I Am Still There:
Jewish Poland in the Canadian Novels of Chava Rosenfarb
Speaker: Dr Goldie Morgentaler
Date: Thursday, 8 January at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Peretz Centre, 6184 Ash Street
(Ash and 45th just south of Oakridge Shopping Centre). There should be free underground parking.
Suggested donation: $5
Chava Rosenfarb (1923-2011) was one of the major Yiddish authors of the
second half of the twentieth century. Born in Poland in 1923, she survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz and BergenBelsen before settling in Montreal and commencing a prolific literary career, strongly influenced by her Holocaust experiences.
Rosenfarb’s award-winning novel, The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the
Lodz Ghetto, has been called one of the seminal works of Holocaust literature.
Her three other novels — Bociany, Of Lodz and Love, and Letters to Abrasha — all, like The Tree of Life, written in Canada but set in Poland, represent the author’s attempt to recreate the lost Jewish communities of her youth. Rosenfarb’s novels were all written and published in Yiddish, although three of them have now been translated into English.
This talk will provide an overview of Rosenfarb’s work, focusing primarily on the way in which Poland figures in her fiction. It will also focus on the implications of trying to recreate the lost world of Polish Jewry while living in what Rosenfarb once called “the Canadian reality,” a reality that included the slowly disappearing world of Montreal’s once-vibrant Yiddish-language community.
Dr Goldie Morgentaler is a member of the English Department at the University of Lethbridge. She holds a Ph.D. from McGill University and is an expert on Jewish and Yiddish literature.