  criticisms  followed the 1962 showing of the film  One individual who had been  in the audience  of  "Night and agreed in  principle with memorial services for "our dear ones and national heroes" but strongly objected to the showing of such films.71  77  A  veteran who wrote in to the JWB had a similar response.  Although  he commended the Committee for its efforts, he felt that "those attending future.  leave with broken hearts and without courage  for the  The entire evening is so morbid that it's surprising that  people come back again yearly for more punishment."72  He asked  that the Committee prepare more uplifting programs, adding that he had  joined  the  forces  to  fight  back  against  Nazi  inhumanity.  Another letter from "A Jew from Warsaw" protested that a film so masochistic could hardly fulfill the announced purpose of a sacred memorial—"surely this is not the way to identify ourselves with the martyrs who gave their lives  'Al Kiddush Hashem'?"73  After  criticizing the Committee for lack of original ideas, this writer went on to suggest that an exhibit of paintings or other cultural creations  from  the  Warsaw  Ghetto  would  be  infinitely  more  appropriate. Judging from these letters, it is clear that commemoration could be the source of tremendous pain.  A non-Jewish woman who  wrote to the editor about the 1962 evening described impact  of  the  film  on  the  quietly all around her.74 in  Nazi  Europe,  even  potential irritant.  audience,  especially  the deep  those  sobbing  For those who had been trapped elsewhere the  focus  on  the  Warsaw  Ghetto  was  a  A letter signed "A former refugee" stated,  "My people only died in the streets and camps, violently or just by starvation. suggest  a more  library  in  hospital.75  They, too, were heroes."  the The  permanent new  memorial  community  letter  ended,  to  This writer went on to the  centre  or  "Each  year,  78  victims, a  room on  Yom  such in  a  as  a  local  Kippur,  on  Passover in synagogue, and at the seder at home, we remember." Based  on  these  still  felt  sentiments,  more  it  comfortable  seems  that  numerous  commemorating  the  individuals  events  of  the  Holocaust in the more traditional framework of Jewish ritual or in private.  Even the latter, however, could be the cause of tension.  At the extended family seders of at least two individuals who were UJPO members, the political divide was such that mere mention of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was not permitted. Despite these various objections, the memorial evenings were attended by an average of 300-500 people as of 1959.  Very little  about these events confirms their dismissal as insignificant to public  discourse  or  their  "perfunctory effort".  assessment  in  Delayed  Impact  as  a  In 1961, on the eve of the Eichmann trial,  attendance reached 725, with 100 or so people turned away.76  This  was also the first time that the presence of substantial numbers of non-Jews was noted.  Otherwise, it appears that audiences were  composed of sizeable numbers of survivors and their families, as well as those who had lost family and loved ones.  It also bears  pointing out that certain performances required the participation of several dozen people from the community at large, for instance, if synagogue choirs or expanded drama groups were involved.  By  1961-1962, Congress reports were hailing the memorials as "one of the most successful annual events of our community".77  This was  actually in contrast to other cultural series which the CJC tried to organize, poor attendance being a chronic problem. Although particularly  some from  administrative the  JCC's  help  Assistant  79  was  Program  forthcoming, Director  Lou  Hilford, the brunt of organizing Warsaw Ghetto evenings fell on the Committee itself. effort  of hundreds  Each memorial represented the cumulative  of hours  of volunteer  work.  Five  or  six  meetings a year were necessary just to plan each evening, the first one being held in the autumn to allow enough preparation time.  Rehearsals  for dramatic pieces likewise began months in  advance, taking place on Sundays or at night.  A  amount  coordinate  of  time  different  and work was  aspects  of  the  also necessary memorials,  to  considerable  including  correspondences, and sound and stage requirements.  the  publicity, Each element  of the memorials had to be developed by careful trial and error; evaluation meetings took place soon after the events, including discussions  of  the  program  for  the  following  year.  Finding  suitable materials was also a constant process, necessitating a sub-committee of its own. was performed in This  addition  dedication  Needless to say, all of this activity to jobs and family obligations.  to  remembrance  establishing  a solemn atmosphere  question  applause,  of  for  likewise  at each memorial  example,  was  considered  extended  to  event.  The  at  several  meetings, the final verdict being that although applause enabled the audience to give vent to its feelings, it was also a show of approval that took away from the solemnity of the program: "The lack of applause makes the evening different, i.e., it remains a memorial  program."78  All  written  programs  requested  that  the  audience refrain from clapping, while program reviews in the JWB often noted how this "added to the reverent atmosphere which was religious in true sense of the term."79  80  Announcements  for the  memorials  also  asked  that  audience  members  be  in  their  seats  before the start of programs so as to not detract from the nature of the evenings.  Another ongoing issue pertained to whether or  not a silver collection be taken. that  such  a measure  was  Committee members felt strongly  inappropriate,  yet  expenses  sometimes  dictated that it be included regardless, with Congress picking up the difference. Many other concerns were also raised at Committee meetings. Within a few years of its formation in 1956, the Committee's goals evolved  somewhat,  from an initial  intent  of  ensuring  that  the  Jewish community not forget to a wider mandate of educating and attracting the community as a whole, beginning with the expansion of the Committee itself.  In addition to the numerous UJPO members  who joined, other diverse members of the community began taking part.  By the early to mid 1960s the Committee had grown to about  twenty people, though the core group remained the most active. Attracting a wider audience also necessitated changes in approach, such as more English and advertising in both the Jewish and nonJewish press.  Moreover, it was decided that programs had to be  non-political, non-religious, and non-sectarian.80  Such guidelines  were not without their difficulties, however.  In planning the  1964  Rabbi  event,  for  instance,  the  guest  speaker  Goodblatt  struggled over whether or not the Kaddish would be appropriate, finally  deciding  that  he  would  say  it  alone  because  of  the  probability that most heads in the audience would be uncovered.81 Similarly, some of  although  the increasing  the Committee members who  81  emphasis felt  on English  that  this  worried  limited  the  Yiddish  atmosphere  of  the  memorials,  the  reality  was  that  Vancouver was not necessarily a Yiddishist community.82 The Committee was responsive to community ways  as  well.  For  example,  in  the  trends  aftermath  of  in other the  local  proliferation of hate literature, it was suggested at one meeting that the group act as a "watch dog" against such material.83 its inception the Committee was also concerned more  youth  schools.  in  commemoration,  particularly  about  through  From  involving  the  Jewish  Despite some efforts however, youth involvement in these  early years was fairly minimal, other than participation in candle lighting.  As  indicated by  a few of  the  letters  critical  of  commemoration, there was still an undercurrent of reluctance to expose  children  to  the  full  horrors  of  the  Holocaust.  Committee members were clearly aware of these misgivings. speeches  at  the  memorials,  Sam  Heller,  then  reiterated the purposes of commemoration. was  universal,  with  reference  to  The In his  Chairman,  often  At times the message  other  genocides  and  mass  slaughters and the need to understand the political forces at work in the world so as to not repeat the tragedies of the past.84 Other  times  the  lessons  were  pointedly  aimed  at  the  Jewish  community, such as Heller's 1963 address in which he decried the individuals who worried about reinvoking memories of the Holocaust for fear of standing out rather than maintaining pride in their Jewish history.85 This  debate  lingered  on  for  a  time,  punctuating  the  controversy over the Arnold Belkin mural which will be discussed in the next chapter.  As painful as the subject was however, it  82  appears that by the early to mid 1960s, commemoration had become a fixture on the communi'ty's calendar.  Support from the leadership  was one element of this success, but the determining factor was clearly  the  including  efforts  the  of  members  the of  Warsaw  the  Ghetto  UJPO.  By  Memorial that  Committee,  time,  numerous  Committee members, the Hellers and the Waldmans in particular, had themselves  risen  to  positions  of  considerable  respect  in  the  community, further facilitating cooperation in matters related to commemoration.  Developments  such as the growth of  hate-literature,  and the Eichmann  trial  also  neo-Nazism,  spurred  Holocaust  awareness, reinforcing the feeling that memorials were necessary as not only homage to the victims of Nazism but also as forums for education—Jewish and non-Jewish--and vigilance. It should be repeated, though, that these factors were not prerequisites  for commemoration.  The Committee's  formation  in  1956 occurred at a time when there was very little discernable sense  of  threat  in  the  community.  This  development  also  challenges the theory that the Cold War, still at its height, in effect  snuffed  out  Holocaust memory.  the  The  promotion  or  discussion  of  There is absolutely no indication of hesitancy  on the Committee's part press.  official  heated  to advertise widely  exchange  of  letters  in the  prompted  by  non-Jewish the  1958  Vancouver production of The Diary of Anne Frank took place not within the confines of the Jewish Western Bulletin but rather in the Vancouver Sun.  The latter also carried updates  about the  fundraising campaign for a new Beth Hamidrash in honour of the six million  Jews murdered during  the last war.  83  The Cold War, it  seems, did not preclude the raising of such issues.  One might  even argue that with the addition of the UJPO's participation as of  1958-1959,  the  Cold  commemoration itself.  War  actually  informed  the  conduct  of  In any case, even before the worldwide wave  of swastika daubings and the Eichmann trial, this was clearly not a  period  of  silence  about  the  Holocaust  but  impassioned debate and activity in these spheres.  84  rather  one  of  Notes 1. Jill Pollack. Hindsight. (Vancouver: Society of British Columbia, 2000), p.17.  Jewish  Historical  2. Maurice Lerman. "President's Report," June 29, 1959. Pacific Region Files, Box 39\ File 738.  CJC  3. "Report of the Pacific-Region to the Plenary Session," 1962. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 39\ File 738. 4. Saltzman was later instrumental in the 1975 establishment of the Standing Committee on the Holocaust. He was renowned in the community for his commitment to Holocaust awareness. 5. Personal conversation with Ben Kopelow. According to Abe Arnold, a local radio adaptation of the play had also been put on in 1954 or 1956 in conjunction with the Vancouver JCC's first Book Month Festival. The script used came from the "Eternal Light" program. 6. Jack Scott. "A Play is Left to Die—Why?," Vancouver Sun, December 10, 1938, p.l. 7. Vancouver Province, December 9, 1958, p.23. 8. "'Diary of Anne Frank' Given Classic Drama Performance," JWB, December 12, 1958, p.3. 9. Hans Borman. "Play At Fault," Vancouver Sun, December 13, 1958, p.4. 10. "Proud of Anne," Vancouver Sun, December 18, 1958, p. 4. 11. K.G. Schmidt. "German Defence," Vancouver Sun, December 16, 1958, p.4. 12. Ibid. 13. "Germans Knew," Vancouver Sun, December 20, 1958, p.4. 14. "'Anne Frank' Has a Happy Ending," Vancouver Sun, December 15, 1958, p.26. 15. "Hitler's Disciples in 1957, p.l. One of Arnold's similarity of Young's slanders "The Protocols of the Elders keystone of Nazi propaganda.  British Columbia," JWB, November 1, emphases in this article was the to the notorious anti-Semitic tract of Zion" and how the latter was a  16. JWB, November 8, 1957, p.2. 17. Personal files of Harold Berson.  85  18. JWB, November 15, 1957, p.l. Part of the JPRC's statement on the matter included the assurance that, despite the UJPO's name, it was in no way affiliated with the Community Council and its members spoke only for themselves. 19. JWB, January 29, 1960, p.10. 20. JWB, January 22, 1960, p.2. 21. Personal files of Harold Berson. A copy is also available in CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 14a\ File 149. 22. Ibid. 23. "Time Heals," Vancouver Sun, April letter was signed "No Reminder".  16, 1961, p.4.  The  24. Vancouver Sun, April 14, 1961, p.4. 25. Vancouver Sun, April 16, 1961, p.4. 26. William Mosdell. "Allies Not Guilty," Vancouver Sun, April 22, 1961. 27. F. Raffa. "Never Again," Vancouver Sun, April 26, 1961, p.4. 28. "Preparations Completed for the Eichmann Trial," JWB, April 7, 1961, p.2. This may or may not have been directed at the UJPO. 29. "Canada Discovers Disease of Nazism," JWB, November 4, 1960, p.2. 30. See, "Hate Hits Victoria," JWB, March 6, 1964, p.l. Also the March 13, 1964 editorial on p. 2, and the March 20, 1964, p.l interview conducted by Ray Sinclair for the Victoria Daily Times. 31. See "HALT NAZI SCIENTISTS!," JWB, March" 29, 1963, p.l. A quote attributed to one of the engineers involved stated that the projects "employ former leading Nazis who are aiding Nasser with a plan to liquidate the survivors of Hitler's terror and the State they built in Palestine." In this vein, Soviet Jews were also often referred to as survivors of Hitler. 32. "Can You Testify?," JWB, May 10, 1964, p.2. Those wishing to do so were told to contact either the Bulletin or the World Jewish Congress. 33. All subsequent Congress reports take the position that it was in fact the CJC, Lou Zimmerman in particular, who called together the group of Polish emigres for the purposes of forming a memorial committee, whereas oral histories and personal interviews with some of the founders of the Committee suggest that the initiative was taken on their part. Regardless, the establishment 86  of an annual memorial was regard.  clearly  a meeting  of minds  in  this  34. Memo from Dr. Isaac Schwarzbart to unnamed recipient, March 29, 1954. World Jewish Congress Files, Series F, Box 9\ File 20. 35. Sam Levine to Dr. Isaac Schwarzbart, March 7, 1955. World Jewish Congress Files, Series F, Box 3\ File 23; Schwarzbart to Levine, March 10, 1955, same source. 36. JWB, April 20, 1956, p.5. A regular feature of the JWB's press build-up toward Warsaw Ghetto memorials included mention that Canadian Jewish Congress at the national level had undertaken to promote the anniversary, in addition to the ceaseless calls of Dr. Schwarzbart and the World Jewish Congress for all Jewish communities to mark the occasion. 37. JWB, May 4, 1956, p.3. 38. "Warsaw Ghetto Meeting at BB Meeting April 3," JWB, March 2, 1956. There are almost no available details concerning this event or what may have prompted it. Minutes from a February 13, 1956 executive meeting of the Lion's Gate Lodge say only that a program had been suggested, consisting of "3 parts Hillel Kel and Folk Singers." These documents are stored at the JHSBC. 39. Personal conversation with Ben Kopelow. Kopelow and fellow actor-producer Max Pawer did a number of these programs in the early to mid 1950s. 40. JWB, February 28, 1958, p.2. 41. "A Fitting Memorial to the Spirit of Jewish Survival," JWB, Passover Issue, April 2, 1958, p.56. 42. All of Dr. Schwarzbart's reports from this period elaborate on the theme of establishing permanent cultural memorials in memory of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt. See particularly "Remembering and Rebuilding," 1955, available at the American Jewish Historical Society in New York. A copy of this report was also provided to me by Mr. Harold Berson. 43. Beth Hamidrash was established by a small group of men, led by A. Max Charkow, who wanted to provide the elderly members of the community with an orthodox synagogue within walking distance of their homes. Several members of the founding group, Sam Tenenbaum and A.M. Charkow among them, were actively involved in resettling Holocaust survivors. Charkow was instrumental in securing Rabbi Ginsberg to lead the congregation in 1943. 