Life in a Jar in Montreal
A letter from Norman Conard
After the trip to Montreal
25 May 2007
Montreal, you were wonderful. We just returned from a powerful set of presentations in Montreal, Canada. We salute Herman Gruenwald and the Eva and Herman Gruenwald Holocaust Education Fund for bringing us to Canada. Also, we thank Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom for making this trip possible.
We presented at the Polish Consulate in Montreal, to the Polish Jewish Heritage Foundation. Thanks to the foundation president, Ilona Gruda for her kindness and the dinner. Also, thanks to the Polish Ambassador to Canada and the other embassy and consulate officials who visited our presentations.
There was large press coverage in Montreal, thanks to the advance work of Rhona Samsonovitch. Irena and Life in a Jar were seen on Canadian television, 2 full pages in La Presse, a great story in the Montreal Gazette, a visit to the 'Father John Walsh' show, one of the more popular radio programs in Eastern Canada and in numerous other newspapers and magazines.
What a powerful audience on Sunday evening at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom. Many survivors were present. Another powerful audience was at John Brébeuf Parish, we so appreciate Father John Walsh, who really represents respect and understanding for all.
Herman Gruenwald and Rhona Samsonovitch put together an unbelievable journey for our Life in a Jar cast. Herman, you are wonderful and we love you for your generous spirit.
Renata Zajdman, child survivor and long time friend of Life in a Jar, was such a joy to visit. We loved meeting her entire family.
The students of Montreal were wonderful to meet on our Friday morning presentation. The 5th grade class from Westmount was so impressive.
A big thank you to our host home-stays, Rhona, Michelle and Helaine, we appreciate your hospitality and that of your families.
Some of the many e-mails from Montreal:
*I live in Montreal and witnessed your "Irena Sendler" project. I would very much like to commend all of you on your efforts and accomplishments. You are akin to shining stars in an often dark sky.
And I would especially like to say how pleased I am to see a group of young individuals bravely standing up in the face of bigotry and 'revisionists,' to rebuke the nonsensical arguments of those who live to deny history and to hate. You have done your families your communities, and your country proud.
**I cannot find the words to tell you what a marvelous group of people you all are. You are an inspiration.
***Thanks for visiting us in Montreal. Although I've known the story for a number of years, have been to Warsaw more times than I can count, and have seen Irena's tree at Yad Vashem, the students have made us feel as if we've met Irena personally.
****Thank you for bringing the story to a generation who may never get to meet or hear a survivor who could tell it first hand. Besides hearing it told by young people who have a need to tell it, It is beyond wonderful that you chose a medium that has a capacity to reach that many more people.
*****I'm in Québec, Canada, and I'm touched to see all of this, One word to you "Bravo et encore bravo".
Life in a Jar Foundation
610 Meadow Lane
Fort Scott, KS 66701