Accession consists of graphic material and a textual record documenting the Transnistria Survivor Association. Included are three photos: 1) Member Arnold Buxbaum standing in front of Memorial for Transnistria at Earl Bales Park; 2) Arnold Buxbaum and Joe Leinburd at UJA Foundation Event, 2011-12; 3) Hazkarah, 2005 at Sharei Shomayim Synagogue. There is also a speech by Arnold Buxbaum presented in 2011 at Sharei Shomayim Synagogue.
Originals were loaned for reproducing.
Founded in 1994, the Transnistria Survivors’ Association works to provide a voice for and raise awareness of a lesser known group of Holocaust survivors. Transnistria was the Romanian authorities’ name for the former Ukrainian region located between the Rivers Dniester and Bug. It was placed under Romanian administration following the German and Romanian conquest of Ukraine in the summer of 1941. Prior to the Second World War, Romania was home to the third largest Jewish population in Europe; but beginning with the Citizenship Revision Laws of 1938, the Jews of Romania were deprived their citizenship rights and became the targets of repressive antisemitic policies and laws. Neighbours turned on neighbours. Thousands of Jews were murdered in pogroms, either by Romanian or German troops, Nazi Einsatzgruppen, or the local population. In 1941, the Jews who remained alive in the Provinces of Bucovina and Bessarabia were deported to camps and ghettos in Transnistria. Thousands were jammed into freight trains while others were marched by foot. Many died along the way. Between 1941 and 1944, it is estimated that German and Romanian authorities, along with Ukrainian collaborators, murdered or caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Romanian and Ukrainian Jews in Transnistria. Some of those who survived these tragic circumstances, especially from Bucovina and Bessarabia, and made a new home in Toronto gathered together to lend each other support and to tell their largely unknown story of oppression and survival. The Transnistria Survivor’s Association organized yearly Hazkarah (memorial) services and its dedicated members continue to share their extraordinary stories of survival through speaking engagements at schools, colleges and synagogues. Past presidents include:
1. Felicia (Steigman) Carmelly
4.Lou (Leizer) Hoffer
As of 2017, the current President is Joe Leinburd.
Accession consists of material documenting the activities of Ben Zion Shapiro and his family. The bulk of the records document the Shapiro family's involvement in Young Judea. Young Judea material includes: yearbooks, photographs, correspondence, meeting minutes, event programmes, song books, newsletters, and two Camp Biluim flags made by Bunny Shapiro. One flag contains Camp Biluim's crest (1951) and the other one was created for Camp Biluim's colour war and contains the text "We will try and we will succeed Camp Biluim" (1954?). Also included is a VHS tape containing a copy of the Toronto Zionist Council's video about Camp Shalom (1991?). Of note are minute books maintained by Roy Shapiro for the Toronto Young Judea Administrative Board (1928-1934) and for the Leadership Club (1940-1948).
Accession also contains material relating to Roy and Ben Zion's involvement with the following organizations: the Coordinated Services to the Jewish Elderly (Circle of Care), B'nai Israel Beth David Congregation, Beth Tzedec's Mispacha Program, Beth Tzedec's Israel Action Program, Congregation Beth Haminyan, and Holy Blossom Temple's Department for Jewish Living. These records include, minutes, correspondence, newsletters and publications, evaluation reports and other reports. Also included is a demographic report entitied, "Rapid Growth and Transformation: Demographic Challenges Facing the Jewish Community of Greater Toronto" (1995), material from a conference at the University of Toronto on the university's partnership with Israel, CHAT alumni directories, and a CHAT book entitled, "Voices: Jewish Teens of the 90's". Of note are buttons, photographs, reports and correspondence documenting Bunny and Ben Zion's trip to the Soviet Union on behalf of the CJC's Committee for Soviet Jewry.
Finally accession includes material documenting family activities of the Shapiro and Sherman family. Included is a transcript of Bessie Sherman telling her life story (1978), haggadot, PowerPoint presentations created by Ben Zion for his grandchildren and for a family reunion outlining the family history of his family and Bunny's family. There is also a video of Ben Zion presenting his PowerPoint at the Michalski / Cohen family reunion. Also included are family films and videos containing footage of Bunny and Ben Zion's wedding and honeymoon, Camp Biluim, Young Judea events, Bunny on Machon, family wedding anniversaries and birthday parties, trips to Israel, the United States, and Europe as well as footage of the Cousin's Club. Also included is a VHS tape containing a recorded segment from CityPulse News featuring the family's Pesach festivities in 1995.
Photo identification: Back row, left to right: Ray Markus, Michelle Landsberg, Menachem ?, Frank Narrol. Front row, left to right: Gilda Mitchell, Bunny Shapiro, BenZion Shapiro, Malka Rabinowitz.
Ben Zion Shapiro was born in Toronto in 1931 to Roy and Beck (nee Cohen) Shapiro. He has a younger brother, Morden (Mort) Shapiro (b. 1940). His father worked as an office manager at Rotstein Furniture and Maple Leaf Cleaners and his mother worked as a legal secretary until marriage. Roy was active in a number of organizations including: Young Judea, Sons of Jacob Society, Toronto Camera Club, a founding member of Beth David Synagogue, Coordinated Services to the Jewish Elderly (Circle of Care) and President of the Association of Jewish Seniors. Beck was active in Young Judea and Pioneer Women (President of the Golda Meir Club).
Ben Zion received a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and attended the Jewish Agency Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad in Jerusalem, Israel (1951-1952). He has worked for a number of organizations throughout his career, including: Young Judea (he was Director of both Camp Shalom (1962-1969) and Camp Biluim (1954-1956)), B'nai Brith Youth Organization, University Settlement, St. Christopher's House and Director of the Novomeysky Centre in Jerusalem (1957-1961). He was also Professor and Associate Dean of Social Work at the University of Toronto and three times Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Ben married Bunny (Bernice) Shaprio in 1955. Bunny was born in 1934 in Noranda, Quebec to Irving and Bessie (nee Consky) Sherman. Bunny attended public school in Noranda, Noranda High School and Forest Hill Collegiate in Toronto, University of Toronto (BA), the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (M.Ed. in Special Education), and the Jewish Agency Institute for Jewish Leaders from Abroad (1952-1953).
Bunny graduated from the first Camp Biluim Institute for leadership training in 1951 and worked with Ben Zion at Camp Shalom as Camp Mother in 1962 and from 1964-1969. She also worked at Camp Biluim from 1955-1956. In 1983, Bunny and Ben Zion went to the Soviet Union to visit Refuseniks on behalf of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region.
Bunny and Ben have two children: Ayala and Ilan. Since Ben Zion's retirement in 1996, he and Bunny have been living in Jerusalem for half of each year. In 2015, they moved full-time to Jerusalem.
Physical description note: includes ca. 300 photographs (256 tiff), 2 PowerPoint presentations, 1 textual record (doc), 4 buttons, 2 flags, 5 VHS tapes, and 18 film reels (8 mm).