44. JWB, April 23, 1954, p.l. 45. JWB, April 11, 1958, p.l; see also "Rabbi Ginsberg Makes 87  Appeal for new Beth Hamidrash Synagogue," JWB, March 21, 1958, p.9. Other announcements for the campaign repeatedly refer to the victims as "Kedoishim", or holy ones. 46. "Beth Hamidrosh re-organized, Rabbi Ginsberg Given New Status," JWB, December 12, 1958, p.3. Ginsberg died three years later; he was interred in Israel in a service attended by many dignitaries and religious figures. For some years after his death the synagogue was called Beth Hamidrash Rabbi Ginsberg, but the congregation itself dwindled almost completely within a decade, due partly to age and partly to the lack of Ginsberg's charismatic personality to attract new members. In keeping with his wishes to have Beth Hamidrash maintained as a place of Jewish worship, in 1975 the last surviving founders passed the synagogue to Vancouver's small Sephardic congregation. 47. Personal interview with Sol Jackson (January 2001). 48. JWB, May 4, 1956. 49. JWB, April 25, 1957, p.l. "Hurban" (sometimes "Churban"), meaning destruction or catastrophe. The word "Churban" was used in the Bulletin on occasion to denote what is now called the Holocaust, but mainly when quoting World Jewish Congress publications which used the term on occasion. 50. "Ghetto Survivor Speaks at 15th Anniversary Memorial," JWB, April 25, 1958, p.2. 51. JWB, April 25, 1958, p.7. 52. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 511. hand-dated June 21, 1961.  This report is  53. "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial," 1957, published by the City Committee of the United Jewish People's Order, Vancouver, B.C. Personal files of Harold Berson. 54. This lack of acknowledgment was something of an issue for some UJPO members, who felt that their contribution was diminished by the lack of public recognition of the UJPO as an organization. It should be noted that after their 1953 expulsion from the Community Council, not even the UJPO's name could be printed in the Bulletin. Groups like the UJPO Drama Workshop were forced to change their name to the Vancouver Drama Workshop to receive any publicity whatsoever. 55. JWB, April 24, 1959, p. 8. In the "Between Ourselves" column, attendance is given as 200. The Committee minutes put the figure at 280: CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 514. 56. "President's Report," June Files, Box 39\ File 738.  29, 1959. CJC  88  Pacific  Region  57. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 511. See also "Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Moves Capacity Crowd," JWB, April 29, 1960, p.4. 58. JWB, April 4, 1960, p.l. 59. Personal files of Harold Berson. 60. JWB, April 29, 1960, p. 4. from the Fast sketch.  The review even includes a photo  61. "Many Pay Silent Tribute to Memory of Six Million," JWB, April 26, 1963, p.12. 62. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 535. 63. JWB, April 17, 1964, p.3. 64. "Let Us Remember," JWB, April 19, 1963, p. 2. Publicity preceding the memorial in 1963 twice featured the proclamations of John F. Kennedy, quoting his praise of the uprising as "a chapter in the annals of human.heroism, an inspiration to the peace-loving people of the world, and a warning to would-be oppressors which will be long-remembered." 65. The "Seder Ritual of Remembrance" was written in 1953 by Rufus Learsi, a pseudonym for historian-writer Israel Goldberg. It was widely circulated in the Anglo-Jewish press to encourage its home use. The ritual made its first appearance in the JWB in 1959. It was also featured in the 1954, 1955, and 1956 Canadian Jewish Congress Program Aids for Warsaw Ghetto commemoration. 66. "Jews Told They Can't Vancouver Sun, April 10, 1961.  Rely  On  Good  Will  of  67. For the full text of the speech see "Message Martyrs," CJC Pacific Region files, Box 15\ File 535. 68. Personal 2001).  conversation  with  Dr. Moses  Steinberg  Others," of  the  (January  69. "Time Heals," Vancouver Sun, April 16, 1961, p.4. 70. Vancouver Sun, April 22, 1961, p.4. 71. JWB, May 4, 1962, p.2. 72. Ibid. 73. Ibid. 74. "Impressions of a non-Jewish spectator at Ghetto Memorial," JWB, May 18, 1962, p.2. 89  75. "Asks a Lasting Memorial," JWB, May 4, 1962, p. 4. One should note that the eventual donor of a new JCC library was Sophie Waldman, a founder and active member of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee. The library bears the name of her late husband Isaac. 76. Vancouver Sun, April 10, 1961. 77. "Report of the Pacific Region to the Plenary Session," 1962. CJC Pacific Region files, Box 39\ File 738. 78. Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Minutes, April 28, 1964. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 505. 79. "Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Moves Capacity Crowd," JWB, April 29, 1960, p.4. 80. Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Report, June 21, 1961. Pacific Region files, Box 15\ File 511.  CJC  81. Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Minutes, February 27, 1964. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 505. 82. Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Minutes, April 28, 1964. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 505. 83. Ibid. 84. "Why Perpetuate the Memory?," JWB, May 25, 1962, p.2. This particular re-cap of Sam Heller's speech prompted an Osoyos resident to send a heartfelt poem to the Bulletin, printed on June 29, 1962, p.2. The poem reads in part: "These hideous deeds in our minds will ever remain, \ We pray that it will not, must not happen again", and, "Our hopes that all nations will follow the cross of God,\ To dram men closer in the comfort of God's staff and rod." 85. "Many Pay Silent Tribute to the Memory of Six Million," April 26, 1963, pp.5, 12.  90  CHAPTER 4: Arnold Belkin's "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising'  Figure 3: "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising", 1959  Background: in late December 1964, Lou Zimmerman, who was then Executive Director of Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre, received a letter of inquiry from a representative of the Edmonton, Alberta Jewish community in which the latter asked for information pertaining to Vancouver's  Warsaw  Zimmerman briefly  Ghetto described  Memorial Committee. It was memorial to  commemorations. the  activities  In and  his  response,  success  of  the  As for fixed structures, he wrote: never our intention to create a permanent those who died at the hands of t h ^ " ^ J  ^Jewish6 S ^ t y ^ t r T W ^ L ^ ^ l t l e ^ r  ^  dotted to theTewish Community Centre of Vancouver in memory o f n i f father'W ho lived here The mural depict,.the horrors of the concentration camp, the glory of the battle or ine S L s a w Ghetto. I do believe it is generally considered to have merit as a work of art.1 [my emphasis] This  note  of  ambiguity  caps 91  the  protracted,  oft-heated  struggle  to  install  large-scale  work  Holocaust.  what  became  invoking  Although  a  the  few  Vancouver's  memory  of  the  of  first  the  permanent,  victims  community's  new  of  the  buildings  already bore Holocaust dedications inscribed on modest plaques, the  Belkin  mural,  "Warsaw  Ghetto  Uprising",  (see  presents a stark contrast to these earlier gestures.  Figure  3)  The three-  paneled, darkly-coloured oil painting measures approximately eight feet by sixteen feet, covering a total area of about one-hundred square feet.2  As a memorial though, its size, in the end, proved  to be less of an issue than the mural's particular depiction of events, and the process by which it finally came to be hung at the Community Centre illustrates many of the tensions still involved in Holocaust commemoration during this period. The mural's creator, Arnold Belkin, was born in Calgary in 1930; his family moved to Vancouver when he was about five or six years old.3 from  Both of Belkin's parents were immigrants, his mother  England  decidedly  and his  left-wing,  father  from Russia.  The  though  the  Belkin  extended  Vancouver spanned the ideological divide. was  among  whereas  a  the  community's  cousin  Pacific Tribune.  edited  a  most local  household family  was in  One of Belkin's uncles  prominent  Jewish  labour  newspaper  businessmen, called  the  His own parents became involved with Vancouver's  Peretz School soon after their arrival.  As for their son, Belkin  knew early that he wanted to be an artist.  He won a B.C. Labour  Guild art competition at the age of fifteen with a drawing of workers on a street car.  He then studied for a time in Banff with  92  A.Y. Jackson of the famed Group of Seven.  Landscape painting,  however, was not in his future. Attracted by the proletarian and revolutionary murals being created by painters like Diego Rivera, at age seventeen Belkin moved  to  Mexico.  These  artists  appealed  to  him,  he  later  described, "because their paintings dealt with people, politics, and with social\ historical events."4  In Mexico, he  initially  trained with D.A. Siqueiros, a Spanish Civil War veteran and one of  the  leading  muralists  from  this  school.  Siqueiros  had  a  lasting impact on Belkin, who asserted that, "For me, he was a model, the artist as hero, the artist as public orator, the artist as political activist."5  Belkin himself often lectured about the  role of artists in society, including a 1955 talk in Vancouver to the literary groups of the National Council of Jewish Women.6 the  early  1960s he  and  fellow  artist  Francisco  Icaza  In  founded  "Nueve Presencia", an aesthetic movement which, according to its manifesto, championed art that was "real, raw and eloquent".7  In a  further description of the motivation behind his work, he stated, "to express the human condition is and always has been my aim and preoccupation in art.  Especially the heroism inherent in man."8  A great deal of Belkin's work also dealt with Jewish themes and figures, for instance, his largest mural "Kehila", a 158 foot long  and  22  foot  high  portrayal  of  the  Jewish  holidays  commissioned by Mexico City's new Jewish Community Centre in 1965.9 His  frequent  mentioned  letters  home  smaller pieces  to his parents  including etchings 93  in Vancouver  often  from the Bible and  paintings called "Jews in a Synagogue" and "Tzaddik", while his set design work likewise involved some classic Jewish plays such as "The Dybbuk" or "Tevie der Milchiker"  (Tevye the Dairyman).  According to his longtime friend Dr. (Rabbi) William Kramer, with whom  he  often  discussed  these  matters,  Belkin  was  deeply  interested in Jewish history and spirituality; his politics and humanism were inseparable from his Jewish concerns.10 Many.of these preoccupations and elements can be discerned in his "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising". features  images  of  The left-most panel of the mural  patriarchs,  looking  skyward,  just  above  pyramid-shaped rows of doomed, gaunt figures staring outward, at the viewer.  The pyramid, with its blackened visages towards the  top, also invokes a pyre in flames.  The flames follow the mural's  largest figures, the ghetto fighters, into the centre panel, where they reach out, not skyward exactly but forward, ostensibly to the future, but also toward a just barely-visible menorah.  Below them  lies a tumult of twisted and emaciated bodies that evoke images of the documentary footage taken at the close of the war from some of the Nazi camps.  These destroyed figures overlap into the third  panel of the mural, where they merge into the long lines of adults and  children  looking  outward  and  forward  again,  symbols  of  regeneration. In Belkin's own words, in painting the mural he had attempted to depict: an historic moment of great drama which I wished to express in a spirit of struggle, of resistance, the fight to preserve human dignity. I did not want to use obvious symbols such as guns, flags and grenades. Instead, I used gestures and faces of people...of children who are the hope of the future 94  generations, those that live and are a remembrance of the thousands of children killed—the broken stem.11 Belkin's description of the mural's motifs is of particular interest considering the cover he had drawn in 1953 for the Jewish Western Bulletin's Passover Issue  (see Figure 2 ) .  Although both  works portray the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the 1953 depiction is quite unlike the later mural.  Guns and weapons are a central  element of the Passover cover, lending it an almost military tone. Children and other victims are absent.  There is also a marked  difference in the facial expressions and gestures of the fighters, who are palpably animated by revolt and defiance. also  conveys  subtle.  a  sense  of  outrage,  its  While the mural  representation  is  more  Even the bodies and faces of the resisters are slightly  contorted, their less defined countenance varying from despair to anger to almost no expression.  Unlike the Passover cover, the  presence of children is a key element of the mural, both those who perished and those who survived. in  1953  and  rendering.  1957, which  Belkin's own children were born  perhaps  influenced  this  more  complex  Heroism does not disappear as a theme in the mural,  but it is somewhat muted. At any rate, judging by his correspondences, Belkin began painting "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising" sometime in late 1958 or early 1959.  By the end of 1959 he was already pondering appropriate  locations for the piece, including a Jerusalem museum or the new Jewish Community Centre planned for Vancouver.12  In the meantime  the mural was displayed at the Jewish Sports Centre  in Mexico  City, under  Ghetto de  the Spanish, title  "El 95  levantamiento  del  Varsovia".13 Vancouver active.  At some point in 1962, Belkin offered the work to the  Peretz School, where, as mentioned, his parents were It is quite possible that his father's October 1962 death  played a role in this decision.  The members of the Peretz School,  for their part, were duly honoured by Belkin's offer, but they felt that such a piece needed to be seen by the entire community, which they still believed was not doing enough to remember the events of the Holocaust.14 While Belkin was in Vancouver for his father's funeral, he was also approached by Sam Heller, Chairman of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee, who had heard from others about the mural and Belkin's indecision as to where to donate it. voice  to  Belkin's  those return  in  favour  to Mexico,  reconfirming these views.  of he  the  Community  received  a  Heller added his Centre,  letter  and  from  upon  Heller  The letter read in part:  it is my sincere and unbiased opinion that a mural of such high artistic value (especially now that I have seen a reproduction of it) would be lost in the Peretz School. It would be there in view of the children who are too young to appreciate its beauty—maybe it would be viewed from time to time by a few parents who might come to a P.T.A. meeting, but that is all. If you were to decide on the new Community Centre, it would be hung on the light wall to the right of the main entrance; it would be in full view of anyone in the vestibule, and it would be seen day in and day out by hundreds of people entering the Centre—be it Jewish or, as is often the case, non-Jews. It is my feeling that this mural would add very much to the appearance of the Centre. It would give the finishing touch as right now, it is nothing but a modern concrete box, designed by the architects. The mural would bear a bronze plaque at the bottom, with a proper inscription to be designated by you...15 This letter, as it turned out, tipped the scales for Belkin, who wrote back agreeing to donate the mural to the Centre.16 96  Soon  after receiving Belkin's approval, Sam Heller brought the proposal to the Executive Committee of the Jewish Community  Centre.  A  photo of the mural was circulated, followed by a long discussion as to the appropriateness of a depiction of so somber a topic in a location like the Centre.  Nonetheless, it was agreed to recommend  to the Centre's Executive Board that they accept Belkin's offer.17 The minutes of the ensuing Board meeting likewise  indicate  that  there  had  in mid November  already  been  1962  "considerable  controversy concerning the suitability of the painting for placing in the Centre due to the theme that it represented."18 Although  the  exact  nature  of  this  "controversy"  is  not  elaborated in the minutes, some of the individuals involved recall that the main, inter-locking objections of those against accepting the mural  lay not  so much  in having  a work  dedicated  to the  uprising but that Belkin's painting would be too graphic, morbid, and unpleasant for those entering the building, and that it might somehow emotionally damage the children who played in that area.19 It also appears that some may have worried that the mural would invite anti-Semitism rather than stand as a monument against it, while it is also possible that Belkin's leftist views may have worked to the mural's disadvantage.20  Those arguing in favour of  the work, several of whom were themselves artists, asserted that it was a tremendous piece of art by an important artist portraying a crucial historic event and that the Centre was an ideal location for it, indeed, that it should have been considered an honour.21 As for the contention that it was better not to expose children to 97  such things, these individuals argued that it was nonsensical to try and  shield young people, particularly  Jewish young people,  from the world's realities. In  the  end,  after  another  long  discussion  and  some  "interpretation by Mr. Heller", the Board agreed to accept the mural on the condition that they could hang it where they thought most suitable.22  This stipulation however, proved unacceptable to  Arnold Belkin, and on that note, the matter seemed closed.  