1944: A Moment in the Life of a Community

November 29, 2016

The Azrieli Foundation, Concordia University’s Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies, and the Montreal Holocaust Museum held a symposium in Montreal in honour of the publication of The Vale of Tears, the English translation of Rabbi Pinchas Hirschprung’s memoir Fun Natsishen Yomertol: Zikhroynes fun a Polit (1944).

The symposium, entitled ‚Äú1944: A Moment in the Life of a Community,‚ÄĚ examined three major aspects of the life of the Montreal and, more generally, the North American Jewish community in 1944. Subjects included Orthodox Judaism, Yiddish culture and the Yiddish press, and the attitude of the North American Jewish community toward refugees from Nazi persecution. The symposium concluded with the official book launch of The Vale of Tears.


11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Registration and Coffee

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM

12:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Session 1: Yiddish Culture and Press

Pierre Anctil (University of Ottawa) ‚ÄúComing to Terms with the Tragic Events of 1944 from a Montreal Perspective‚ÄĚ

Rebecca Margolis (University of Ottawa) "The Keneder Adler and Yiddish Community Life in Montreal, 1944"

Esther Frank (McGill University) ‚ÄúRochl Korn: A Montreal Yiddish Poet in Transition‚ÄĚ

Kalman Weiser (York University) "‚ÄôOne of Hitler's Professors:‚Äô Jewish Scholars of Yiddish Confront Franz Josef Beranek‚ÄĚ

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Coffee Break

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Session 2: Refugees from Nazi Persecution

Richard Menkis (University of British Columbia) ‚ÄúEncounters Overseas: What Canadian Soldiers Learned about the Holocaust in 1944‚ÄĚ

Franklin Bialystok (University of Toronto) ‚ÄúCanadian Jewry in 1944: What Was Known? What Was Reported? What Was Done? What Could Have Been Done?‚ÄĚ

Jack Lipinsky (Associated Hebrew Schools, Toronto) ‚ÄúThe Emerging Outline of a New Era: The ‚ÄėLisbon Refugees‚Äô Arrival in Toronto‚ÄĚ

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Session 3: Orthodox Judaism

Steven Lapidus (Concordia University) ‚ÄúMemoirs of a Refugee: The Travels and Travails of Rabbi Pinchas Hirschprung‚ÄĚ

Ira Robinson (Concordia University) ‚Äú1944: A Year in a Montreal Orthodox Rabbi‚Äôs Life‚ÄĚ

Maxine Jacobson (Independent Scholar) ‚ÄúModern Orthodoxy in the 1940s‚ÄĚ

6:30 PM - 6:45 PM
Coffee Break

6:45 PM - 8:15 PM
Session 4: The Vale of Tears, Book Launch

The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies published a special edition of their journal devoted to articles stemming from the conference.

An adaptation of the foreword, written by the Azrieli Foundation's Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program's Jody Spiegel and Arielle Berger, can be found here.

View the full issue.