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juliet boadu

on 1 April 2014

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Slide by J.B

Bernice Eisenstein
Bernice Eisenstein was born in 1949, Toronto Ontario.
Bernice lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.
Her parents were peddlers who spoke Yiddish.
Her parents moved to Toronto shortly before Bernice was born.

Slide by J.B
The photo to the right shows Bernice and her friend poet Anne Michaels.

Source: http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/books/Poet+Anne+Michaels+left+artist+Bernice+Eisenstein+book+Correspondences+what+technically+termed+accordion+book+that+pages+fold+into+single+long+double+sided+sheet/9205508/story.html

Slide by J.B
Her illustrations have appeared in a number of magazines and periodicals
She has worked as a freelance editor
She occassionally writes book reviews for the globe and mail.
"I was a child of Hollocaust Survivors" is perhaps her only widely known, published piece of work.
"I was a child of Hollocaust Survivors" book was published in the year 2007 by Ellen Seligman of McClelland and Stewart.
Source: http://www.amazon.com/I-Was-Child-Holocaust-Survivors/dp/1594482608

Slide by J.B
Career / Work
Related Work by
Ann Marie Fleming
Written By
Ann Marie Fleming produced an animated film on Bernice Eisenstein's memoir
The film includes both on animated storyline, and an interview with Ann Fleming.
Source: http://www.amazon.com/I-Was-Child-Holocaust-Survivors/dp/1594482608

Slide by J.B
Hickman, A. (2013, November 22). Book review: Correspondences, by anne michaels and bernice eisenstein. Retrieved from http:arts.nationalpost.com

Hickman analysis and share her feelings towards Bernice Eisenstein memoir “I was a child of Holocaust survivors”. She feels that for the most part of this memoir, the people portrayed were political activists and intellectuals during the Second World War. She believes that most of the Jewish got killed in the war. She also believes that each portrait sits alone on the right side of the page with the text on the left of Bernice’s memoir.

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References and Annotated Summary
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What makes this a memoir?• “I was a child of Holocaust survivors” by Bernice Eisenstein

Slide by J.B
A memoir is a personal story told from ones life touching on intimate feelings, memories, and emotions.
A memoir is how one remembers one’s life.
Unlike an Autobiography
A memoir describes scenes in one’s life, not every fact, only particularly meaningful happenings.
A memoir explores certain aspects in depth.

Slide by J.B
Memoir should connects with the reader in the sense that the memoir “really happened.”
A memoir gives the author a chance to look back on their past.
They describe moments in their life to the reader, and then use their present voice to reflect on their past situations.
While reflecting on such things the author
Could include thoughts about decisions they’ve made, things they’d change/do differently or any inside information they wish to share.

Slide by J.B
This memoir covers the early years of Bernice’s childhood.
She tells her story mainly beginning when she was eleven years old.
This would be the year 1950.
In the 1950’s tons of historical events occurred, many that shape life today.

Slide by J.B
Bernice remembered 1950 (June 25) the cold war that had began.
(The war was a result of the division of Korea and on June 25 North Korean forces invaded South Korea.)
She remembered that 1950 the first modern credit card was introduced.
In 1951 the first colour T.V. was introduced.
In 1952 car seat belts were introduced.• In 1953 DNA was discovered.
In 1954 the first Atomic Submarine was launched. Also a report states that cigarettes cause cancer.
In 1955 Disneyland opens and the Mcdonald’s corporation was founded.
In 1956 Velcro was introduced.
In 1957 Dr.Suess’s “Cat In the Hat” was published• In 1958 NASA was founded.

Slide by J.B
Bernice begins her memoir by telling us what she learned over the years about her father, mother and people surrounding her life.
She reflected more on the family tie and people around her, for example, her parents’ friends who also survived the Holocaust.
She expresses emotional feeling towards the golden band ring her mother had given her.
She is searching for the true meaning of that life experience by going through her father’s closet.
She wonders how her father looks like when he was alive by visualizing him among the dead people in the Holocaust and other related places.
Slide by J.B
Bernice leaves her house in Toronto Ontario shortly after her father dies.
She was forced to move to Braemore Gardens which is a hospital.
A few years later, Bernice, her mother and her brother decided to join an organized trip back to the holy land of Auschwitz.
After a few years, Bernice could not take living in Auschwitz any longer.
She moved to the Suburbs with her grandparents, her aunt and uncle and their two sons.