Not  having heard back from the Centre by February 1963, Belkin all but gave up and contemplated re-approaching the Peretz School until he was  reassured  a  month  later  discussion" over the matter.23 a petition  signed by  that  the  Centre  was  still  "in  That spring the Board had received  seventy-five  community members  requesting  that they re-open negotiations with Belkin about the painting.24 Although they agreed to do so, for reasons which are not clear, this debate was not taken up again until a September meeting. In the interim, reverberations of some of the issues raised by the prospect of hanging the mural in the JCC lobby were in evidence at the 1963 Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Evening. his  opening  address  on  this  occasion,  Sam  Heller  As part of made  the  following statements, decrying: the voices in our community who would like to forget and not be reminded; who object to our bringing back memories, gruesome memories of days past; who are afraid that this gruesomeness of our past, our history and heritage will affect their children. Those are the people who will die in submissiveness if such a day should ever happen again. They bury their heads in the proverbial sand hoping that if they forget, it will ease their existence in the Gentile world.25 By some accounts, emotions also ran high at the September 98  1963 JCC Board meeting when the matter of the mural was once again raised.26  Sam Heller and two other Committee members, including  Dr. Ludmilla Zeldowicz who was a psychiatrist, appeared at this meeting to ask that the question of the painting be reconsidered. The small party presented coloured slides of the mural and its various  aspects, followed by yet another  long discussion  whether it should be mounted in the lobby or whether  about  alternate  arrangements could be made.  Both Dr. Zeldowicz and a University  of  psychologist  British  statements  Columbia opposing  child  who  the view that children  protected from such images.27  was could  present or  made  should be  Finally, a motion to hang the mural  in the lobby, as desired by the artist, was passed by a vote of fifteen to nine with four abstentions.28 As part of this agreement, it was also arranged painting  would  Evening  for  troublesome.  be  unveiled  1964.  Even  during  the  aspects  Warsaw  of  this  that the  Ghetto  Memorial  process  proved  For its part, the JCC's insurance company refused to  insure the mural against "malicious damage" unless a three foot fence  was  built  alternatively, lounge argument  area  around  it  at  a  distance  if the work was hung above  perhaps,  the  in the  staircase.29  the  of  Rather  JCC's president Albert  leave the mural in the lounge uninsured.  three  feet, or,  far corner of the than  rehash  Kaplan  this  agreed  to  Chrome stands linked by  a cord were installed in front of the piece as a compromise.  One  related item that remained permanently unresolved however, was the Committee's  suggestion  that  some 99  sort  of  mimeographed  "interpretation" of the mural's symbolism be mounted close to the painting so that teachers or youth leaders could discuss it with their classes or groups.30  It does not appear that this measure  was ever taken; the only text accompanying the mural was a plaque dedicating  the work to Belkin's  father.  Any other  impressions  were left wholly to the viewer.  Figure 4: Mural unveiling, 1964  In spite of this sequence of eventualities, the unveiling itself was quite successful.  Publicity preceding the event was  enthusiastic, quoting reviews such as "the artist has created a mural  which  humanity.  has  a  message  for  everyone,  a  message  for  all  The distinctively Jewish and the universal, are blended 100  together into a great work of art." ceremony  were  attended  by  over  The memorial and unveiling  500  people,  including  (See Figure 4) .32  Belkin, who introduced his work  Arnold  The evening  concluded with a small reception organized by the Committee to thank  the  individuals  who  had  helped  with  the  program.  In  subsequent JWB coverage, it was mentioned that Belkin was "wellknown in Vancouver as an artist" and that his work was part of collections all over the world.33  While he was in the city for the  unveiling, Belkin was also invited to the JCC to speak about the role  of  artists,  doing  several  interviews  on  various  radio  programs as well. In the ensuing years, Belkin continued to gain considerable prominence  as  a  muralist  and  painter,  particularly  America, but also in Israel and the United States.  in  Latin  His life's  work in murals alone numbered twenty-eight major projects.  Some  of his later commissions included a large mural in an urban New York City neighbourhood as well as works depicting  the student  shootings at Kent State University and the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai. cancer  in  1992,  his  body  was  laid  When Belkin died of lung in  state—with  blessing—at the Modern Art Museum in Mexico City.34 work  is  still highly  lauded  Much of his  in the Spanish-speaking  fact, some critics insist that his international  rabbinic  world,  in  reputation is  higher than that of any other Canadian artist.35 The fate of Belkin's "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising" mural, on the other hand, has not been as auspicious. 101  Despite the high hopes of  the Committee, it did not become a focal point for remembrance. Aside from the occasional photo opportunity that it provided for visiting community notables, the mural seems to have more or less faded  into  the  background  Community Centre. being  relocated  of  the  hustle  and  bustle  of  the  A series of JCC renovations resulted in its  or  temporarily  covered  over  many  finally, it was removed from sight altogether.36  times, until  It was only re-  hung in the Centre in the mid 1990s, this time high at the back of the building's Wosk Auditorium, where it continues to stir the passions of only the relatively few people who notice it, either because  they  still believe  it  is  a most  significant  artistic  contribution and deserves far greater prominence, or because they feel it is bad art, disturbing and out of place, or simply ugly. In Uprising"  any  case,  was  not  it  is  the  clear  that  permanent  community wanted or was ready for.  Belkin's  memorial  that  "Warsaw much  Ghetto of  the  This is attested to by the  fact that very shortly after its installation new efforts began to build an altogether different type of Holocaust monument, to be discussed in the next chapter.  Leaving aside all debate over the  piece's aesthetic merits, the Belkin mural lacked a place in the rhythms of the community calendar; after 1964 it was not a feature of the annual ceremonies or any other form of ritual remembrance. For  the  next  decade,  the  community's  public  Holocaust  commemoration continued to take the shape of the yearly memorial evenings organized by the Warsaw Ghetto Committee, also taking on several new attributes and formats.37  102  Notes 1. Lou Zimmerman to Morris Stein, January 6, 1965. Region Files, Box 13a\ File 366.  CJC Pacific  2. Minutes of the Jewish Community Centre Executive Committee, November 19, 1962. These records are the property of the JCC itself; I owe thanks to Joyce Whittaker and current JCC President Gerry Zipursky for allowing me to use them. 3. Belkin's biographical details are provided in: William M. Kramer. "Sr. Arnold Belkin: The Mexican Jewish Artist from Calgary, Canada, A Memoir of the Artist," Western States Jewish History, 26 (1994), pp. 233-250; 365-77; Heather Pringle. "Stealing Fire," Equinox, March-April 1992, pp.51-61; Bob Carty. "Arnold Belkin, The Canadian Son of Mexican Muralism," CBC Radio Archives, 1998, <http://radio.cbc.ca/programs/thismorning/archives/ab_trans.html> 4. Transcript, Arnold Belkin Interview, 1972. History Archive.  Smithsonian Oral  5. Quoted in Heather Pringle. "Stealing Fire," p.55. 6. "Arnold Belkin Speaks On Role of Artists," JWB, December 12, 1955, p.l. 7. Heather Pringle, Stealing Fire, p.56. 8. Quoted in William Kramer. "Sr. Arnold Belkin," p.247. 9. Arnold Belkin to parents, November 1965. Belkin's personal correspondences are the property of his widow, Patricia Quijano Belkin. Copies of these letters were generously provided to me by David Pettigrew, a local writer-filmmaker who researched Belkin's life for an as yet unproduced documentary film. 10. Personal conversation with Dr. William Kramer, March 2001. 11. "Unveil Belkin Mural at Warsaw Ghetto Night," JWB, April 3, 1964, p.5. 12. Arnold Belkin to parents, December 7, 1959. 13. William Kramer. "Sr. Arnold Belkin," p.244. One of the Mexican reviews from this showing later quoted in the JWB, April 3, 1964, p. 5, said of Belkin: "Jewish artist and artist of humanity, possesses the greatness of combined profundity and superb mastery of techniques." 14. Personal conversation with Sylvia Friedman, a very active longtime member of the Peretz School. 103  15. Sam Heller to Arnold Belkin, guoted in a letter from Arnold Belkin to his sister, November 5, 1962. 16. Ibid. 17. JCC Executive Committee Minutes, November 19, 1962. 18. JCC Executive Board Minutes, November 28, 1962. 19. Personal conversations with Gertie Zack, then Vice-President of the JCC, and Paul Heller, Sam Heller's brother and an active member of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee. 20. Personal conversation with Dr. William Kramer. 21. Personal conversation with Gertie Zack. 22. JCC Executive Board Minutes, November 28, 1962. 23. Arnold Belkin to parents, February 14, 1963, and March 4, 1963. 24. JCC Executive Board Minutes, May 13, 1963. 25. "Many Pay Silent Tribute to the Memory of Six Million," JWB, April 26, 1963, pp.5, 12. 26. Personal conversation with Gertie Zack. 27. Personal interview with Paul Heller. 28. JCC Executive Board Minutes, September 24, 1964. 29. Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Minutes, April 7, 1964. CJC Pacific-Region Files, Box 15\ File 505. 30. Ibid. The matter of an "interpretive" plaque for the mural was raised again at the January 27, 1965 Committee meeting and perhaps several times thereafter. For whatever reason, the idea was eventually abandoned. 31. "Unveil Belkin Mural at Warsaw Ghetto Night," JWB, April 3, 1964, p.5. 32. Photo taken by Searle Friedman, April 12, 1964. My sincere thanks to Sylvia Friedman for providing me with a copy and allowing me to use it. Arnold Belkin can be seen in profile on the far right of the picture. 33. JWB, April 17, 1964, p.3. 104  34. Personal conversation with Dr. William Kramer. 35. Bob Carty. "Arnold Muralism," CBC Radio.  Belkin:  The  Canadian  Son  of  Mexican  36. Statements as to the whereabouts of the mural over the last 25 years tend to vary. By some accounts it was covered over on a regular basis until finally it was simply left that way. Others have mentioned an obscure hallway or storage. This uncertainty itself suggests the degree to which the mural was eventually ignored. 37. In an interesting parallel to the story of the Vancouver mural, another of Belkin's works which he painted shortly after "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising" suffered a somewhat similar fate. This particular work was a large mural commissioned by the Children's Welfare Institute in Mexico City, a home for disabled children. Only a few months after the mural was completed in 1963, the wife of the Mexican president deemed it "too sad" and had it covered over with paint, a decision that later prompted Belkin to comment, "Maybe the disfigured children looked disfigured. Maybe the neglected children looked neglected." Quoted in: William Kramer, "Sr. Arnold Belkin," p.237.  105  CHAPTER 5: 1965-1975 Background: As of 1971, Vancouver's Jewish population had risen to about 9000 people.1  Although the community's core remained situated near  the two largest  synagogues and Community Centre, movement  away  from the city also increased, resulting in the creation of several suburban Orthodox and Conservative congregations in this period. Further diversity was provided by the incorporation of a Reform group in 1965, a Sephardic congregation in 1973, and a growing Lubavitch  presence  after  afternoon  schools were  Canadian  Jewish  1974.2  also  Several  new  established.  Congress'  Pacific  By  Region  Jewish this had  day  and  point,  the  become  the  community's leading agency and umbrella organization, particularly in terms of public relations, adult education, and multicultural outreach.  Local  interests  aside, the plight  of  the  State  of  Israel and Jews living in the Soviet bloc and Arab lands were the dominant  community  concerns  during  these  years,  unprecedented levels of social and political activism.3  prompting Ongoing  issues from the Holocaust years also continued to make an impact, often merging with and shading current affairs and vice versa. According to Frank Bialystok in Delayed Impact, one of the most influential factors in thrusting the Holocaust into CanadianJewish discourse during these years was the growing rift between organized groups of Holocaust survivors and the CJC, caused mainly by what survivors saw as the weak Congress response to neo-Nazi groups operating in Central and Eastern Canada. 106  A chapter of his  work is devoted to the 1965 Allan Gardens riot, an episode during which  members  of  the  more  radical  survivor  groups  physically  clashed with neo-Nazis at a rally in a Toronto park.  Bialystok  cites this event and its aftermath as a major turning point in putting  Holocaust-related  community's  agenda.  But  issues Allan  on  the  Gardens  was  Canadian-Jewish far  away  from  Vancouver; its impact was limited to a few articles in the JWB. There were no affiliated survivor organizations in Vancouver at this time, at least not operating in a political framework, though many survivors were members of their local B'nai Brith. there  evidence  dissatisfaction relations.  of with  a  strong  the  Pacific  Nonetheless,  increasingly  vocal  undercurrent  even  Holocaust  of  Region's  handling  lacking  this  discourse  continued  Nor is survivor  of  public  stimulus, in  an  Vancouver  during these years. Local Jewish sensitivity to the war's legacy was in clear evidence throughout the JWB's coverage of events between 1965 and 1975, a good deal of which scrutinized any manifestations of neoNazi activity in Germany itself.  Although antipathy toward the  Germans had subsided to the extent that Israel and West Germany's 1965  exchange  of  ambassadors  went  largely  unprotested  in  the  paper, careful watch was kept of the Bonn Republic, particularly of its leadership and elections.  The rapid but ultimately short-  lived mid-1960s political rise of Adolf von Thadden and his Nazireminiscent National Democratic Party was viewed with particular alarm,  eliciting  REVIVAL."4  large  headlines  such  as  "VOTE  SIGNALS  NAZI  In Canada, von Thadden (sometimes called "Adolf II" in  107  the  JWB)  became  even  more  notorious  after  giving  a  somewhat  innocuous-sounding interview with the CBC, which was compounded in Vancouver when he was invited to speak at UBC. was  quickly withdrawn, but  the  fallout  This invitation  spurred  numerous  angry  letters, most of which emphasized the imperative to take heed of the lessons of the past.5 These  lessons, however,  could be  somewhat problematic,  as  demonstrated by the April 1967 official visit of a German Navy ship  called  the  "Deutschland".  The  visit,  along  with  City  Council's plans to greet and entertain the German sailors, appears to have been intended as a goodwill gesture.  This was by no means  the view taken by the United Jewish People's Order, though, who protested publicly that the ship was a symbol of German militarism and  a desecration  victims of Nazism.6 Jewish  press,  of the memory  of Canadian  veterans  and  all  Because these statements were made to the non-  Congress  was  thereby  placed  in  the  rather  uncomfortable position of having to not only, once again, disavow any connection between the UJPO and the representative bodies of the city's Jewish community, but to also assert that "Vancouver Jews bear no malice against the visiting Germans although they will never forget Nazi atrocities inflicted against their people and other races."7  The statement added that the city of Vancouver  was entitled to extend official welcome to any and all visitors. Unlike the case in other parts of Canada, local incidents of neo-Nazi  activity  were  fairly  infrequent  in  this  period,  one  exception being the August 1970 spray-painting of swastikas on the Beth  Israel and Schara Tzedeck  synagogues,  108  in tandem with  the  handing  out  of  anti-Semitic  pamphlets  at  a  beach.8  nearby  Otherwise, the media glare pertaining to the legacy of the Nazi era  was  focussed  mostly  on  events  abroad,  usually  in  brief  accounts of various war-crimes trials, restitution delays, or the activities  of  Klarsfeld.  "Nazi-hunters"  like  Simon  Wiesenthal  and  Beate  There were times when these issues did hit closer to  home, as in March 1971, when Wiesenthal created something of a stir by accusing Vancouver resident Ivan Dimitrevich Chrobatyn of being a former Ukrainian police chief responsible for the wartime murder of hundreds of Jews. seized  upon  leadership approach,  this  story,  remained  whereas  both  considerably  more  particularly  evidence.9  The  The non-Jewish press, interestingly,  in  internal  light  advice  the  JWB  and  community  circumspect  of  the  given  to  lack the  in  of  their  definitive  Pacific  Region's  Executive Director on this matter was to emphasize that Wiesenthal and the mainstream media were responsible for the allegations, and as such, should be the ones to answer for it if Chrobatyn was innocent.10  It does not appear that the latter was ever determined  however, and the story quietly faded from the headlines. More than any other issue, it was the perception of Israel's situation  on  the  world  stage  that  summoned  the  strongest  evocations of the destruction of European Jewry, particularly as the Israelis  fought two dramatic wars in less than  six years.  Given the long-held belief that there was a causal and redemptive connection between the Holocaust and the existence of the Jewish State, any threat to the latter naturally  elicited  "second Holocaust" or a "Middle East Munich".  109  fears of a  The Munich analogy  was  driven  home  by  frequent  Jewish  Western  Bulletin  articles  emphasizing the similarity between Israel's perceived abandonment by  the  international  community  and  the  ceding "of  parts  of  Czechoslovakia to the Nazis in September 1938 as a lead-up to the war.  One  front page headline,  in  fact, read  "Israel  Is Not  Czechoslovakia. "1X Even prominence  some in  of this  the  Holocaust-related  period  reinforced  the  book  reviews  image  of  given  Israel  as  standing alone in a hostile world, such as Arthur Morse's While Six  Million  Died,  a  highly  critical  view  immigration policy toward Jews, or printed  of  U.S.  excerpts  wartime  from Chaim  Kaplan's Warsaw Ghetto diaries, given the caption "'The people are asking—Why is the world silent?'"12  In September 1971, similar  issues were raised during the Vancouver visit of Gideon Hausner, the prosecutor of the Eichmann case and recent author of the book Justice  in Jerusalem.  In keeping with the tone of his book,  Hausner's speech on this occasion likewise emphasized the world's inaction during the Holocaust.13 The  recurrent  theme  of  much  of  this  coverage  was  that  Israel's existence depended on learning the lessons of the stillrecent past. been  According to one editorial, the Jewish people had  sold out once before; they would have only themselves to  blame if they let it happen again.14  Or, as the title of another  editorial  Seeks  a  Holocaust,"  PLO  is  suicide."15  reading  asserted,  "Negotiating  "Arafat with  the  the  subhead  In her  JWB  description of a 1975 trip to Israel as a member of the Canadian National Women's United Israel Appeal Mission, Vancouver resident  110  Ancie Fouks reported that, "For Israelis, the Holocaust history—it is a warning."16 the  community  urging  that  is not  She went on to rebuff those voices in Jews not  dwell  on  the Holocaust  by  saying that such events were not in the past; they themselves were living in an era when "Jewish men, women, and children by the millions are again facing annihilation and despair." coverage was infrequent  Middle East  further tied to memories of the Holocaust by not  articles  about  ex-Nazis  shifting  their  base  from  postwar Germany to work for Israel's neighbouring enemies.  In  addition to the afore-mentioned Nazi scientists in Egypt, other pieces alluded to the activities of Nazi propagandists in Syria or Nazi soldiers in Jordan.17 Nor were the Arab states and former Nazis seen as alone in their quest to destroy Israel by force. placed  culpability  squarely  with  the  A good deal of reportage Soviet  Union,  the  major  military backer of Arab aims and the very nation that was widely seen as perpetrating  its own  form of  Jewish destruction,  within its borders and throughout its satellite states.  both  In terms  of political outlook, JWB editor Sam Kaplan was right-leaning to begin with, and seldom did an issue of the Bulletin appear without at least some mention of Soviet or Polish persecutions of their Jewish minorities.  Vancouver's  non-Jewish  fairly extensive coverage of repressive  press  also  provided  Jewish policies  in the  Communist bloc, though drawing far fewer analogies to the events of the Holocaust. Within the Jewish community, on the other hand, the suffering of  Soviet  Jews  was  often  held  up  111  as  one  more  reason  making  remembrance of the Holocaust more necessary than ever.  In the  words of one writer, a Soviet Jew whose parents had been murdered at Babi Yar, the Jews who suffered both forms of tyranny were "symbols of two lost generations, one the victim of Nazi genocide, and  the  other  the  victim  of  Soviet  cultural  genocide."  In  recalling the one, she wrote, "we must stand in solidarity with the other."18  Toward this end, presumably, the JWB introduced a  second addition to the Seder ritual in 1970, the "Matzah of Hope" remembering "the Three Million Jews of the Soviet Union and the Jewish Remnant  Living  in Arab Lands  Today", which was printed  back-to-back each year with the "Seder Ritual of Remembrance" for the Warsaw Ghetto and the Six Million. To the dismay of many, invoking the Holocaust could also be a double-edged sword.  A great deal of the reported Soviet and Arab  anti-Jewish propaganda  in these years accused the  Israelis  and  their supporters of Hitler-type treatment of Arabs, a bitterlyresented  analogy  detractors  that  was  taken  up  by  a  number  of  from both right and left of the political  Canadian spectrum.  This situation prompted the CJC's Pacific Region to establish a branch  of  the  Canada-Israel  Committee,  an  educational  body  providing the Israeli point of view in these matters, a task made no easier by the 1974 United Nations recognition of the PLO and subsequent resolution equating Zionism with racism.19  This debate  sometimes entered other arenas, such as the academic sphere, as when a University of British Columbia professor was quoted in the school's Ubyssey magazine comparing Zionism and Nazism during a lecture.  The incident initiated a flurry of letters, one of which  112  was printed in the JWB. student, between  The author of this letter, a UBC graduate  categorically Israeli  rejected  any  and Nazi policy.  similarities  whatsoever  He went on to describe  the  Israeli people as "three million Jews who sincerely want peace, but who, this time, will not go quietly to the ovens."20 Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, another factor that worked to maintain  the Holocaust  in popular  discourse was  the  change  in  attitude toward Judaism among some Christian circles, largely due to the wartime genocide itself. these  shifts  occurred  within  Perhaps the most dramatic of the  Catholic  church,  including  removal of some of the anti-Judaic language in the liturgy and a 1965 declaration that Jews were not to blame for the crucifixion of Jesus.  These developments also entailed unprecedented public  acknowledgment and criticism, both Christian and Jewish, of the role of religious anti-Semitism in fostering violence toward Jews for nearly two millennia, culminating in the Holocaust. first  time, the JWB began printing book  reviews  and  For the editorial  discussions about the role of the churches, and Pope Pius XII in particular,  during  the Holocaust.21  Even  the  community  rabbis  engaged in some of this debate, such as a 1964 column written by Rabbis Ephraim and Levy in which they invoked past inequities  encouraged  by  the  church,  "paving  the  anti-Jewish way  for  the  massacre by Hitler of 6,000,000 men, women, and children of us Hebrews merely because of who we are."22 Not all condemnatory;  such discussion of the war it was  at  about  this  same  years was time  that  necessarily occasional  prominence in the JWB was given to "Righteous Gentiles", a term  113  coined by Yad Vashem to honour non-Jews who had saved Jewish lives during the war.  The story of Oskar Schindler, for example, was  featured in a 1962 editorial.23  In 1966, Vancouver residents Henry  Hulstein and his wife Grace were honoured by a special committee of survivors and others for their role in a Dutch rescue network. Reporting on this gesture, which included the assumption of the Hulsteins' mortgage, Pacific Region Executive Director Roy Waldman stated, "Nothing we have done in recent years has so warmed the hearts of our Jewish community...This project, with all its public relations ramifications and human aspects, has left a glow with all who were associated with it and did credit to Congress."24 similar gesture was made by about sixty Jewish Hillel  House  representative  in of  November the  Danish  1968,  when  community  youth at UBC's  they  and  A  presented  former  a  resistance  member with a silver Kiddush cup in honour of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the rescue of Denmark's Jewish community.25 At the local level, there was also an expansion of ChristianJewish  dialogue  through  the Vancouver  Council of Christians and Jews  (CCCJ).  branch  of  the  Canadian  Events sponsored by the  group sometimes opened the door for acknowledgment of Christian persecutions as a precursor to the Holocaust, as was the case with a speech made by B.C. Lieutenant-Governor George Pearkes, who used a  1968  CCCJ banquet  in his honour  to  address  the  history  of  Christian anti-Semitism leading to the acts perpetrated by Nazi Germany.26  A number of Vancouver theologians and scholars were  also highly attune to both the events of the Holocaust and the importance of Israel to postwar Jewry.  114  In late 1974 a group of  these  individuals  declaring  their  recognized  issued  a  support  borders,  statement  for  also  to  Israel's  asserting  the  claims  that  "We  Vancouver to  media  secure  repent  our  and past  indifference to the suffering of the Jewish people, in particular the holocaust of the six million during World War II."27  It bears  mentioning, though, that this sensitivity was not universal.  In  their personal assessments of two local CCCJ dialogue sessions in 1975, several participants felt that the Christian representatives had far to go in confronting the "theological denigration of Jews and  Judaism,  through  the  period  of  the  Crusaders  up  to  the  Auschwitzes of our time," similarly lacking an appreciation for the sense of urgency with which Jews entered the dialogue.28 As discouraging as such developments may have been, it is clear that there was an expanding interest in the events and scope of the Holocaust during this period.  Interfaith debate aside, the  JWB began printing regular reviews of movies and historical works documenting various aspects of Jewish experience during the war years, hitherto  often  exploring  taken  for  or  granted  reassessing or  topics  neglected.  that The  had concept  been of  resistance, for example, was broadened to include the day to day cultural and spiritual existence of Jews living under Nazi rule, while even the role of the "Judenrate", the Nazi-appointed Jewish councils in the ghettos, was treated with more sympathy.  Extended  articles were likewise devoted to the growing body of Holocaust literature and  theological speculation of a post-Auschwitz world.  It was during  these years that  stories  also  began  gaining  survivors  prominence,  115  as  and  their  individual  exemplified  by  the  dramatic impact made by Elie Wiesel when he spoke at the Beth Israel  synagogue  enunciated  the  in  duty  1970.  Wiesel's  to bear  lecture  witness, not  on  only  this for  occasion those  who  suffered under the Nazis but also as a way to protest on behalf of Soviet Jewry and the prevention of a nuclear holocaust.29 Thus, the community's growing public activism and concerns often impacted the way that the Holocaust was remembered, while the Holocaust likewise informed the way in which current events were being viewed. considerable  At the same time, this period was marked by a  expansion  in  the  public  discourse  of  different  aspects of the Holocaust and the types of groups openly engaging in that discourse.  Over time, many of these factors came to be  reflected in the community's commemoration.  Commemoration: That said, to a certain extent the rituals of the community's annual  Holocaust  commemoration  between  1965  similar to those used from the mid-1950s.  and  1975  remained  Each observance began  with a solemn candle-lighting ceremony, a moment of silence, the rendition of El Moleh Rahamin, and opening remarks by a member of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee.  Often a guest speaker would  also be invited to give a brief lecture.  Music and poetry written  during the war continued to be performed at almost all gatherings. The Committee itself remained composed in large part of the same individuals who had established the event in 1956, as well as the UJPO members who had joined them as of 1958-1959.  Co-sponsorship  of the memorial evenings continued to be provided by the CJC's 116  Pacific Region and Jewish Community Centre; it became matter of course for the executive directors of both organizations to sit on the Committee during their tenure.30 In one sense this stability made planning easier, but as the ten-year  mark  of  the  Committee's  work  came  and  went,  the  imperative to involve the community's youth was felt more and more strongly. event's  Discussions often turned to the need to ensure the continuity  by  attracting  representatives from all Jewish groups.31  new  leadership  and  More often than not, the  role, of lighting the six memorial candles was assigned to school children spanning the community's religious and social spectrum. At times this special task was also bestowed on a single child active with the Committee as a performer in the plays or through the participation of parents.32  Some of the artistic materials  that were used also emphasized the experiences of children during and after the Holocaust. excerpts  from  the  The 1965 program, for instance, featured  play  "One  Hundred  Children",  a  fact-based  account by Dutch survivor Lena Kuchler-Silberman of her efforts to settle  Jewish war orphans  in Israel.  In 1966, an exhibit of  children's poetry and drawings from the Terezin camp was held at the JCC, followed in 1968 by the Warsaw Ghetto Evening performance of the play "I Never Saw Another Butterfly", which incorporates many of these poems and which, in its final scene, dramatizes a child-survivor's determination to show her own daughter that "in the midst of death, the children never stopped believing in life. I shall let the children speak for themselves."33 In addition to these program  117  features, the Committee  also  hoped to raise youth interest through an annual essay contest, launched in 1968 to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the  Warsaw  letters  Ghetto  mailed  researching  out  uprising. to  youth  According  to  leaders, one  the of  many the  Committee  purposes  of  Jewish life during the Holocaust was to refute the  "unfounded accusations against all of our Six Million Martyrs who were allegedly led like cattle to the slaughter."34  Themes to be  dealt with were "The Significance of the Warsaw Ghetto" "Life in the Warsaw Ghetto or Jewish Heroism Century"  (1969), "Victims into Warriors"  in the  (1968),  Twentieth  (1970), and "Heroes of  the Warsaw Ghetto or The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Its Impact Today"  (1971).35  'Not  surprisingly  given  these  subjects,  the  majority of essays turned in stressed how the ghetto fighters had indeed broken the mold of Jewish victimhood, showing the world, in the view of one participant, that "we are not just a people of the book, but rather a people of action. . .That we are worthy of our ancestral heritage; of the Jacobs, the Davids, the Maccabees, the Bar Kochbas."36  Almost all of the entrants also made at least one,  if not several, allusions to how the uprising inspired the Israeli Defense Forces in 1948 and again in 1967, defeating their enemies against all odds. On a different note, one of the winning works submitted in the junior division reflects a more left-wing interpretation of the uprising, and, considering the writer's age of eleven, betrays a certain degree of adult help.  