This accession consists of records documenting Adam Fuerstenberg's life and career as educator, scholar and expert in Yiddish and Canadian Jewish literature; director of the Holocaust Centre of Toronto and active involvement in Jewish community organizations. Included are manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, newspaper clippings, grant proposals, audiocassettes, videocassettes, photographs, and research related to scholarly and non-scholarly articles, reviews, lectures, speeches on Jewish literary figures, such as A.M. Klein, J.I. Segal, and Sholem Shtern; Canadian Jewish Studies; and the Holocaust, including publications of the journal Voice of Radom. Also included are administrative records, submissions, and correspondence related to his role as founder the Canadian Jewish Book Awards, director of the Committee for Yiddish, president of the American Association of Professors of Yiddish, and editor of Parchment. In addition, the accession includes correspondence, minutes, newspaper clippings, brochures, pamphlets and other records related to the Holocaust Centre of Toronto's exhibitions on Anne Frank and Bergen-Belsen and Holocaust Education Week. The accession also includes records related to his tenure as Professor of English, Continuing Education Coordinator, and member of the Board of Governors at Ryerson University; establishment of a Toronto Jewish museum; and other community activism and civic engagement. Some family records and correspondence are also included in addition to biographical material and genealogical research.
Adam Fuerstenberg (1939 - 2016) was a scholar, educator, community leader, and authority on Canadian Yiddish and Jewish writers. He was born in Radom, Poland on March 25, 1939 to Regina and Henry Fuerstenberg. After some years in Central Asia and Displaced Persons camps in Germany, the family, including his sister Anna, arrived in Montreal, Canada in 1951. Adam studied at the Sir George Williams University (Concordia University) and received his M.A. in English at State University of New York, Buffalo. He also studied Yiddish and Yiddish folklore at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with folklorist Dov Noy and Yiddish critic Dov Sadan. In 1964, he married Gloria Lidsky in Montreal and the couple soon moved to Toronto.
Adam was a professor of English at Ryerson University from 1964 to 1998, and was a long serving member of Ryerson’s Board of Governors. After retirement from tenured faculty, he continued to teach and serve at Ryerson as Adjunct Professor and Professor Emeritus. He was also the Continuing Education Coordinator, English, from 1977-1982 and 1988-1993.
As a scholar and authority on Yiddish, the Holocaust, Canadian Yiddish literature, and Canadian Jewish writers, in particular A.M. Klein, Adam has lectured and presented papers at various conferences, and written articles and reviews in academic journals and other publications, such as the The Forward, Canadian Jewish News, The New Canadian Encyclopedia, and The Globe and Mail. Adam founded the Canadian Jewish Book Awards in 1987 and was the editor of Parchment, a journal of contemporary Canadian Jewish creative writing from 1994. He also provided editorial consulting to individuals and firms with publications.
From 1998 to 2003, he was director of the Committee for Yiddish and after was director of the Holocaust Centre of Toronto at the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto from 2003 to 2005. As director, he created a partnership with the General Romeo Dallaire Summer Institute on teaching the Holocaust and Genocide, brought the exhibits “Bergen-Belsen DP Exhibit” and “Anne Frank Family Photo Album,” and organized an educational Holocaust trip to Europe.
He was active in the community and was involved in various organizations, such as the Canadian Jewish Congress, Board of Metro-Credit Union, the Ryerson Faculty Association, Canadian Association for Jewish Studies, Association of Canadian University Teachers, and the American Association of Professors of Yiddish. He ran to be a school board trustee for the North York Board of Education and was involved as an advisor to issues related to housing, as co-author of a report on Senior Citizens’ housing development in Metropolitan Toronto. He was also committed to the development of a Toronto Jewish Museum.