My book’s Scope and Purpose

BOOK LAUNCH: Friday October 18, 7 PM
Friends House, 60 Lowther Street, Toronto
Childcare available.

Please look at my publisher’s announcement: https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/holocaust-to-resistance-my-journey

Take a look at my Youtube:

https://www.facebook.com/113089976738659/videos/2409158386017812/

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VIGNETTE #1 (OUT of 10): RETURN TO AUVERGNE

Once again, I was on my way back to Auvergne, to the hidden home of my early years. Exhausted from the transatlantic flight, I rested my head on John’s shoulder — John, my loving and devoted partner. We have done many expeditions to France, the land of my origin. I listened to the rattle of the train and watched the green fields fly by. It was on such a train that I first came to Auvergne, in 1943, still an infant in the arms of a woman. My mind drifted back. She was a stranger. I sensed her apprehension. I was restless and fretful. Then I drifted off. I felt a jolt. The stranger holding me was talking to two men. They asked questions. She showed papers. I sensed her fear — but the men passed on.

As I grew up, I forgot that voyage, forgot the green farmlands and hills of Auvergne, and forgot the French language, my mother tongue. I left France as a child and I vowed never to return. I wanted to erase those bitter years. But now, revisiting Auvergne after seventy-two years, I knew that I owed everything to this region — not only my life but its direction and its pervading sense of purpose….

An Auvergne journalist wrote that I had “lived many lives during my 75 years.” Very true. I had taken a battering during my childhood years that left its mark on me. My life took shape as a quest to heal wounds of wartime trauma and seek links with communities striving for social justice. My direction was set during that time in Auvergne as a child in the care of the anti-Nazi Resistance.

Holocaust to Resistance: my Journey, pp. 2, 4 Copyright © 2019 Suzanne Berliner Weiss

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An Evening with Suzanne Berliner Weiss

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 7 PM

FRIENDS HOUSE, 60 Lowther Ave., Toronto,

All are invited to the launch of Holocaust to Resistance, My Journey, a memoir by Suzanne Berliner Weiss.

Publisher’s Description

Holocaust to Resistance, My Journey is a powerful, awe-inspiring memoir from author and activist Suzanne Berliner Weiss. Born to Jewish parents in Paris in 1941, Suzanne was hidden from the Nazis on a farm in rural France. Alone after the war, she lived in progressive-run orphanages, where she gained a belief in peace and brotherhood. Adoption by a New York family led to a tumultuous youth haunted by domestic conflict, fear of nuclear war and anti-communist repression, consignment to a detention home and magical steps toward relinking with her origins in Europe.

At age seventeen, Suzanne became a lifelong social activist, engaged in student radicalization, the Cuban Revolution, and movements for Black Power, women’s liberation, peace in Vietnam, freedom for Palestine, and Indigenous rights. Now nearing eighty, Suzanne tells how the ties of friendship, solidarity and resistance that saved her as a child speak to the needs of our planet today.

Pre-order now from Fernwood Publishers. Available October 1, 2019.
“Suzanne Weiss exemplifies what it looks like to dedicate one’s life, post-Holocaust, to the mandate of ‘Never Again’ – for anyone. Her fascinating life story is sure to inspire many generations of activists.”
— Corey Balsam, National Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Confirm your attendance at facebook event page.

See also three-minute video:
Introduction to Holocaust to Resistance: My Journey.”

In solidarity with Tlaib and Omar

Dear Rashida and Ilhan,

As a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust, I hail your personal sacrifices, dedication, and courageous actions for the Palestinian people, as they strive for homeland, equality, and freedom.

As a young child under Nazi occupation, like countless other Jewish children, I was saved from Hitler by the warm embrace of solidarity.
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Today, you bring this same spirit to the aid of Palestinians, who seek to tear down the racist apartheid walls and to build a foundation for peace, justice, and reconciliation.

Thank you, Rashida and Ilhan, for breaking the silence over inhuman apartheid and raising the Palestinians’ unifying demand for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

Suzanne Weiss, Toronto
Aug. 19, 2019

Celebrating the Palestinians and Freedom of Speech

Today, June 1, was a great success for the Al Quds rally which gathered more than 1,000 people in support of Palestinian freedom and free speech. I was honoured to be one of the speakers. Here is what I said:

My name is Suzanne Weiss. I am a Holocaust survivor. As a Jewish infant, I was marked down by the Nazis for death. All my life I have worked to prevent another Holocaust through pursuit of social justice and free speech. We meet today in the cause of human rights for the Palestinian peoples. Their lands are seized, their homes destroyed; they are confined by walls and checkpoints; they are arbitrarily jailed. In Gaza – they suffer a brutal and murderous blockade without the medications, water, and food needed to enjoy life.  Image may contain: 6 people

How can we help put an end to these evils?
Through the global campaign to end Israeli apartheid. A campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the Israeli government! To end apartheid, we have three demands:
** End the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
** Let the exiled Palestinians return to their homeland.
** Grant equal rights to all in Israel- including the Palestinians.