The author, after describing the  Jewish people as "a group of humanists left to wander from country to country",  asserts that resistance made the  118  fighters  realize  that  the  Messiah  was  a  part  of  themselves,  which  they  forgotten "in search of something more materialistic."37  had  The dark  side of human nature is then said to be a fact that Jews would have to put up with "until a warm sense of brotherhood covers the earth."  A  pair of  first-place  poems  entered  by  a  university  student in 1970 suggests more of the disillusionment of the times. One deals with the backlash of anti-Semitism generated by the radicalization  of  the  civil  rights movement,  reading  in part:  "That's right man, those bastard capitalists deserve\ what they get.\ —pogroms are IN". Israel's  status,  and  The other raises a pessimistic view of for  that  matter,  the  entire  Jewish  experience: Tears for the six million We remember them NOW Limbs torn from children eyes plucked like roses of yesterday. Shema Y'Israel No one cares that Warsaw is with you today. At least they had a ghetto for a whilethose persecuted Jews Now there is an Israel for a whileyou bleeding Jews Shema Y'Israel Perhaps someday we shall hold a memorial for you. Despite this variety in the entries and a measure of initial success, the essay contest was abandoned by the Committee after four  years,  the  latter  citing  the  "not  entirely  inspiring"  cooperation of the community's Jewish schools and youth groups as a factor in the contest's demise.38  Ongoing Committee efforts to  encourage commemorative afternoons in the community's schools also met with limited success, as Congress felt that this should be a decision  left  difficult  to  to  individual  ascertain  the  principals.39 level 119  of  youth  It  is  thus  exposure  to  very the  Holocaust through the Jewish schools, particularly for the early period of my study, which, as described in the pervious chapters, was marked by a reluctance among some to subject their children to such horrors. principals  A number of survivors were engaged as teachers and  with  necessarily discussion  the  community  translate of  the  into  schools,  curriculum  Holocaust  outside  but  this  inclusion of  a  did  or  narrow  not  general  historical  context.40 The Peretz School appears to be the exception herein, both in terms of annual commemoration, which began in 1948, and a general philosophy among the staff and P.T.A. that Jewish youth should be exposed to the events of the war.  In the view of one longtime  member, a number of the survivors who were active with the school were also motivated to speak more openly about their experiences because they saw them both in political terms and tragedy.41 psychological  Though  no  harm  than  less  worried  anyone  about  else,  their  as a personal  causing acute  children political  sensibilities pushed them to speak out and warn a new generation. In the late 1960s, the Peretz School also introduced a secular Seder service commemorating the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising to which the whole community was invited.  The group that implemented this  event called it the RCMP—Radical Community Maintenance Passover.42 The  rituals  and materials  that  were  used  for  these  occasions  emphasized the role and experiences of children. One other youth organization that developed its own form of commemoration by at least the early 1960s, if not sooner, was the Vancouver  chapter  of  Habonim,  a movement  120  associated  with  the  Labour Zionist philosophy but independent of an adult counterpart. In  addition  to  the  group's  firmly-held  belief  that  the  anti-  Semitism that culminated in the Holocaust was the catalyst as well as raison d'etre for the existence of State of Israel, many of Habonim's members in these years had their roots in Eastern Europe and had personally lost family during the war.43  The thriving pre-  war European Habonim movement itself had been all but wiped out. Commemoration was incorporated into the organization's summer camp Tisha  B'Av  whereby  activities, taking  participants  would  the  shape  assume  of  frozen  plays  or  positions  tableaux depicting  Jewish suffering under the Nazis while other campers marched by in a torchlight parade.  Other themes of destruction would also be  included in some of these activities, not all necessarily Jewish, such as Hiroshima and Vietnam.  The Holocaust, though it did not  dominate the group's educational cycle, had its definite place. However, Habonim tended to be a fairly insular organization, and it does not appear that there was much contact between the group and the Warsaw Ghetto Committee. Youth involvement aside, it is clear that the Holocaust  commemoration  was  taking  politicization during this period.  on  a  higher  community's degree  of  As in previous years, this was  especially evident in the speeches given at the memorial evenings. Although  parts  of  these  lectures  continued  to  justify  commemoration from a universalist standpoint, emphasizing themes of freedom and political liberty, or warning against indifference to  the  suffering  of  others,  the  memorials  also  offered  an  opportunity to vocalize the specifically Jewish concerns of the  121  day.  As  guest  speaker  in  1968,  local  lawyer  Dave  Freeman  enunciated the duty of Jews to be the conscience of the world by not  allowing  chauvinistic countrymen ago."44  to  others and  to  forget:  alarmist,  recall  the  we  "At  the  must  terrible  risk  compel  facts  of  of  our  sounding non-Jewish  twenty-five  years  He went on to describe how the recent persecutions of  Polish and Russian Jews signalled a rebirth of Nazism and racism, presenting  the possibility of another  must not, " he stated,  large-scale pogrom.  "allow the mistakes  repeated in the 1960s."45  of the  1930s  "We to be  Similarly, in his speech at the 1970  event, Vancouver barrister Isidore Wolfe pointed to the parallels between the situation of European Jewry during the Holocaust and the current threat to Jews in Soviet and Arab lands.  The only  difference, according to Wolfe, was that other Jews were now in a position to help by supporting the United Jewish Appeal.46 Although authors like Peter Novick have been critical of the invocation of the Holocaust in conjunction with fundraising for Israel--and it was sometimes crude indeed--these appeals reflect what many Jews sincerely felt was a responsibility to the Jewish State bequeathed to them by history.  While Novick asserts that  this sentiment was to some extent whipped up by communal groups and the pro-Israel lobby to meet the needs of the day, I would argue that the dramatic response of North American Jewry in 1967 and 1973 would have been far less feasible had  the  connection  between the Holocaust and the State of Israel's existence not been already ingrained in the popular imagination  for two decades.  This  Vancouver's  was  not  a  sudden  analogy  122  created  by  Jewish  leadership but rather a widely-held perception going back to the late 1940s. This  relationship  was  carefully  articulated  by  local  immigration judge Norman Oreck at the community's 1969 memorial. In  drawing  the  connection  between  the  uprising  and  the  194 8  establishment of Israel, Oreck emphasized that the latter could not have been foreseen by those who died in the Warsaw Ghetto and could not therefore have demanded their lives as a sacrifice.47 Nonetheless, in Oreck's view, the Holocaust as a whole had stabbed international conscience and generated the contrition that made a Jewish state possible. bequeathed--however  He declared, "That was the proudest legacy  anonymously—by  the  souls who  were  lost, a  legacy which every Jew in the world is in some way a beneficiary thereof."48  With this legacy came a trust to guarantee that "what  they created not be allowed to anguish or perish" lest that trust be tarnished. no  way  In this vein, Oreck also asserted that this duty in  detracted  from  other  political  concerns  or  Canadian  citizenship; he asked only that in times of crisis some priority be given to Israel's security.49 While  speeches of this nature  community's  broader  reflect  concerns, particularly  some of the  high  the  Jewish  degree  of  consensus in matters pertaining to Israel, commemoration in these years  could  politics.  also  expose  some of the  rawer  nerves  of  communal  One such controversy ensued from the 1965 event, part  of which included an opening address by Warsaw Ghetto Committee Chairman  Sam  Heller,  who  expressed  regret  that  some  of  the  community's spiritual leaders appeared to be more interested in  123  Kashruth (Jewish dietary law) and the sale of Coca-Cola at the JCC during Pesach than in remembering the victims of the Holocaust during  Yiskor  services  or  in  attending  the memorials.  These  comments, not surprisingly, sparked a number of letters to the JWB, among them a refutation from Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Schara Tzedeck  Synagogue.  Hier, who would go on to  found  the Simon  Wiesenthal Centre—one of the largest Holocaust institutes in the world—had  arrived in Vancouver in 1962 as an associate rabbi,  assuming Schara Tzedeck's full rabbinical duties in 1964. In taking  Sam Heller  to task, Hier pointed  out  that his  congregation honoured the martyrs not once but four times a year during  Yiskor  services,  also  complaining  that  neither  he  personally or the Schara Tzedeck had been contacted to help with the memorial.  He then asked what was the finer and more enduring  way to commemorate, to give a speech, or to "live in a way that the martyrs could proclaim: Judaism lives, Jewish children learn Torah, Ani Maamin is alive."50  Another letter-writer  protested  that the subject was hardly a matter to be discussed at an open community event, making him guestion whether the purposes of the memorial were to inspire Jewish youth, make Israel strong, and to strengthen  the bonds of Judaism, or whether Mr. Heller  wasn't  using commemoration to provide cathartic emotional release for the many survivors in the audience and as a platform religion.51  A  third writer voiced her  support  to  criticize  of Kashruth  in  general, asking whether giving up Coca-Cola for eight days was so hard when "the martyrs gave their lives because they thought being a Jew was worth dying for?"52  124  Given the opportunity to reply, Sam Heller apologized that he'd been mistaken about the Yiskor' services, also clarifying that his criticisms had in mind some of the former community rabbis rather than Hier or Rabbi Wilfred Solomon, who had taken over the Beth  Israel  congregation  audience that evening.  in 1964 and who was  actually  in the  Heller maintained that rabbinical support  of the memorials in previous years had been lukewarm; moreover, the Committee did not feel that special invitations needed to be made given the event's widespread publicity.  His comments had not  been intended to offend anyone, he wrote, but these concerns into the open.53 precisely what rankled some.  rather to bring  The latter intention, though, was This was still a period of self-  consciousness among much of the Jewish community, which did not invite open self-criticism on any subject, much less Jewish law or the perceived failings of the local rabbinate.  But this was just  one thread of the debate, the issue being one of what constituted the most "appropriate" response to the Holocaust and to what end it was to be remembered.  As the opinions in these letters would  suggest, the answers depended very much on one's personal belief system. debate  Perhaps, as James Young has suggested in his work, the itself  helped  to  animate  commemoration  and  keep  it  responsive to community needs, as local rabbis did indeed become more involved over time. As for the complaint made by Heller about poor rabbinical support  of  commemoration  difficult to determine. established  prior  to  the  1965  evening,  this  is  Once the Warsaw Ghetto memorials were  in 1956, the JWB ceased to announce  125  special Yiskor  services in the synagogues, though it is quite likely that these continued without interruption.  Certainly after Rabbis Hier and  Solomon arrived, various forms of commemoration in addition to the Yiskor prayers were implemented at both large synagogues, along with heightened  discussion of the Holocaust  community concerns.  was marked by six survivors and  a  its  impact  on  The smaller Reform group, Temple Sholom,  also engaged in memorial activities.  prayers,  and  Kaddish  At Beth Israel, Yom HaShoah  lighting memorial  adapted  to  candles, special  incorporate  the  major  destruction centres of the war and other sites of Jewish martyrdom in history.55 also  given  On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, major emphasis was to  the  Holocaust,  using  both  special  prayers  readings from authors such as Elie Wiesel and Nelly Sachs. Solomon introduced the congregation to another adapted  and  Rabbi  Passover  Seder ritual as well, this one composed by Rabbi Morris Silverman of the Jewish Theological Seminary, which Solomon used in his own home and at Pesach workshops and model seders in the religious schools. The  increase  in  synagogue  activity  commemorating  the  Holocaust notwithstanding, discussion of the role of religion in the  community-wide  point  of  debate.  Warsaw Ghetto memorials The matter was  meeting by Murray Kenig, who had  raised  remained at  a  1968  survived Auschwitz  an  ongoing  Committee and  other  camps as a teenager, and who felt, as he said others did, that the memorial evenings should be more religious in tone and would be more fitting if held in a synagogue.56  Though sympathetic to these  views, Committee members raised various objections, one being that  126  the  synagogues  commemorate.  were  already  holding  religious  services  to  Others emphasized that the evenings at the JCC were  for all Jews, "above politics, and above religion with a view to reminding everyone."57  It was felt that attendance at a synagogue  would be limited, while the dramatic material currently used made a definite impact. present  One member stated, "I don't mind which way we  it, in music or dramatic presentation—as  people will come and learn."58  long  as the  Thus, this matter remained somewhat  unresolved, though Murray Kenig himself joined the Committee in 1970.  Five years later, the Kaddish was incorporated as a regular  feature  of  the memorial program,  with  the  Committee  providing  extra yarmulkes for the audience.59 One United  final Jewish  point  of  People's  conflict Order,  in  this period  which  marked  the  involved  the  twenty-fifth  anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1968 with a photomural display held at the Peretz School.  The exhibit consisted of  eighty-two enlarged photographs, mounted on panels arranged in a zig-zag pattern,  forming  a wall.60  Approximately  half  of  the  photos featured scenes of Jewish destruction from World War II, while the other half, placed in juxtaposition, included shots of mushroom  clouds, neo-Nazi headlines  Napalm bombings, and numerous  scenes  in West  German newspapers,  of heavily-armed  American  soldiers in Vietnam confronting groups of women and children. Given the insularity of the UJPO and Peretz School alike, perhaps nothing would have come of the event, but for some reason the Vancouver Sun decided to send a reporter to the exhibit, who then contacted Rabbi Marvin Hier for comment.  127  Hier,  for his part,  declared  in no uncertain  terms  that  the UJPO, which  took  the  Communist line on everything, was not associated with the Jewish community.61 Over the next  few weeks, this debate shifted  to the JWB,  where John Mate, one of the local leaders of Habonim, wrote in to criticize Hier's tactics of discrediting what Mate felt was the UJPO's very valid comparison of German and American atrocities by labelling  the  respectability  group  as  Communist  among non-Jews.62  for  the  Mate added  sake  of  that  maintaining  to be  silent  about Vietnam was to commit the same crime as wartime bystanders. Rabbi Hier countered that to equate so sacred a part of Jewish history with just U.S. actions was playing politics, otherwise the display would have included the plight of Russian Jews: "For make no mistake about it, if napalm is a gas that smothers the breath of innocent people in Vietnam, then so is the poisonous gas of spiritual genocide used by the Soviet Union, smothering the hopes and aspirations of three million innocent civilians."63 Similar views were expressed by R.S. Ratner, a UBC professor, who accused the UJPO of "updating" the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as a way to attack American foreign policy while ignoring the Jewish purges in the Soviet bloc.  To his mind, no purpose could be less  suitable for a memorial event; such tactics exploited the memory of the ghetto martyrs rather than enshrining it.64  In this vein,  one of the people most upset by the affair was the same Murray Kenig mentioned above.  