Slide by J.B
She indicated that her grandparents’ house was silent most of the time.
Her grandfather barely spoke and her grandmother had Alzheimer disease.
Towards the end of the 1960’s, Bernice’s grandparents moved to an apartment in the sunny state of Florida.
Bernice actually lived in her grandparents’ house alone for a year, and then moved out.
Bernice then moved to Jerusalem for a short time.

Slide by J.B
Bernice moved back to Toronto on her own.
She started to attend university which is where she met a man.
That man turned out to become her husband.
Her and her husband then had baby boys.
They have been living in Toronto ever since, as a family.

Slide by J.B
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Art Work of the Author
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Source: http: www.nfb.ca playlists i-was-child-holocaust-survivors viewing
Source: http: www.nfb.ca playlists i-was-child-holocaust-survivors viewing
Source: http: www.nfb.ca playlists i-was-child-holocaust-survivors viewing
Source: http: www.nfb.ca playlists i-was-child-holocaust-survivors viewing
Brodeur, M.A. (2013, December 14). ‘Correspondences’ by Anne Michaels, Bernice Eisenstein. The
Boston Globe. Retrieved from http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2013/12/14/review-
This article provides a brief review of Correspondences, a collection of poems by Anne Michaels, and portraits by artists/writer Bernice Eisenstein. This review discusses the rare harmony that these two have found in combining poetry and art into one work. The article praises the aesthetic appeal of the book, as well as the emotions it evokes in the reader. This review would be very useful for anyone interested in poetry and/or art, as it provides a word picture of what to expect from Correspondences.

Garvie, M (2006). I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors. Quill and Quire. Retrieved from
This article provides a brief review of the memoir I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors by Bernice Eisenstein. It explains the fascination that Eisenstein had with the holocaust as a child, and the desire she had to learn more about this tragedy which affected her family’s past. The review also describes the beautiful illustrations that Eisenstein, who is also an artist, used to bring her story to life.
Slide by O.O
Early Career
• Bernice Eisenstein, as a child, was different from other children in that she discovered her passion for literature and creative arts at such a young age.
• More specifically, after she saw the film “Lust for Life” at the age of six, she decided she wanted to become an artist (Panmacmillan, 2009). I believe this early discovery along with her experiences propelled her to write great books today.
• There is very little detail on Bernice Eisenstein’s career, she is known to have worked as an illustrator, writer and editor.
• While growing up and in her adult years, Bernice Eisenstein loved reading. This love of reading continued throughout and influenced her writing.
• Bernice Eisenstein later attended York University for literature, because she loved to read and later on she went back to painting (Panmacmillan, 2009).

Slide O.O

Middle Career
• As shebecame a young adult she started spending more time with their “Group”. She actually enjoyed hanging out with them. They talked a lot about the Holocaust, which interests her great. They also answered questions that she did not ask her parent because she thought that it would upset them. For some reason, she just felt comfortable around them. She began to consider them as family (Eisenstein, interview, 2011).
• Even with the details of her career obscured, you cannot hide the accomplishments that came with it. Here is a list of awards that Bernice Eisenstein has acquired throughout her successful career.
• Bernice Eisenstein did do some travelling in her early adult years. In her memoir she says that she had lived in Jerusalem when she was 20 years(Eisenstein, personal communication, 2011).

Slide O.O

Later years
• There are many, mostly positive, reviews of Bernice Eisenstein's memoir I was a child of Holocaust survivors (2006). Below will be a few examples and sources that review Eisenstein's memoir.

• Her illustrations have appeared in a number of magazines and periodicals (Mcclelland). As a freelance editor, she has occasionally written book reviews for the Globe and Mail (Mcclelland). Most notably, as a writer, she has written a memoir called I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors (2006).

