In 2021 Professor Deidre Butler and her team of researchers filmed seven powerful oral history interviews for the Hear Our Voices: Holocaust Survivors Share their Stories of Trauma and Hate project. This is a key historical moment as those who personally bear witness to this history are passing, and the next generation steps into the gap to reflect on their own relationship to the Shoah. Our e-campus Ontario funded project used short segments from each interview in four online modules to illustrate key historical ideas, but hours of precious unused footage remain.

Before their stories are lost, help survivors, members of the second generation, and the families of righteous gentiles share their family’s history of the Shoah with students, educators, and the public.   

Help us create seven short educational films that will preserve history and empower our students and professors to meaningfully engage the trauma of the Holocaust and reflect on the enduring threat of antisemitism.  

The Background

Help us tell these stories: 

Annette Wildgoose knew her mother was different than other mothers.  Listen to a story of the second generation, learning her mother’s history as a passenger on the St-Louis escaping Nazi Germany, and gaining the knowledge and skills to speak her mother’s story.

Bryna Wallace and Lisa Cohen, mother, and daughter, share a tangle of family memories of the war, told over generations.  Bryna’s father led his young bride, extended family and neighbours into the forest and kept them alive for almost four years.  65 Jews fled into the forest and 66 came out, the 66th being baby Bryna.

Tom Deri was a boy when his father was sent to a labour camp and his family went into hiding in Budapest.  From the war years, through the Hungarian revolution and immigrating to Canada, Tom tells the story of how the Holocaust shaped a family’s destiny.

Josef Eisinger was one of the oldest boys to survive by being sent on the Kindertransport from Nazi occupied territories to England, internment in Canada and ultimately serving in the Canadian army, training infantry soldiers to fight the Nazis.

Thomas Paul tells a different type of Holocaust story, one that begins with his father, a US soldier who liberated the Gunskirchen lager in Austria. Hear him connect his father’s memory of that horror with his own experiences as a soldier in Vietnam and how that shapes his own ministry as a pastor.

Professor Jan Grabowski has been in the news for the Polish government’s attempt to discredit his research that speaks to the complicity of Poles during the Holocaust.  Follow the extraordinary court battle as this historian, himself the son of a survivor, stands against modern Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

Susan Bloomfield’s family had a menorah, but her family wasn’t Jewish.  Hear how her great uncle’s family hid a Jewish family in their attic in the Netherlands through the end of the war and how those stories, and the family’s menorah, came to Canada.

The Rollout

Funds raised will be used to professionally edit and produce the existing raw footage into seven 30-minute oral history documentary films; train and hire undergraduate and graduate research assistants to provide historical context for these stories; enrich the interviews with archival documents, photographs, and maps; translate and caption each film in English and French.  

The Impact

The impact of this project extends from the individual undergraduate and graduate student researchers who will be trained and contribute to this project, to the classroom and larger campus community where students, faculty and researchers will be challenged to critically reflect on this history and its meaning for today.  Your support will allow us to preserve these stories for the future and strengthen our students’ ability to combat Holocaust denial and stand against antisemitism.

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