Writing to the editor, Kenig repeated his  belief that the only proper venue for a Holocaust memorial was a House of Worship, stating that it was bad enough  128  to turn the  tragedy  into a political  and social  controversy,  "but when it  divides Jews it desecrates the memory of our dead and makes a mockery of all memorials."65 As  for  the  UJPO,  organization  had  in  governments  about  supporters  fact  made  wrote  several  the treatment  of  in  to  say  protests  Jews,  and  in  that  the  to  Communist  any  case  the  photos were meant to show that genocide was the concern of all. According  to  Harold  Berson,  the  display's  creator,  the  group  honestly felt that the exhibit was "in line with the traditions and heritage of our forefathers who pursued a path of justice that encompassed  all  humanity."66  Another  member  argued  that  the  exhibit had succeeded in bringing the history of the Warsaw Ghetto from out of the confines of the 400-odd people who went to the memorials each year.  In his view, the legacy of the uprising was  "never to forgive, never to forget," a slogan of vigilance to be applied  not  just  against  anti-Semitism  but  against  war  in  general .67 Thus,  as with the earlier debate  sparked by Sam Heller's  comments, the issue of what represented a legitimate response to the  Holocaust's  legacy  had  clearly  not  found  a  consensus.  Although most of those who complained about the display asserted that they did not object to the principle  of universalizing the  Jewish experience during the war, this clearly had its limits. How  then,  in a public  forum  aimed  in part  at  the  community, was the significance of the destruction Jewry to be conveyed?  non-Jewish of European  Given the fact that many of the same people  attended each year, how were the memorials to be made interesting  129  and original? These dilemmas were central to the decisions  faced by the  Warsaw Ghetto Committee as members planned programs year,  the  aim  being  to  educate  and  stir  the  year  after  audience  while  preserving the solemn and dignified mood demanded by the occasion. Choosing  suitable materials was part of a lengthy process that  included writing countless letters to international organizations of every political stripe requesting information or possible works to perform.  Over the fifteen year period between 1959 and 1974,  letters went out to institutes as various as YIVO, the Workmen's Circle,  Jewish  Theological  Institute, Yad Vashem,  Seminary,  the  the Theodor Herzl  Polish  Historical  Institute, the  Jewish  Welfare Board, and Kibbutz Lohamei Hagettaot, a kibbutz and museum built by Holocaust survivors and resistance members who settled in Israel.  Even Mike Wallace of the CBS program "60 Minutes" was  sent a query about a segment of interest.68 some of files  the works that were  include  thick  Along with copies of  actually performed,  folders  of  poetry  and  the  Committee  literature  of  unspecified date or origin. Judging from their centrality to the memorials by 1968 or so, it seems that the Committee settled on plays, often set to music, rather than more varied programs or films as the most effective means of making an enduring impact on audiences.  Some of these  works, as mentioned, focus on the wartime experiences of children. On  occasion,  the Warsaw  Ghetto  revolt  itself  was  the  central  subject, as in 1970 when Morton Wishengrad's "Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto" was performed again,- and 1974, when a large cast put on  130  stage  adaptation  of  Yiddish-Russian  "Shadows of the Warsaw Ghetto".  writer  Itzak  Fefer's  poem  The latter, according to the JWB  review, was "a moving symbiosis of dance, song, and narration", conveying, Warsaw  "the  Ghetto  spirit-soaring Uprising  thought  remain,  that  their  the  values  heroes  and  of  their  the  heart  remain."69  At least two of the plays used in this period dealt  with  struggle  the  for  faith,  as  the  suffering, demand an accounting from God.  characters,  in  their  The 1971 production,  "Survival of the Last Rabbi", involves a rabbi  trapped  in the  Warsaw Ghetto who must choose whether to accept an offer to be smuggled to safety and thereby preserve Judaism or whether to die with his people.  The 1975 production consisted of an adaptation  of Elie Wiesel's work "Ani Ma'amin" (I Believe), which depicts the Jewish  biblical  patriarchs, Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob,  moving  through some of the Nazi camps. The presence  State  of  Israel, to a large  extent, was  not  in many of the plays, but, in the traditional  only a Jewish  paradigm of destruction and rebirth, was also an answer of sorts to the theological questions being raised  in this period.  An  example of this type of dramatic material was the work produced for the 1969 memorial, Bernice Green's 1960 play "Resistance and Redemption",  subtitled  Independence Day".70 piece  moves  back  and  "Warsaw  Ghetto  Commemoration—Israel  Rich in biblical analogies and hymns, the forth  between  the  two  history: triumph and pain, beginnings and ends.  poles  of  Jewish  After describing  the ghetto revolt and its culmination in the War of Independence, the narrator asks, "Who shall not say that the true beginnings of  131  Israel as a nation\ Was that Passover  season of  1943?"  This  continues, "From an alley in Warsaw\ To the limitless sands of the Sinai desert\—A little span as time and space are reckoned\ In the long spiritual calendar of the Jews." uprising  and  Israel's  This nexus between the  creation, it bears  repeating,  means always placed in a religious framework.  was by no  In another early  work, "To Live with Dignity—To Die with Honor", written in the mid-1950s but used many times, the two events "symbols  of  our  national  survival—links  are  in  development of our thinking", or, put plainly,  the  said  to be  historical  "In Kishinev we  died quietly, in Warsaw we fought, in Jerusalem we survived."71 The one other theme that emerged very strongly in the plays used at commemorations in these years was the survivor experience. This  was  Marjorie 1971.72  especially Morris,  true  of  a Montreal  the pieces native  who  written moved  by  playwright  to Vancouver  in  Soon after her arrival, Morris was asked by Warsaw Ghetto  Committee co-Chair Sophie Waldman to put together a dramatic piece for the memorial, a request repeated many times in ensuing years. After much trepidation and research, for the 1972 and 1973 events Morris wrote and produced two original works, "A Testimonial to Suffering" and "The Survivors", both of which featured starkly-lit sets and characters who had managed to survive the war and yet lived with one foot in each world, their Holocaust experiences and losses never far from the surface of their nonetheless successful lives. audience  As  for Morris, knowledge  composed  of  large  that she was writing  numbers  of  survivors  for an  was  key.  Emotionally it was no easy task, but it was the only contribution  132  that she felt she could make. she wasn't  there.  Some of  aired  on  She did it because, in her words, the plays Morris  memorials  later  Vancouver  Public  dedicated  non-Jewish Vancouverites  Library.  CBC  Radio  Between  or  were  1965  and  created  for  the  performed  at  the  1975,  also directed  two  plays  highly for the  Warsaw Ghetto evenings: Dorothy Davies, a well-known figure among theatre circles, and Don Mowatt, a writer-producer at the CBC. Throughout this period, small, often ad hoc, committees of survivors also began to commemorate publicly through various other channels.  The  1966  tribute made  to  the  Hulsteins  for  their  wartime rescue work was in large part arranged by such a group, in conjunction with the Warsaw Ghetto Committee and numerous other community members.73  By the mid-1960s, many of the teens who had  been brought to Vancouver as part of the CJC's "Orphan Project" were established and had families of their own, turning thoughts back to their wartime experiences.  It does not appear, however,  that local survivors organized out of political concern with neoNazism or disquiet with the leadership's response; rather, joint activities in this period mostly involved acts of appreciation. On the twentieth anniversary of their arrival, the "Orphan Group" held a tribute dinner in honour of Sam Tenenbaum, one of the most active and involved of the volunteers who had helped settle the young survivors, and, probably not incidentally, the organizer of the first community-wide memorial in 1952.  A similar tribute was  made to Jean Rose, a much-loved social worker who had helped many of the youth and in whose name they established a scholarship at UBC.  Other  projects  initiated  by  133  the  group  included  various  charitable donations to Jewish and non-Jewish causes. While many of the community's survivors attended the annual Warsaw Ghetto commemorations, the pressing need for a permanent memorial  began  discussions B'nai  Brith  to  emerge  during  these  and correspondences between  years.  Preliminary  survivor-members  Lion's Gate Lodge and the Schara  Tzedeck  of the Cemetery  Board in late 1966 indicate a strong desire on the part of some survivors to have a site, be it a plaque or memorial monument, where they could hold Yiskor services and say Kaddish for their murdered loved ones.  Several individuals were ready and waiting  to begin the fundraising.74  The Cemetery Board and its chairman  Jack Diamond endorsed the project almost immediately after hearing from the concerned delegation, and by May 1967 the project as a whole was scheduled to be completed within a year.75  World events  then intervened with the Six-Day War and subsequent Middle East tensions, and renewed discussion of a memorial did not begin until 1974, when another ad hoc committee began meeting to resurrect the proposal.76  Again  though,  despite  the  endorsement  of  several  prominent community members, the project did not go beyond the planning stages.  While the desire to erect a monument as soon as  possible was nearly unanimous, the momentum and full agreement as to site necessary to push the project through was lacking.77 In the meantime, a growing of number of Vancouver survivors were becoming  involved with the Warsaw Ghetto Committee,  among  them Elizabeth Wolak, who had been deported from Poland to Russia during the war.  Ms. Wolak became the director of the JCC Choir in  1962, joining the Committee a year later as a member and frequent  134  music  director.  Another  new member  was  Leon  Kahn,  a  former  partisan and the sole survivor of an extended Jewish family.  Kahn  was among the first of local survivors to speak publicly to small church groups or non-Jewish classes, around the late 1960s by his reckoning. 8  In their ongoing efforts to attract more youth, in  1972 the Committee invited Leon's teenage son Mark to relate his father's story at the memorial, a feature which all involved felt made a great impact.79 1975,  the  Committee  Perhaps based in part on this success, in decided  to  make  a  JWB  appeal  to  the  community's survivors at large to come forward with their stories, stating  that the call was not a contest but  rather  an honest  search for personal accounts and new ideas, as well as an attempt to involve more people in Committee work.80  Subsequent memorials,  as a result, placed even greater emphasis on the wider survivor experience, not only in terms of speakers and dramatic materials, but as time passed, on issues involving the second generation. The evolution of some of the artwork that was used for the memorial's printed programs offers an interesting parallel to this broadening of themes.  Going back to the late 1950s, the earliest  of the programs were very plain, often just one sheet with text only. programs  In the early to mid into  multiple  1960s, the Committee  folded  pages  and  began  expanded  the  incorporating  graphics taken from the newsletters of the Theodor Herzl Institute in New York.  These included cut-outs of both sides of the famous  Warsaw Ghetto memorial monument in Warsaw sculpted by artist Natan Rapoport, one side featuring the heroic fighters and the other the martyrs  being  taken  to  their  deaths.  135  Other  regular  graphics  included  rough sketches of a partisan  flames (See Figure 5) .  figure and buildings  in  In 1974, new program shells were obtained  from the CJC in Toronto, featuring stark black, white, and red covers with  a  sundered  six-candle  barbed wire and scorched earth  menorah  in  (See Figure 6) .  a background  of  Although these  shells retained a photo of the Rapoport monument on the back, the partisan words  and burning  "Holocaust  ghetto  Remembrance"  sketches replaced  were  discarded  "Warsaw  Ghetto  while  Memorial  Evening" on the front cover.  Figure 5: Program back cover, 1967  Figure 6: Program front cover, 1974  136  the  Thus, by 1975, local commemoration was in a clear state of transition. Ghetto helping  Over the next ten years, most of the original Warsaw  Committee to  and  organize  UJPO the  participants  memorials,  slowly  often  due  withdrew to  ill  from  health.  Responsibility for the event passed to new groups consisting in part of survivors who had not yet been involved, as well as their children and others interested in the subject.  The community's  Holocaust mandate as a whole was broadening considerably in these years.  Within the Pacific Region of the CJC, two important bodies  were created in 1975: a Holocaust Standing Committee charged with Holocaust  education  Remembrance Memorial  in  Committee,  evenings  fell.  the  public  under  whose  Within  schools, rubric  a short  and the  time,  a  Holocaust  Warsaw there  Ghetto  was  also  movement to observe the day on Yom HaShoah, the 27th of Nisan, as decreed by Israel and observed by much of world Jewry.81  By the  late 1980s, the memorial returned to the community's synagogues, bringing it, in a sense, full circle.  At the time of writing, the  yearly event, though no longer linked so much to the focal point of the uprising, continues to be an integral part of the community calendar.  137  Notes 1. Jean Gerber. "Pacific Region," Pathways to the Present: Canadian Jewry and Canadian Jewish Congress, (Toronto: CJC Press, 1986), p.93. 2. Cyril Leonoff. Pioneers, Pedlars, and Prayer Shawls, pp.127142. 3. In terms of fundraising alone, an emergency United Israel Appeal campaign in 1967, in the wake of the Six-Day War, is indicative of these priorities, resulting in donations of $1,250,000. Up to that point, the average sum raised by the community for both local and overseas drives for the entire year was between $300,000-$450,000. See: "Report to National Executive Committee," November 1967. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 39\ File 738. The CJC files pertaining to this period also include dozens of letter-writing campaigns and petitions addressed to Soviet leaders. 4. JWB, November 25, 1966, p.l. The article itself was a reprint of comments made by Saul Hayes, National Chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress. 5. See JWB, January 27, 1966, pp.2-3. 6. Vancouver Sun, April 14, 1967, p.12. 7. Dr. Roy Waldman, Executive Director of CJC Pacific Region, quoted in "Jewish Congress Disowns Anti-German Splinter Group," Vancouver Sun, April 15, 1967. 8. JWB, August 21, 1970, p.l. The culprits were apparently four young men who were part of a group calling itself the "National Socialist White People's Party". Although disturbing, the incident appears to have been quickly forgotten. 9. A folder containing various press clippings and correspondences pertaining to the Chrobatyn case is in CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 5\ File 2. 10. Ibid.  See Saul Hayes to Morris Saltzman, March 23, 1971.  11. JWB, November 29, 1974, p.l. 12. The Morse review appeared in the JWB, April 25, 1969, p. 9, while long excerpts from Kaplan's diary were featured over a period of three weeks: March 8, 1973, p. 5; March 15, 1973, p.5; and March 22, 1973, p.8. 13. JWB, September 17, 1971, pp.3, 22. 14. "Remembering the Six Million," JWB, April 20, 1972, p.27.  138  1 5 . JWB, J a n u a r y 17, 1975, p p . 2 ,  8.  16. JWB, April 4, 1975, p.7. 17. See, "Ex-Nazis Fight Alongside Terrorists in Jordan," JWB, October 19, 1970, p. 9, or, "Former Eichmann Aide Advises Syrian Gov't," JWB, December 20, 1974, p.7. 18. "Let Babi Yar Remind Us," JWB, October 15, 1971, p.2. 19. "Pacific Region," Pathways to the Present, p.95. The 1975 UN vote, Resolution 3379, was passed with 72 countries in favour, 35 against, and'32 abstentions. It was repealed in 1991 by a large majority. 20. "Challenges Professor's Attack on Zionism," JWB, November 6, 1975, p.7. 21. See, "The Teaching of Contempt," JWB, December 11, 1964, p.2/ "Considering the Silence of Pope Pius XII," JWB, March 27, 1965, pp.18, 21, 22, 24/ Reverend E. Flannery, "The Anguish of the Jews," JWB, December 6, 1974, p.2. 22. "Tears for Brothers," JWB, December 11, 1964, p.2. 23. JWB, May 18, 1962, p.2. Part of the Schindler article reads, "The Jewish people will never forget him. The world would do well to remember and study him." 24. Roy Waldman. "Report to National Executive Meeting," November 1967. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 39\ File 738. One example of the enthusiastic press coverage of this gesture is a November 12, 1966 Vancouver Sun article called "For Courage and Compassion," part of which reads: "Canadians will applaud both the Hulsteins and the Jewish community. And part of that applause will be for helping to restore their faith in human decency." 