Some tell us that to speak of Israeli apartheid is hateful. Some want to make it a crime even to say the words “Israeli apartheid.”
But we must speak the truth. It is Israeli apartheid that is the crime. The call to end Israeli apartheid is a non-violent effort to achieve justice and reconciliation. The call to end Israeli apartheid affirms our hope and trust that the Israeli people, like the Palestinians, will come to embrace an agenda of equality. Our goal is for Palestinians to be free to pursue their dreams in their homeland, in equality and reconciliation with their Jewish sisters and brothers.

I welcome the efforts of the Al-Quds organizers, our Muslim and Palestinian friends, to achieve this goal. Al Quds explains the difference between Judaism and Zionism. Al Quds seeks to overcome anti-Jewish and anti-Palestinian prejudice. They say “Judaism yes, Zionism no!” These efforts deserve constructive engagement, dialogue, and respect for free speech.

In this spirit, we say: “Free — Free Palestine!”

 

Sid Ryan’s Vision: Linking Unions to Social Movements

Review: A Grander Vison: My Life in the Labour Movement, by Sid Ryan, Toronto: Dundurn, 2019, 310 pp., $24.99 (ebook $12.99).

A review by Suzanne Weiss: It is rare to find a labour leader who not only speaks on the union’s behalf but acts in the interests of us all, on both local and global issues, with honesty, firmness, and determination. Sid’s memoir of his life in the labour movement is a fast-moving narrative of exciting events that affected the wellbeing of all working people.

His story is brimming with the excitement of union life in his native Ireland, in Ontario, and on the world stage. His moving portrayal of early life in Dublin and Belfast shows how his character was in part shaped by engagement in Ireland’s struggle against colonialism – a theme that resounds in his later activities in Canada.

First elected to leadership positions as a member of CUPE Ontario, Sid prevailed on unwilling bosses to grant esteem and protection to rank-and-file workers, displaying the loyalty to social justice that he learned from his father. Sid understood the central issue of union life: membership unity against the bosses and respect for members as contributors to changing and bettering their own conditions.

Sid’s fifth chapter, entitled, “At Home in the World,” speaks to my heart. It was in this arena that I came to know him. For Sid, “The labour movement has always had an international dimension: the injustices and inequities that unrestrained capitalism visits on workers in one country typically have analogues abroad.”

Sid believes the labour movement must not be narrow, parochial, or restricted to local issues. It is part of the world struggle for social justice. The unions must be a reflection of the social movements that fight so hard for the rights we prize as unionists.

The situation in Israel/Palestine drew Sid’s attention as a lifelong enemy of colonialism. He was in Israel when Ariel Sharon, leader of the right-wing Likud Party “gave the green light to the building a four-hundred-mile barrier wall that would separate the West Bank from Israel and, in the process, cut deeply into prime Palestinian land.” The International Court of Justice was quoted to say that the barriers’ construction was  “tantamount to annexation and impeded the Palestinian right to self- determination,” Sid states.

In 2006, five members of CUPE Ontario appealed to Sid to join them in the convention that year to support resolution 50, calling on CUPE Ontario to join the international campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) to hasten the end of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. The resolution was proposed by my friends, Katherine Nastovski, Adam Hanieh, Ali Mallah, Rafeef Ziadah, and David Kidd. Reading Sid’s account renewed my pride in having worked with these solidarity activists.

As a retired unionist, I was active in the emerging social movement in Toronto in support of Palestinian self-determination. I heard Sid describe the events at the CUPE convention that year at a forum during Israel Apartheid Week, where he recounted the whole episode. All us of there burst with joy as he reported the vigorous near-unanimous stance of 900 delegates to the CUPE Ontario convention representing 220,000 members. Sid explained how the resolution would break new ground both for the union and the BDS campaign worldwide.

Sid was well aware that he would take the brunt of denunciations from right-wing quarters of labour, and government for this bold stand. But to social activists Sid is a labour hero and an example.

Sid Ryan calls for the adoption of “social movement unionism, in which labour forges an alliance with other progressive elements in civil society, taking up the cause of young people, precarious workers, and immigrants.” A Grander Vision explains how this concept has been applied, and it is truly one to inspire us all.

Trudeau government acknowledges Nazi genocide against Roma

by Suzanne Berliner Weiss

More then 50 people of all ages joined in Toronto August 2, 2018, in an international day of remembrance and recognition of the Romani Holocaust (Porajmos) in Europe. They heard Arif Virani, federal member of parliament for Toronto High Park-Parkdale, read a statement issued that day by Justin Trudeau’s government which said, in part:

On Romani Genocide Remembrance Day, we honour the memory of over 500,000 Romani who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in Europe. This genocide and the unspeakable violence inflicted on the Romani people are not widely known by the public, making them the ignored victims of WWII.

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Romani flag

Continue reading Trudeau government acknowledges Nazi genocide against Roma