• I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors was shortlisted for the Giller Prize (Munn, Sequential, Bernice Eisenstein shortlisted for trillium award, 2007). Special Note: This was the first time a comics-related effort has been nominated for the Trillium Book Award and the Giller Prize (Munn, Sequential, Bernice Eisenstein shortlisted for trillium award, 2007).

• Most recently, she has created a set of drawings in response to the work of Charlotte Salomon for an exhibition at Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum (Graphic Detail, About the artists, 2010).
Slide O.O

Awards and Accomplishment
Themes and How it was Developed
Themes found in "I Was A Child Of Holocaust Survivors"
Slide by M.MacEachern
How Eisenstein develops theme:
The themes of family and heritage is developed through Eisenstein’s use of the Yiddish language.
Ex: “It was outrunning my mother to the bathroom and locking the door so that she couldn’t patsh my tochis again, and it was the shreklech shrieking of my parents’ anger” (Eisenstein, p. 62).

Slide by M.MacEachern
How Eisenstein develops theme:
The themes of loss and recovery are developed through Eisenstein’s discovery for truth
Eisenstein’s parents have recovered and speak little about their past.
Eisenstein wants to discover what their loss meant to them
Ex: “I wanted to see a replication of Auschwitz and be able to imagine my mother and father standing in the background among other starving inmates. In that way, I thought I could find them.”(Eisenstein, p.21).

Slide by M.MacEachern
Member's Connections to the author
This memoir made me think about my life for a few different reasons. Although I am of a different heritage from Eisenstein, and I do not have such a tragedy in my background, her strong family ties really resonated with me. I come from a very close-knit family and reading about Eisenstein’s childhood, with her extended family and trips to Wasaga beach in the summer, made me think about my own childhood memories and vacations. “Over the years, I was in and out of my aunt and uncles home and always their son Michael and I played together.” (Eisenstein, p. 137). This sentence really stuck with me because I also grew up surrounded by aunts and uncles, with my cousins becoming some of my closest friends.
M. MacEachern

Another way in which this memoir resonated with me, is Eisenstein’s search for knowledge regarding her parents past. “All my life, I have looked for more in order to fill in the parts of my father that had gone missing” (Eisenstein, p. 16). I have always been interested in digging into the past of not just my parents but also my grandparents to discover what they have been through in their life, what my heritage is. Just like Eisenstein, I have found that this process of discovery has changed me. It has helped me to be thankful for what I have, when I learn about what my parents and grandparents didn’t have. It has also helped me to realize what is really important in life.
M. MacEachern
Eisenstein, B. (n.d.). The Amsterdam. Retrieved from http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.athenaeu m.nl/boek-van-de-nacht/bernice-eisenstein- amsterdam&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbernice%2Beisenstein%2Bamsterdam %2Bartwork%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1169%26bih%3D684%26site%3Di mghp

The Amsterdam excerpt by Bernice Eisenstein was found on a dutch website that sells books, magazines, etc. This specific excerpt by Eisenstein provides a look at her experience when had created some artistic pieces for a Historical Jewish Museum in Amsterdam. There are several paintings provided in this excerpt, with lots of colours, and wording.

Graphic Designs [Web blog] (2010, February 7). Retrieved from http://graphicdetailstheshow.wordpress.com/about-the-artists/

Graphic Designs is a web blog that provides information about Jewish women who have created comics about their lives, experiences and Holocaust related. This website is mainly revolves around Jewish women and their pieces of art work. Graphic Designs shines the light on these women and opens their pieces to the public and lets the voices of these women be heard. Some of the work provided by Graphic Designs has not been released, until their website was created.

Kramer, T.(2011, February 18). The New Jews.Shtetl Podcast. Podcast retrieved from https://archive.org/details/TheNewJewsOnShtetl

Tamara Kramer hosts and makes these podcasts on a station called Shetel Montreal, a Canadian based station for Jewish-Canadians. She host interviews and talks about issues and events. In this specific interview with Bernice Eisenstein, taken place on Feburary 18th, 2011, Kramer asks Eisenstein many questions about her book, I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors. Kramer’s podcasts of many can be found on iTunes, free to download and enjoy.