25. "Jews Saved in Nazi Purge Vancouver Sun, October 1, 1968, p.9.  Honor  Danish  Benefactors,"  26. "Christians, Jews, Honor Pearkes," Vancouver Sun, April 26, 1968, p.8. Over 250 people attended this event, which was held at Hotel Vancouver. 27. "Statement of Solidarity with Israel," December 1974. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 5\ File 8. The signees of this document included several prominent members of the Vancouver School of Theology and the head of UBC's Religious Studies Department. In a similar vein, an April 1971 gathering of the CCCJ featured a lecture entitled "Israel's Destiny as Found in the Scriptures." 28. Dr. Lloyd Gaston. JWB, March 14, p. 6; Dr. Marvin Weintraub to Dr. Peter Jones, July 4, 1975, CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 5\ 139  File 8. 29. "Wiesel Makes Unexpected Impact on Record Crowd," JWB, April 3, pp.6, 13. Over 700 people are said to have attended this event, giving Wiesel a "thunderous" standing ovation. 30. Member List of Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee, 1966. CJC Files Pacific Region, Box 15\ File 506. At least two of the community's most active Labour Zionists also became members as of 1966, Ben Garber and Joshua Checov. In 1967, the Committee was assigned a secretary in the person of Anne Zimmerman, the wife of JCC Director Lou Zimmerman and a part-time Congress staffperson. 31. Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Minutes, 1966. Region Files, Box 15\ File 506.  CJC Pacific  32. In 1969, for example, this task was entrusted to Danny Osipov, the son of commemoration stalwart Oscar Osipov, while the 1974 candle lighting was conducted by Tammy Claman, the daughter of frequent performer Gerry Claman. Tammy was described in the subsequent Committee report as "an eleven-year-old backbone of the Warsaw Ghetto evenings" for her four-year involvement with the memorials. See CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 484. 33. The script of "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" is in CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 531. The play originally aired in 1965 as an "Eternal Light" radio program. For the 1966 Vancouver JCC Terezin exhibit, see "The Spirit of the Children of Terezin," Vancouver Province, November 18, 1966, p. 4. The Terezin camp (Theresienstadt in German) was a transit station in occupied Czechoslovakia established by the Nazis in 1941 as a so-called "model camp" for purposes of propaganda to the outside world. Hence the availability and survival of some writing and artistic materials. Of the 15,000 children who passed through Terezin however, about 100 remained alive at the war's end. 34. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 490. 35. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ Files 509, 519. 36. Ibid.  Co-winning senior division essay, 1968.  37. Ibid. 38. Anne Zimmerman. JWB, March 10, 1972, p. 5. The Beth Israel afternoon school is singled out as the exception to this appraisal. 39. Letter to Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee from CJC Pacific Region Education Committee, December 21, 1968. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box y 15\ File 508. 40. In a study of Vancouver's Talmud Torah, the largest of the community's Hebrew schools, Rozanne Kent writes that although the 140  Talmud Torah's educators who survived the Holocaust were certainly imbued with the impulse to keep Judaism alive, the Holocaust itself was not discussed openly or in-depth at the school during the postwar decades. See: Rozanne F. Kent. Educating Vancouver's Jewish Children: The Talmud Torah, 1913-1959 and Beyond, (Vancouver: Dacher Printing Limited, 1995). 41. Personal conversation with Gallia Chud. 42. Personal interview with Harold Berson. 43. All information pertaining to Habonim's commemorative activities was provided by John Mate, who was extremely active in the movement throughout the 1960s, as well as George Mate and his wife Noni, also very active members during the late 1960s and early 1970s. 44. "Agony of 25 Years Ago Must Serve as a Warning," JWB, April 26, 1968, p.5. 45. "Warsaw Ghetto Victims Honored," Vancouver Sun, April 22, 1968, p.9. 46. "Ghetto Memorial Told Soviet-Arab Holocaust," JWB, May 8, 1970, p.4.  Jewish  Peril  Parallels  47. Judge Norman Oreck. Speech delivered at the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Evening, April 13, 1969. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 495. 48. Ibid. 49. Ibid. 50. "Honor by Example," JWB, April 30, 1965, p.2. 51. "Oral Abuse," JWB, April 30, 1965, pp.2-3. 52. "Opposes Public Criticism of Other's Belief Systems," JWB, May 7, 1965,' p.2. 53. "Mr. Heller Replies," JWB, April 30, pp.2-3. 54. I would like to thank Rabbi Solomon for providing me with information pertaining to Beth Israel's commemorative activities via e-mail. 55. This Kaddish was originally written in 1955 by author Soma Morgenstern as part of his novel The Third Pillar. In 1972 it was incorporated into the High Holiday martyrology of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement. Several hundred well-worn copies of the prayer can be found among the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee files, suggesting that it may have also been used at the 141  community-wide commemorations. 56. Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Minutes, November 7, 1968. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 500. 57. Ibid. 58. Ibid. 59. Program, Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Evening, 1975. Region Files, Box 100\ File 6.  CJC Pacific  60. Personal interview with Harold Berson. My thanks to Mr. Berson for also providing me access to the proofs of these photographs. 61. "Rabbi Rakes 'Left Group'," Vancouver Sun, April 5, 1968. 62. "Rabbi's Stand Criticized," JWB, April 19, 1968, p.2. It bears mentioning that this particular foray into community politics cost Mate his job as the summer camp counselor for Habonim that year. 63. "Exhibit 'Playing Polities'," JWB, April 19, 1968, pp.2, 11. 64. "Political Gallery Photos," JWB, April 26, 1968, pp.2, 8. 65. "Controversy Distresses Survivor of Holocaust," JWB, May 3, 1968, pp.3, 16. 66. JWB, April 26, 1968, p.2. 67. JWB, May 10, 1968, pp.4, 16. 68. Morris Saltzman to Mike Wallace, February 13, 1973. Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ F487.  CJC  69. JWB, April 26, 1974, p.12. 70. Bernice Green. "Resistance and Redemption". Script, CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 531. The play was originally written in Yiddish and performed at the Cleveland JCC. 71. "To Live with Dignity—To Die with Honor," Script. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 535. There are many variations of this particular work, one of which appears in the 1956 "Program Helps" issued by the Canadian Jewish Congress. At least two slightly different versions are in the possession of Harold Berson. All of the versions incorporate pieces of Morton Wishengrad's 1943 work "Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto". 72. My thanks to Marjorie Morris for providing me with this information through several conversations. An anthology of Ms. 142  Morris' works is available at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. She is also the co-author of the memoirs of Vancouver survivor Leon Kahn, whom she interviewed for two years to produce the book No Time to Mourn: A True Story of a Jewish Partisan Fighter, (Vancouver, Laurelton Press, 1978.) 73. See CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 13\ Hulstein File. Lou Zimmerman is generally credited as the individual who first brought the Hulstein case to the community's attention, while Bill Simmons organized much of the fundraising. Otherwise, it appears to have been a collaborative effort on the part of numerous survivorvolunteers and donors. 74. My thanks to Dr. Robert Krell for providing me with copies of letters from his personal files pertaining to these discussions. 75. Schara Tzedeck Cemetery Board Minutes, February 5, 1967 and May 9, 1967. I am most grateful to Kim Baylis and Jack Kowarski of the Cemetery Board for providing me copies of the minutes pertaining to discussion of a memorial. 76. Minutes, meeting of an ad-hoc committee of Vancouver Holocaust survivors, October 17, 1974. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 487. The meeting was held at the home of Leon Kahn and was attended by various survivors, Rabbis Hier and Solomon, and Morris Saltzman and Lou Zimmerman. 77. Personal interview with Leon Kahn, December 2000. 78. Ibid. 79. Anne Zimmerman, Secretary. "Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Committee Evaluation," 1974. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 15\ File 484. 80. p. 12.  "Ghetto Memorial  Seeks New Stories," JWB, May  15, 1975,  81. Personal interview with Dr. Robert Krell, December 2000. According to Dr. Krell, who pushed strongly to have the event observed on Yom HaShoah, Israel had the moral authority when it came to.commemoration and it behooved other Jewish communities to fall in line, particularly so the day could become a more fixed part of the calendar.  143  CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION Summary: If  the  development  of  commemoration  in  Vancouver  is  any  indication, some of the common academic assumptions regarding this history are in need of re-examination.  As described in the first  chapter, two recent works attempting to trace the emergence of Holocaust memory in the United States and Canada have  asserted  that the fifteen to twenty years following the war were a period during which the Nazi mass murder of European Jewry was almost completely  marginalized  in  Jewish  public  affairs.  In  Peter  Novick's The Holocaust in American Life, this is ascribed to the Cold War environment and- the generally optimistic mood of those years, while Franklin Bialystok's Delayed Impact also points to a level  of  ethnic  comfort  as  well  as  other  priorities  on  community agenda and the lack of a dialogue with survivors.  the Both  writers establish these findings in large part on their appraisal of the Jewish leadership's pronouncements and what they see as the absence or even suppression of Holocaust discourse. Based on my own analysis of the oral and documentary  record  pertaining to Vancouver's Jewish community and commemoration these  years, I have  provide Jewish  valuable leaders  incomplete  and  argued  insights  following often  that  into the  although both  some  Second  inaccurate  of  the  World  picture  of  dilemmas  War, of  these  the  in  works  faced  by  offer  an  landscape  of  they  Holocaust memory and ritual remembrance as they developed at the community level.  While both of these authors concentrate on the  144  factors which limited the Holocaust's impact in these years, I have taken the opposite approach of emphasizing how this period was marked by a series of events keeping memories fresh. of  international  developments  alone,  for  instance,  In terms  my  account  highlights how the end of hostilities in Europe did not initiate a period of near-silence, but rather how the denouement of the war itself was followed by the Nuremberg trials, the plight of Jewish refugees, the arrival of survivors, the creation of the State of Israel, reparations, and the rapid rehabilitation of West Germany on the world stage. Numerous  factors  specific  to  Vancouver  also  contributed  to  maintaining a higher degree of Holocaust discourse and awareness. Throughout these years the community's only Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Western Bulletin, was edited by individuals with a deep personal interest in the events of the Holocaust and the need for commemoration.  Abe Arnold's tenure from 1949 to 1960 was marked  by manifold editorials and news items about the Nazi genocide and its aftermath. Dr.  Ample coverage was also given to the writings of  Isaac Schwarzbart of the World Jewish Congress, a tireless  promoter of commemoration during the 1950s.  There is no question  that commemoration was part of Jewish public discourse in these years. dedicated  Arnold's  successors  supporters,  Sam and Mona  often  going  above  Kaplan were and  advertising duties to encourage public interest.  likewise  beyond  their  Even Vancouver's  two mainstream dailies bear evidence of having taken occasional interest in the events of the Holocaust and their commemoration. The Vancouver Sun, as mentioned, became a forum for debate during  145  the 1958 production of The Diary of Anne Frank, and again in 1961 with  local  reactions  commemoration.  to  the  Eichmann  trial  and  Warsaw  Ghetto  The Jewish community's 1966 dedication of a scroll  and pension to Dutch rescuer Henry Hulstein was front-page news.1 The activities of the Jewish left wing are another important and neglected  factor in the development of Holocaust memory  have emphasized.  that I  Vancouver's Peretz School appears to have been  the city's first organized body to hold public commemorations on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.  Despite the later  assertions of some CJC Pacific Region documents laying claim to 1948 as the date that Congress-sponsored memorials were initiated, this was in fact the year that Peretz School commemorations began and not vice versa.2  The 1945 founding of the Peretz School itself  was perceived as a living form of commemoration by those involved, the  motivating  factor  being  the  perpetuation  of  the  Yiddish  cultural world and ethos destroyed by the Nazis in Europe.  This  concern for activism and remembrance was shared by the members of Vancouver's  United  Jewish  People's  associated with the school. commemorating venues.  Order,  many  of  whom  were  By the early 1950s the UJPO was also  the ghetto uprising, sometimes even in non-Jewish  Granted that both the school and the UJPO in particular  were somewhat forced to the periphery of community affairs, their commemorative represent  activities  important  early  did  receive  gestures  of  some  publicity,  remembrance  and  that  they  warrant  further recognition and study.  The UJPO's political outspokenness  about  and  Germany,  neo-Nazism,  significant factor in these years.  146  anti-Semitism  was  also  a  A  third  appears  very  important  early  avenue  to have been almost completely  of  commemoration  ignored by  that  scholars of  Holocaust memory is the activity of community rabbis.  Although  the Vancouver records are incomplete, it is clear that at least some of the postwar rabbinical Warsaw  Ghetto uprising  Conservative dedicated  Beth  to  and the events  Israel  "the  leadership  synagogue  sacred  memory  of  sermonized  of  which all  about  the Holocaust.  The  opened  was  in  synagogues  1948 in  Europe  destroyed by the rage and fury of Nazi hate and oppression." described  earlier,  one  of  the  the  community's  most  As  charismatic  spiritual figures in this period was Rabbi Ginsberg of the Beth Hamidrash  congregation, himself  family during the war.  a refugee  who  lost  his  entire  Not only was Ginsberg an active proponent  of remembrance, but in his physical appearance he was the living embodiment of the "Old World".3  During these years there were  already prayers available written specifically for the purposes of commemoration, Vancouver  at  rabbis  least for  one the  of  which  was  community's  used  first  by  1952  all  three  memorial.4  Cantorial music recalling the tragedy was likewise being performed by synagogue choirs in these early years. Novick  for  one  has  cited  the  seeming  Thus, although Peter lack  of  theological  confrontation with the role of God during the Holocaust until the 1960s as an indication of the earlier absence of any religious activity or discourse about these events, this view is misleading. Rabbinic sermons and synagogue services may well have been among the  earliest  Holocaust  exposure  experienced.  147  that  some  community  members  In  this  regard,  the  importance  perpetuating memory and meaning  of  the  Jewish  is especially  study of a community context like Vancouver's.  calendar  revealing  in  in the  Judging by some of  the commentary in the JWB during the war and after, certain Jewish holidays such as Purim easily lent themselves to analogies placing Hitler at the top of a long list of Hamans.  At times, ritual  remembrance of the two events was also linked, as in a 1958 Purim editorial stating, "As a result of Hitler and the nazis, there is a new date on the Jewish calendar. but  a  solemn  commemoration  of  It is not a festival however  the Warsaw  million martyrs who fell at nazi hands."5  Ghetto  and  the  six  The traditional Yiskor  prayers recited throughout the year were likewise natural anchors for  the  invocation  of  Holocaust  victims,  particularly  on  Yom  Kippur and the last day of Pesach, the latter of which served as an officially-announced occasion for Warsaw Ghetto  commemoration  in the early 1950s and which assumed its own synagogue rituals by the  early  1960s, if not  sooner,  as  did  additions to the Yom Kippur martyrology.  