We are pleased to announce the launch of Refugee Boulevard: Making Montreal Home after the Holocaust (http://refugeeboulevard.ca). This oral and public history project is a collaboration between researchers at Dawson College (Stacey Zembrzycki and Nancy Rebelo), Saint Paul University (Anna Sheftel), and the Montreal Holocaust Museum (Eszter Andor). It was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Engage Grant.
Refugee Boulevard offers an immersive audio walk (free, bilingual, and downloadable to your smartphone/mobile device) that shares the voices of six orphaned Holocaust survivors who describe what it was like to arrive to Montreal in 1948. This survivor-led initiative tells stories of resettlement, socializing, food, work, dating, discrimination, and both the obstacles and joys inherent in making Montreal and Canada home. The accompanying website also contains video clips from interviews on the same themes, as well as a downloadable booklet with archival and personal photographs from the period. Refugee Boulevard is a story not just about surviving the Holocaust, but about finding and remaking home in Montreal, cultural mixing within and beyond the local Jewish community, and a host of joyful as well as difficult encounters.
Refugee Boulevard has received considerable press coverage already:
We encourage you to check out the project, listen to the audio tour in situ or at home, and peruse the website. Survivors’ experiences in the 1940s and 1950s are not dissimilar to the stories of the immigrants and refugees who continue to arrive in Montreal, and Canada more generally, today. Understanding the intricacies and complexities of these experiences is crucial as we move forward and try to create a just society. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.