Slide by M. Manickam
Interview Summaries
Interesting Facts
Historical Context of the Themes
Summary of the Memoir
Purpose of the Memoir
Voice and Tone

Truth or Fiction

Identity of Narrator

The book began as a paintings first, of her father, even after he was dead. Her paintings were really inspired from conversations with her father, and instead of writing she started to paint, and she wanted to incorporate two languages, of image and words
The survivors that Bernice grew up with were evidence of great people, they started their new lives and built up on their families from what and whom they have lost. She looked up to these people and admired them, especially the tragedies these survivors faced
Her interest in the Holocaust was seen as an addiction. Something that she wanted to express within the memoir as an extreme. Holocaust was an important addiction to her, which was somthing that she could not walk away from, at the same time, it was something that impacted her whole life, but not everyday.

Slide By: M.Manickam

To entertain/To inform
• She used humor in her memoir
• Still respected the concept of the Holocaust
• Humor is used to express the extreme
• Past experiences used to inform historical events
• Historical events impacted her life
• “The Holocaust is a drug and I have entered an opium den…” (Eisenstein, “I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors”, p. 20)

Slide by M. Manickam
To make sense of the world
• She strives to see replication of past
• Searched for details of her parents experience
• Used books to her advantage on history
• Observes her parents and their friends’ bond
• Uses memory and art to understand past
• “…I needed to know what it had done to my parents. I’d follow the winding road of their sketched-in pasts, and more often than not ended up at the Lost and Found.” (Eisenstein, “I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors”, p.24)

Slide by M. Manickam
• Consists of both “now” and “then” voices
• Mainly consists of now voice, narrating memoir
• Eisenstein adds humor within the memoir
• At the same time, respects the history
• Voice used; formal, comfortable and relaxed
• Personality was expressed through art in memoir
• “Because he was beautiful. His eyes were clear and blue-grey. How I wished to have inherited that colour.” (Eisenstein, “I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors”, p.16)

Slide by M. Manickam
• Many tones that expressed different events
• Main tone used is formal
• Uses little bit of humor
• Serious tone was used with historic events
• She expressed different moods, respectfully
• “Is it funny enough, is it sad enough? Am I too whiny, too angry, too petulant? Boo hoo, poor little survivors’ child” (Eisenstein, “I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors”, p.53)
Slide by M. Manickam
This memoir is about Bernice, a Jewish growing up in Toronto, being surrounded with what her parents had faced during the Holocaust. Even though she herself did not go through those tragic events, she yearned to know details, see pictures and listen to stories and experiences. This relates to me really closely because my parents too experienced a little bit of the war back home in Sri Lanka in the year 1997. Growing up I was not exposed much about my parents’ background differences, but as I started to understand them and know the history of Sri Lanka. Just the way Bernice yearned to know about her parents’ past, I was the same. “I’ve lost something I’ve never had. Besides, my parents would be confused to see my standing here, as a child, as a teenager, as an adult.” (Eisenstein, “I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors”, p.25). In this quote, I relate it to myself, because I too was looking for something that I’ve never had. Crave to know details, envision experiences and know the truth. “Yet to rid myself of this habit, this calling, I would have to blind my eyes, cover my ears, seal my lips and erase the truth that without the Holocaust I would not be who I am.” (Eisenstein, “I was a Child of Holocaust of Survivors”, p.25). I myself cannot run away from my background, my parents past because it defines who I am today.
Even to this day I would say that I do still crave to know more stories about my parents and their parents and families, and update myself on the current condition of Sri Lanka itself. I crave to go there, and to see with my own eyes how it must have been to experience the whole war. One day I will go back and see with my eyes of the answers to the questions I still have today.
Slide by M. Manickam
Voice and Tone
Truth or Fiction
Purpose of the Memoir
Interview Link

