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Minna Rosner essay contest winner Rosemund Ragetli

Rosemund Ragetli

Each year the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada sponsors an essay contest named for the late Shoah survivor Mina Rosner. Mina Rosner dedicated many hours to educating people about the Shoah as well as the importance of combating racism and discrimination and upholding human rights.

Students in grades 9-12 are annually invited to submit essays on the subject of the Shoah and/or human rights. The winner of the Mina Ronser Human Rights Award receives a monetary prize.
The winner this year is Rosemund Ragetli, who graduated this past June from Westwood Collegiate.
Interestingly, the previous year’s winner, Blake Edwards, was also a student at Westwood Collegiate. Special mention, therefore, must be made of Westwood history teacher, Kelly Hiebert, who not only teaches students about the Shoah, in 2019 he took students to Europe. As part of that trip students visited Auschwitz. Both Blake and Rosemund were part of the group that went on that trip.

Following is Rosemund Ragetli’s essay:

The Silence of History
In the relative comfort of everyday life, it is often difficult to relate our everyday lives with the atrocities of the Holocaust. It is imperative, however, that youth learn and connect with this history, understanding the responsibility each individual has to defend the rights of others. While the ability to seamlessly define the term ‘Holocaust’, or list the names and dates of major battles is an important aspect in forming a contextually accurate historiographic understanding, it is crucial the study of history be expanded; encompassing the significance of each individual life and the constant extrapolation of what may be learned from the past. During grade eleven, I travelled to Europe on a school trip focused on the Holocaust. My experiences in Warsaw, Auschwitz, Lidice, and Berlin forever changed my interpretation of history, bringing to life the magnitude and depth of this atrocity. My abstract and theoretical knowledge, based solely in classroom learning, became connected to the individual stories of those who once stood where I stood, bringing to life the reality of war and sacrifice in a new and extremely powerful manner.

As I walked through the Museum of the Polish Jews in Warsaw, I became transfixed by the complexity of the narrative. Spanning a thousand years, the connection between the Polish empire and the Jewish community was incredible. Throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, the Jewish population served an integral role within the development of Poland’s economy and social structure1 Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs and Leszek Hoñdo, eds., Why Should We Teach About the Holocaust?, trans. Michael Jacobs, vol. 2 (Cracow: The Jagiellonian University Institute of European Studies, 2005), ) pg. 17, a reality mirrored in many European nations. However, less than ten percent of these Polish Jews survived the Second World War2 Ibid. pg. 19 . Openly stated in the minutes of the Wannsee Conference, held in Berlin, January 1942, “The aim of all of this was to cleanse German living space of Jews in a legal manner”3 Jon E Lewis , ed., Voices From The Holocaust (London: Robinson, 2012) pg. 125. Within the book, Voices of the Holocaust, Filip Muller, a Sonderkommando from Auschwitz, describes the moment he came to understand this gruesome truth, “The damp stench of dead bodies and a cloud of stifling, biting smoke surged out towards us. Through the fumes I saw the vague outline of huge ovens. We were in the cremation room of the Auschwitz crematorium.”4 Ibid pg. 133

These chilling words rang in my ears as I stood in the Auschwitz barracks, filled with thousands of shoes, the glass case with baby clothing; they echoed on the walls as I stepped inside the crematorium with rows of ovens standing cold and silent. The people who died were no longer a statistic in a textbook, but individual people with lives, families, and dreams, some too young even to speak. As I walked the grounds of Auschwitz, I imagined myself stepping off the train and onto the platform. Our tour guide stopped in front of a blank brick wall, the spot where the camp orchestra played. As a violinist myself, I imagined that this may have been my task; to play for the other prisoners, perhaps my own family as they walked to their deaths. I stood in the silence of the Auschwitz tower, overlooking miles of barracks, alone with these painfully unavoidable thoughts, and I felt the overwhelming reality of suffering and loss.

Prior to our trip, we learned the history of Operation Anthropoid5 Branik Ceslav and Carmelo Lisciotto , “The Massacre at Lidice,” The Massacre at Lidice “The German Occupation of Europe” http://www.HolocaustResearchProject.org (Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team, 2008), ), and the devastating story of the Lidice massacre. In 1942, a group of Czech resistance fighters, working with the exiled Polish government in Britain, successfully assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, a high ranking Nazi official. In retaliation for this act, the German forces destroyed the neighbouring village of Lidice, systematically killing one hundred and seventy-two men, sending the women to Ravensbrück concentration camp, and all but nine children to Chelmno extermination camp6 Meilan Solly, “The Lost Children of the Lidice Massacre,” Smithsonian.com, September 12, 2018, accessed June 23, 2020, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/story-lidice-massacre-180970242/). Flattened to ruins, the Nazis proudly proclaimed that “the village of Lidice, its residents, and its very name, were now forever blotted from memory”7 Branik Ceslav and Carmelo Lisciotto , “The Massacre at Lidice,” The Massacre at Lidice “The German Occupation of Europe” http://www.HolocaustResearchProject.org (Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team, 2008), ).