the  Holocaust-related  The "Seder Ritual of  Remembrance" written by Rufus Learsi in 1953 was printed in the JWB  every  year  as  of  1959, providing  a home  ritual  for  commemoration of the six million victims and the uprising. variations on the seder ritual became available in the 1960s. their  part,  the  members  of  the  United  Jewish  People's  certainly viewed commemoration of the revolt's anniversary year as something akin to a religious rite.  the  Other For Order each  Among some of the  community's youth groups, Tisha B'Av served as a day of ritual commemoration in this period.  Even in these early years then, the  148  traditional  calendar  and many  of  its  days  of  remembrance  had  become infused.with the imagery and memories of the Holocaust. This was nowhere more true than in the popular perception of the ties between Pesach and the anniversaries of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the creation of the State of Israel.  While James  Young has analyzed this development in Israel itself as it relates to  the  "nationalization"  discernable in Vancouver. from  roughly March  of  memory,  a  similar  phenomenon  is  As described in chapter two, the period  to May  each  year  was  characterized  by  an  intensification of Holocaust discourse in community affairs, much of it linking the biblical story of liberation with the uprising and the Israeli War of Independence, both in terms of linear time and in a deeper, "spiritual" nexus of one having other in various ways.  inspired the  In April 1953, a front-page JWB article  took this relationship for granted in stating that, "This is a time of special remembrance in the Jewish community.  We have just  concluded the celebration of Passover and now we are observing the tenth anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.  In little  more than a week we will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of Israel's Independence."6  One year previous, in an article entitled  "Warsaw Ghetto and Israel Independence Day", it was announced that "Two major commemorative events are taking place in the Jewish community this week...both merit the widest non-partisan support and have a vital  relation  to each  other."1  [my emphasis]  Even the  artwork of Passover issues sometimes reflected these perceptions (See Figures 1 and 2) . that  support  of  Again then, while there is no question  Israel dominated  149  the community  agenda,  in the  minds of many, the annual celebration of Israeli Independence was irrevocably tied to the memory of the Holocaust. At the everyday level of human relations, one further element in the early development of commemoration that I have attempted to highlight is the impact of the encounter with survivors.  Of the  community  active  leaders  supporters  and civil servants who were  of Holocaust  remembrance,  almost  the most  all  had  played  an  important role in the settling of survivors who came to Vancouver. These  included  Rabbi  David  Kogen,  Sam  Tenenbaum,  and  Morris  Saltzman and Lou Zimmerman, the last two being individuals who at various points  headed  or  administered many  of  the  community's  major organized bodies such as the Pacific Region of the CJC and the Community Centre.  The exact connection between their personal  involvement with survivors and their belief in the importance of commemoration is impossible to determine, but it could not have been a coincidence.  Moreover, the permanent establishment of the  community's Warsaw Ghetto evenings in 1956 was a  collaborative  effort involving survivors and former refugees and the sponsorship of Congress and the Jewish Community Council. scenario  is  quite  unlike  the  one  described  This- particular by  Novick  in  The  Holocaust in American Life or Bialystok in Delayed Impact and the available theses about "landsmanschaften", all of which emphasize the initial  remoteness of the established  Jewish community  and  leadership to survivors and commemoration alike. Considering  the  findings  of  others,  in  fact,  it  is  quite  possible that had organizations of survivors or "landsmanschaften" existed in Vancouver as outlets for commemoration in the postwar  150  years, the development of community-wide memorials might have been much delayed. relatively Committee  In the event, this task was undertaken by the  small  group  that  specifically  in  formed  order  the Warsaw  to  bring  Ghetto  the  Memorial  events  of  the  Holocaust forward to the broader community and ensure remembrance. Given the timing, this development cannot be attributed to any of the factors generally ascribed to the emergence of commemoration, such  as  the  manifestations  renewed of  sense  neo-Nazism  of or  threat  the  created  awareness  by  raised  local by  the  Eichmann trial.  Nor does the Cold War appear to have been a  deterrent.  situation  The  was more  complicated,  consisting  in  large part of the extreme dedication of the members of the Warsaw Ghetto  Committee, all of whom,  mourning their own losses. yet  another  community  dynamic,  leaders.  as  it bears  repeating,  were  still  The inclusion of UJPO members added did  These  the  afore-mentioned  relationships  support  established  of  through  commemoration in the mid to late 1950s lasted, in many cases, for well over twenty-five years. Thus,  while  there  is  no  question  that  Holocaust  discourse  increased and intensified in Vancouver as it did elsewhere after the late 1960s, it cannot be said that the landscape of memory prior to this period was virtually empty.  The community's "trail  of commemoration", after all, begins in 1943, at the very height of the Holocaust. that  The memorial held on this occasion indicates  even during the war itself, there was  enough  information  available to discern a sense of the specifically-Jewish taking place.  tragedy  The vivid coverage given to reports of the Warsaw  151  Ghetto  uprising  also  clearly  had  an  impact  on  the  popular  imagination, introducing the dual themes of heroism and martyrdom that  became  the  signature  motifs  of  postwar  commemoration.  Another early theme that spanned the ideological divide was the symbol of a torch being passed from the victims to future Jewish generations,  be  it  the  torch  of  Zionism, freedom, or revolution. 1943  "Battle  of  the  Warsaw  religion,  secular  Judaism,  Plays like Morton Wishengrad's  Ghetto" mixed  both  socialist  and  religious elements in homage to the victims, as did many of the literary  tributes or poems later used  being the most prominent locally.  for memorials, "Genesis"  The concept of a new and better  world emerging from the sacrifice of Jewish lives also emerged very early in these materials, made even more  resonant by the  creation of the State of Israel in 1948. It was not so much a matter of lack of response, then, but of different types of response, or, as James Young has framed it, a matter  of  "collected"  memories  rather  "collective" memory imposed from above.8  than  a  monolithic  In the aftermath of the  Holocaust, the community rabbis drew their own particular meaning, as did  the members  of the UJPO  and Peretz  School.  For many  Zionists, the most pressing response was to build a strong Israel. For many of those engaged in settling  refugees  and survivors,  material and occupational aid were paramount, though among them individuals  such  as  Sam  Tenenbaum  remembrance to organize a memorial.  felt  strongly  enough  about  In the years following their  arrival, some of the community's survivors dedicated themselves to providing  public  forms  of  commemoration,  152  others  attended  each  year, while others remained aloof.  By the early 1960s, the Warsaw  Ghetto memorials sometimes elicited vocal community reaction on the part of those who felt that different types of responses would be more appropriate, or others who altogether resented the effort to stir memory. of  community  The fate of the Belkin mural is another example  response.  Although  many  survivors  were  positive  about the piece, it did not satisfy their needs as a permanent memorial, eventually disappearing from the landscape of Holocaust memory.  In  the  meantime,  the  community's  ritual  remembrance  became increasingly encompassing of religious needs and the wider survivor experience. The variety tends  to  and evolution of response manifest  confirm  the  inadequacy  of  in Vancouver  approaching  "Holocaust  consciousness" as something that the Jewish leadership chose to promote  or  suppress  community.  according  to  the  perceived  needs  of  The community had views and priorities of its own.  the In  the Vancouver experience, support from the leadership was only one factor,  and  Bialystok,  contrary it  was  to  the  models  forthcoming  in  commemoration, even during the 1950s.  developed matters  by  Novick  and  pertaining  to  Nonetheless, the phenomenon  as a whole appears to have been much more complex, the consequence of individual motivations rather than the impetus of organizations and leaders.  anonymous  Likewise, while major events such as  the Eichmann trial and the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973 were important  catalysts  for  Holocaust  memory,  the  impulse  to  commemorate predated these developments and cannot be said to have ensued from them.  As stated earlier, it seems unlikely that the  153  politicization and invocations of the Holocaust as a response to threats to Israel would have been quite so intense had there not been  a  long-held  popular  perception  of  the  one  as  the  sole  redemptive outcome of the other. The Vancouver  experience  also  tends  to  confirm  the  need  to  assess the responses of each community individually rather than as part  of  a  broader,  countrywide  theory.  There  were  clearly  important factors in Toronto and Montreal that did not have an impact in Vancouver and vice versa. Vancouver  irrespective  increasing  Commemoration developed in  of the absence of  tensions between  survivor  over the response to neo-Nazism.  "landsmanschaften"  organizations  and  Although the  Vancouver media closely followed episodes of neo-Nazi incidents  were  relatively  the CJC  Nor was there an identifiable  "turning point" such as the Allan Gardens riot.  local  or  few.  The  activity,  Jewish  press,  nonetheless, was extremely supportive of commemoration from very early on, as was the local rabbinate and the Jewish left wing, followed  very  shortly by  community sponsors.  the Warsaw  Ghetto  Committee  and  its  Yet, in the existing literature, there has  been a tendency to discount Warsaw Ghetto commemoration in this period as somehow inconsequential. Based on my own study, I would submit that Vancouver's Warsaw Ghetto commemorations represent precisely the type of grassroots responses that some country-wide analyses claim did not exist. This being the case, I would further suggest that an understanding of community reaction to an event as significant as the Holocaust might be best conducted on a city-by-city basis through a model  154  such as the one that I have attempted to develop for Vancouver, where extensive use of the local records and resources yielded a wealth of information about this important period.  155  Notes 1. "Jews Honor the 'Quiet Man'," Vancouver Sun, April 18, 1966, p.l. In addition to local coverage, the Hulstein File, CJC Pacific Region Files\ Box 13, contains clippings about the dedication from newspapers Canada-wide. 2. See, for example: Pacific Region Plenary Report, April 1977. CJC Pacific Region Files, Box 39\ File 739. This report includes an update regarding the community's Warsaw Ghetto commemorations which, like other similar documents, asserts that the CJC Pacific Region had sponsored the.event "for 29 consecutive years". Somehow the 1948 date had become appropriated in the mind of whomever was submitting these reports. 3. Several of the UJPO members with whom I spoke fondly recalled how in his appearance Ginsberg was the very epitome of the East European shtetl. 4. JWB, April 24, 1952, p.l. The prayer in question was issued by the Synagogue Council of America. See chapter 2, note 59. 5. JWB, February 28, 1958, p.2. 6. "Warsaw Ghetto Anniversary," JWB, April 9, 1953, p.l. 7. "Warsaw Ghetto and Israel Independence Day," JWB, April 24, 1952, p.2. 8. In his work, Young is very encouraging of the promotion of a multiplicity of meanings in Holocaust commemoration, which he feels keeps memory responsive to changing needs and prevents it from becoming rigid and authoritarian.  156  BIBLIOGRAPHY Archival Sources: Canadian Jewish Congress National Archives Canadian Jewish Congress Pacific Region Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia Vancouver Jewish Community Centre Schara Tzedeck Cemetery Board World Jewish Congress  Private Papers: Patricia Quijano Belkin, c\o David Pettigrew Harold Berson Dr. Robert Krell Oscar Osipov  Interviews: Abraham Arnold, February 2 001 Harold Berson, November 2 000 Susan Bluman, December 2 000 Gallia Chud, March 2001 Sylvia Friedman, February 2 001 Paul Heller, December 2000 Lou Hilford, March 2001 Sol Jackson, January 2 001 Leon Kahn, November 2000 Clive Kaplan, December 2000 Ben Kopelow, March 2 000 Dr. (Rabbi) William Kramer, March 2 001 Dr. Robert Krell, December 2000 John Mate, January 2 001 Marjorie Morris, March 2001 Claire Klein Osipov, January 2001 Oscar Osipov, November 2 000 David Pettigrew, February 2001 Rabbi Wilfred (Zev) Solomon, April 2001 Dr. Moses Steinberg, March 2001 Sophie Waldman, November 2 000 Gertrude Zack, November 2 000 Newspapers: Jewish Western Bulletin Vancouver Province Vancouver Sun 157  Jewish Historical Society of B.C. Oral History Archives: Abe Charcow, February 1986 Joshua Checov, August 1974 Jeanette Chess, August 1971 Bessie Diamond, May 1974 Ben Pastinsky, May 1972 Morris Saltzman, Decemember 1984-January 1985 Lou Zimmerman, November 1984  Secondary Sources: Abella, Irving and Harold Troper. None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948. Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys, 1982. Beth Israel Synagogue. Dedication Book: Beth Israel Synagogue. 1949. Vancouver, 1949. Bialystok, Franklin. Delayed Impact: The Holocaust and the Canadian Jewish Community, 1945-1985. Montreal and Kingston: McGillQueen's University Press, 2 000. Canadian Jewish Congress. Pathways to the Present: Canadian Jewry and Canadian Jewish Congress. Toronto: CJC Press, 1986. Carty, Bob. "Arnold Belkin, The Canadian Son of Mexican Muralism," CBC Radio Archives, 1998, <http://radio.cbc.ca/programs/thismorning/archives> Gerber, Jean Gerber. "Immigration and Integration in Post-War Canada: A Case-Study of Holocaust Survivors in Vancouver, 1947-1970," MA Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1989. Giberovitch, Myra. "The Contributions of Montreal Holocaust Survivor Organizations to Jewish Communal Life," MSW Thesis, McGill University, 1988. Hulse, Leslie Anne. "The Emergence of the Holocaust Survivor in the Canadian Jewish Community," MA Thesis, Carleton University, 1979. Jones, Faith. "Between Suspicion and Censure: Attitudes towards the Jewish Left in Postwar Vancouver," Canadian Jewish Studies, 6 (1998). Jones, Faith. "The Vancouver Peretz Institute Yiddish Library: A Social History of a Jewish Library," MA Thesis, UBC, 1999. Katz, Elihu and Jeffrey Shandler. Broadcasting American Judaism. <http://www.jtsa.edu/pubs/books/tradren/chap27.html>  158  Kent, Rozanne F. Kent. Educating Vancouver's Jewish Children; The Talmud Torah, 1913-1959 and Beyond. Vancouver; Dacher Printing Limited, 1995. Kogen, David Chaim. "Changes in Jewish Religious Life," MA Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1951. Kramer, William M. "Sr. Arnold Belkin: The Mexican Jewish Artist from Calgary, Canada, A Memoir of the Artist," Western States Jewish History, 26 (1994). Leonoff, Cyril. Pioneersf Pedlars, and Prayer Shawls; The Jewish Communities in British Columbia and the Yukon. Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1977. Levendal, Lewis. "Walking the Tightrope of Independence: The 'Jewish Western Bulletin' of Vancouver," A Century of the Canadian Jewish Press, 1880s-1980s. Ottawa: Borealis, 1989. Linenthal, Edward T. Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum. New York: Viking, 1995. Martz, Martz. Open Your Hearts: The Story of the Jewish War Orphans in Canada. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1996. Novick, Peter. The Holocaust in American Life. Boston and New York: Houghton Miflin Company, 1999. Pollack, Jill. Hindsight. Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia, 2000. Pringle, Heather. "Stealing Fire," Equinox, March-April 1992. Tulchinsky, Gerald. Branching Out: Transformation in the Canadian Jewish Community. North York, Ontario: Stoddart, 1998. Vancouver Peretz Institute. Celebrating Peretz Institute. Vancouver, 1996.  50 Years: Vancouver's  Wyman, David C. (Ed.). World Reacts to the Holocaust. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. Young, James E. Young The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.  159  


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