• I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors is director Ann Marie Fleming’s animated adaptation of Bernice Eisenstein’s acclaimed illustrated memoir. Through an artful blend of Eisenstein’s drawings, inventive animation and the author’s own voice, the film weaves together personal and global history.
• Eisenstein explores her own identity from a past that her parents, both Auschwitz survivors, don’t especially want to talk about. Using the healing power of humour, the film probes the taboos around a very particular second-hand trauma, leading us to a more universal understanding of human experience. The film explores identity and loss through the audacious proposition that the Holocaust is addictive and defining.
• Child of Holocaust Survivors shakes up perspectives and conveys to a new generation the continuing legacy of the Second World War, which seared the word genocide into our collective consciousness. This is a poignant and wry exploration of grief, love, acceptance and resilience, through the enduring quality of family bonds.
Slide O.O

CBC Archives
• I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors, Vancouver director Ann Marie Fleming’s animated adaptation of Bernice Eisenstein’s acclaimed illustrated memoir. Using the healing power of humour, the short film probes the taboos around a very particular second-hand trauma, leading us to a more universal understanding of human experience.

• It explores identity and loss through the audacious proposition that the Holocaust is addictive and defining. I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors is produced by the NFB’s Michael Fukushima and Gerry Flashover.


Slide by O.O
Historical Context of the times:
• The holocaust went from 1933 to 1945.

• In 1933, the Jewish population of Europestood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II.

• By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the policy to murder the Jews of Europe.

• Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some 200,000 Gypsies.

• At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program.
Slide O.O

In Bernice Eisenstein’s memoir she was a survivor of the Holocaust. Where Jews and other enemies of the Germans were tortured in concentration camps.

Source: from http://www.quillandquire.com/reviews/review.cfm?review_id=5093

Slide by O.O
Morris, J. (2009). Holocaust anonymous. [Review of the book I was a child of Holocaust survivors]. Canadian Literature #200 (original publication). Retrieved from http://canlit.ca/reviews/holocaust_anonymous
According to Morris, the purpose of this book review was to explore Bernice’s childhood experiences. With poignancy and searing honesty, Eisenstein explores with ineffable sadness and bittersweet humour, her childhood growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust. But more than a book about the Holocaust and its far-reaching shadows, this moving, visually ravishing graphic memoir speaks universally about memory, loss, and recovery of the past (Morris, 2009).

Garvie, M. (May, 2006). I was a child of Holocaust survivors. Review of the book I was a child of Holocaust survivors]. Quill & Quire. Retrieved from http://www.quillandquire.com/reviews/review.cfm?review_id=5093
According to Garvie, the purpose of this interview was to review Bernice’s character as a child and to have a better understanding of her social life and the psychological impact it created on her. In her memoir, her tense frequently changes between her adulthood and childhood, providing the reader with individual perspectives. This also highlights her personal growth and evolution in character. When drawn, Bernice’s physical appearance is a young girl with short black hair. The young Bernice strives for knowledge and is very humorous, outgoing, and clever, that leads her to her memoir writing (Garvie, 2006).

McClelland.com (n.d.). About this author. Retrieved November 17th, 2011 from http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780771030642&view=print
According to McClelland, it seems that Eisenstein wrote her memoir in order to understand many aspects of the world around her. Her exploration of herself, her family, and the Holocaust are expressions of sorrow and remembrance as well as acceptance and understanding. Although she explored the Holocaust as a child, it was in doing portraits of her father that she would come to a new level of understanding (McClelland, 2011)
Slide by O.O
Element of Memoir
Bernice’s memoir is very truthful. When she talks about her father you get the idea that he was a strict, and his opinions and views on life were not to be taken lightly, especially when raising Bernice. Her father would not hold back about the truths in life whether they are good or bad. Bernice said “I never doubted the fierce love my father had for me, but there were times when I longed for a simpler, less heroic expression of it.” She wished that he would kind of “loosen up”, She longed for a conversation to have with him beyond declarations. In saying that Bernice said “Perhaps then he might have trusted that I could find my own way in what he knew to be a difficult world.” (Eisenstein, p. 121)
Retrived from http://www.amazon.com/I-Was-Child-Holocaust-Survivors/dp/1594482608/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396228857&sr=8-1&keywords=bernice+eisenstein#reader_1594482608
Slide by J.B
I would define Bernice Eisenstein as a compassionate character. Her love for both her parents and literature is so strong, its touching.
It seems like she had never taken her parents love for granted, when her parents and her did not see eye to eye she wouldn’t just get angry.
It seems as if she would put herself in her parents shoes and try to figure out what they were thinking or doing.
That shows a great amount of respect to me. She said “The sense of companionship that I first felt when I held a book in my hands, before even opening it, has never left me” (Eisenstein, p. 112).
shows Bernice’s compassion for literature. She said “I read voraciously, anything and everything, and shortly after one book was closed I’d pick up another.” (Eisenstein, p. 112).
She can’t get enough. She breaths in writing stories.

