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Carol Matas


Award Winning Author Carol Matas Launches Holocaust Diary of Rose Raboniwitz

by Rhonda J. Prepes, April 18, 2013

Acclaimed Canadian writer Carol Matas, who has examined the subject of Holocaust in ten of her books, launched her new book Dear Canada: Pieces of the Past, The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz on April 9, 2013 in Winnipeg to an enthusiastic crowd of 75.

Matas's book is a moving work of historical fiction, in which Rose, a young Jewish girl recounts her traumatic experiences in Poland during the Holocaust after immigrating to Winnipeg. Memories of going into hiding, moving from place to place, being constantly on the run to escape capture flood her diary pages as Rose struggles to connect with others, and above all, to trust again.

This book is part of the Scholastic Dear Canada series of historical novels written in the form of a diary of a fictional young woman living during an important event in Canadian history.

“This is my third book in the Dear Canada series. My first one called Footsteps in the Snow is about the Selkirk settlers and my second Turned Away is about a young girl’s efforts to help her cousin and pen pal emigrate from Paris before the Nazis deported the Jews to internment camps. I also have one book in the I am Canada series which is for boys. It is about a young WWII gunner from the Prairies who is shot down over France and captured by the Gestapo called Behind Enemy Lines,” Matas said.

“Much in the same way that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. approached me to write Daniel’s story, a story to teach children in grades five to eight about the Holocaust, Scholastic contacted me to write a book for children about the Holocaust. The challenge was how to write a Holocaust book and make it Canadian history at the same time?”

“Writing about a war orphan who came to Winnipeg after the war was a way to tell both stories – the local Canadian story and the story of the Holocaust,” said 63 year old Matas who lives in Winnipeg.

“I also wanted to have Rose come from Warsaw, Poland so I could tell the story of the Jewish resistance and of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as we are currently commemorating its 70th anniversary. During this week, Holocaust Memorial Week, it is important to remember the three million Jews that were murdered in Poland,” said Matas.

Dear Canada: Pieces of the Past, The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz is already climbing on the McNally Robinson Kids and Teens Bestsellers List.

Matas thanked Al Levine, Belle Millo, Dan Stone, Stan Carbone, Frank Weinfeld and Jeanette Block for their assistance in writing the book.

Zane Tessler was the master of ceremonies for the accompanying commemorative service. After the Presentation of Colours by the General Monash Branch of the Royal Canadian legion, Roberta Malam, Coast to Coast Canada Director of the March of the Living lit six candles, one for each of the six million Jews that perished in the Holocaust.

Sarah Sommer and Cami Almosnino sang Amud Ha’esh accompanied by Tatyana Smolyaninov on the piano. Lena Streltsov led the Jewish Child and Services Senior Choir in a rendition of Tziyon Tamati.

On behalf of the board of directors of the Rady JCC, Aileen Berger-White introduced Carol Matas.

The event was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, the Rady JCC and McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Portions of this article first appeared in the Jewish Tribune.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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