Source: http://www.amazon.com/I-Was-Child-Holocaust-Survivors/dp/1594482608/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396228857&sr=8-1&keywords=bernice+eisenstein#reader_1594482608
Slide by J.B
“I was a child of the Holocaust Survivors” written by Bernice Eisenstein unfold a story of a child experiences growing up as the daughter of Ben and Regina, Polish natives who met in Auschwitz, married soon after Liberation, and eventually settled in Toronto’s Kensington Market in the late 1940s. I observed I similarly share ideas, believes, experiences with Eisenstein after reading her book. My parents got divorced when I was barely three years old. I moved with my mother to a different city in Ghana. I spent most part of my life years with mother and hardly know my father. Every day of my life, I vision, yearn and crave to meet him again and know who he really is and why he has given up on his precious family. I am connected to Eisenstein to somewhat because I am also imagining and seeking the meaning in life. I often wish my vision will take me to a land that will enable me solve my problems particularly to meet my father I barely know.

Slide by J.B
Personal Life
Reviews• “Canadian Jewish News”
reviews: “A uniquely gripping articulation of the heart. . . . An emotional and aesthetic triumph.”• “Quill and Quire”
Reviews: “ Beautifully conceived and constructed, intimate and engrossing.”• Molly Peacock from the “Globe and Mail” said: “The most lucid, funny, moving book I encountered in the year 2006. . . remarkable. . .• “Publishers Weekly”
Reviewed: “Eisenstein is a gifted artist as well as a wordsmith.”• The “Toronto Star”
Reviewed the book as: “moving, funny, utterly compelling.”
Reviews “Through her vivid prose and stunning illustrations, Eisenstein crafts a tale that is emotionally rich and visually arresting....this moving, searingly honest testament speaks to the universality of memory and loss.
Source: http://www.nfb.ca/playlists/i-was-child-holocaust-survivors/ viewing/i_was_a_child_of_holocaust_survivors_about/•

Slide by J.B
This memoir of Bernice Eisenstein resonates with me in an emotional, and physiological way because I can feel, Bernice’s feeling of anger, and fear. However being a survivor of the Holocaust, that memory will never go away because, she was still living with her parents, who were traumatized from the Holocaust. For example, “I am addicted to the Holocaust. Today is my first day of being clean and I don’t need the Holocaust anymore to feel like a worthy person." (Morris, 2011). According to Morris, the memory of that war still lives with them even though the Holocaust was over. I can imagine what she had to live and grow up with both parents and a sibling, when parents have to deal with flashbacks and bad memories. Also, this quote reviews part of the sad memory in Bernice Eisenstein’s memoir "Is it funny enough, is it sad enough? Am I too whiny, too angry, too petulant? Boo hoo, poor little survivors’ child." (Morris,2011). This quote reviews her emotional feelings and thoughts that goes through her mind day by day as she grows up. I have never experienced war in my life but seeing it on TV happening in other countries I know it’s fearful for anyone to experience, left alone to survive.
Slide O.O

The End of Presentation, hope you enjoyed it. Thanks.
I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors was one of her biggest accomplishments
In 2006 her graphic memoir was award-winning
It was produced into a short film
In 2007 Canadian Jewish Book Award
Nomination for Trillium Book Award
Selection of Borders Original Voice Non-Fiction Finalist
Created drawings for Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum

Slide By:M.Manickam
The Amsterdam
By: Bernice Eisenstein
Slide by: M.Manickam
Full transcript