Following the publication of this event, the international community was outraged. A member of the British Parliament founded the “Lidice Shall Live”8 Meilan Solly, “The Lost Children of the Lidice Massacre,” Smithsonian.com, September 12, 2018, accessed June 23, 2020, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/story-lidice-massacre-180970242/) campaign, immortalizing the tragedy within the media and on the global stage. This reaction was starkly juxtaposed by the notably restrained response from the Allies regarding the Final Solution. As a politically charged point of contention9 Ibid, the international community was wary to portray the Holocaust as a driving factor in the war, while the Lidice Massacre provided a “neutral and indisputably despicable example” of Nazi cruelty. In truth, nothing could prepare me, or anyone else for our visit to the Lidice memorial. I stepped out of the bus, overlooking a beautiful field, with a stream running through it, and a nearby forest. It was impossible to reconcile these two realities. As we walked through the grass, I could not comprehend how little there was left of the town; the foundation of a church, and a plaque where a house once stood. We stopped in front of the statues of eighty-two children who were murdered10 Ibid, and I struggled to quantify such atrocities. A village, a people and a way of life gone without the smallest trace.

Upon our arrival in Berlin the following day, we embarked on a walking tour of the city, visiting several Holocaust memorials. In particular, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was a unique and deeply poignant monument, one which significantly impacted my understanding of the Holocaust. Spanning more than 19,000 square metres, 2711 concrete slabs stand, ranging in height from eight inches to over sixteen feet11 Sam Merrill and Leo Schmidt, eds., A Reader in Uncomfortable Heritage and Dark Tourism, Brandenburg University of Technology, 2010,, accessed June 26, 2020, ) pg. 127. These coffin-like structures silently stretch into a concrete graveyard, commemorating the millions of nameless Jews who died in the Holocaust. As I walked between the rows of concrete pillars, I lost track of time, feeling lost and singularly insignificant. Designed for one person to walk in solitude12 Ibid., pg. 135, I found myself alone between concrete coffins that stretched far above my head. I glanced up at the slits of sky visible and found myself contemplating the enormity of the Holocaust in a way I had not previously. This, I believe, was the purpose of the memorial; the realization that within the confines of such a immense structure, one person is rendered insignificant, just as an individual life may be forgotten among the millions of lives lost. The unchanging constancy of this monument was extremely thought provoking, connecting the colossal magnitude of the Holocaust to a deeply personal and unique experience.

The trip significantly impacted my interpretation of history, in a way I could never have anticipated. By stepping into the events of the past; walking the grounds of Auschwitz and Lidice, standing before the incredible monuments for the Holocaust, I gained a deeper and more personal understanding for the importance of history within my own life. The information I had learned in class was suddenly part of something much larger, the realization that while history is, of course, the study of past events, the true value lies in its application to the present and most importantly, the future. After returning home, I worked to fulfill this mission, studying history with a new appreciation, I joined the Westwood Historical Society in order to connect the atrocities of the Holocaust to the youth of my own generation.

As I toured the Museum of the Polish Jews, walked the grounds of Auschwitz, and stood before the Holocaust memorials in Lidice and Berlin, my interpretation of history changed forever. I understood that it is our mission, as youth, to not only learn history, but to connect and apply it to the future. A theoretical knowledge of the Holocaust must be linked to a personal understanding of its magnitude, with each individual life holding meaning beyond a statistical value. Within the ease of everyday life, this is an undeniably difficult reality to comprehend, but one that must be understood. We as a generation have a responsibility to remember these events, learning from the atrocities of the Holocaust before they fade into the anonymity and silence of history.
Bibliography:

Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, Jolanta, and Leszek Hoñdo, eds. Why Should We Teach About the Holocaust? Translated by Michael Jacobs. 2. Vol. 2. Cracow: The Jagiellonian University Institute of European Studies, 2005. .

Blicq, Andy. “Return to Buchach.” Vimeo. CBC, 2011. .

Ceslav , Branik, and Carmelo Lisciotto . “The Massacre at Lidice.” The Massacre at Lidice “The German Occupation of Europe” http://www.HolocaustResearchProject.org. Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team, 2008. .

Lewis , Jon E, ed. Voices From The Holocaust. London: Robinson, 2012.

Merrill, Sam, and Leo Schmidt, eds. A Reader in Uncomfortable Heritage and Dark Tourism. Brandenburg University of Technology. 2010. Accessed June 26, 2020. .

Rosner, Mina. I Am a Witness . Winnipeg, Manitoba: Hyperion Press, 1990. .

Solly, Meilan. “The Lost Children of the Lidice Massacre.” Smithsonian.com. September 12, 2018. Accessed June 23, 2020. .

Kossak-Szczucka, Zofia. “‘Protest!” of the Underground Front for the Rebirth of Poland 1942.” Source texts Poles and the Holocaust. Accessed June 8, 2020. .

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Features

Popularity of Online Casino Games in Canada

In recent years, the popularity of online casino games in Canada has surged, captivating the attention of a diverse audience seeking thrilling entertainment. With the convenience of accessing these games from the comfort of home, Canadians are exploring the vast world of virtual casinos that offer an extensive array of gaming options.

Diverse Selection of Casino Games:

One of the key factors contributing to the widespread appeal of online casino games in Canada is the vast selection available. There are hundreds of top casino games online, covering every genre imaginable. From classic table games like poker and blackjack to immersive slot machines with captivating themes, Canadian players have a plethora of options to choose from.

The Rise of Online Slots:

Among the various casino games, online slots have witnessed a significant surge in popularity. The ease of gameplay and the potential for substantial payouts make slots a preferred choice for both seasoned players and newcomers. With themes ranging from ancient civilisations to popular movies and TV shows, online slots offer a diverse and engaging experience for players of all preferences.

Convenience and Accessibility:

The accessibility of online casino games is a key driver behind their growing popularity in Canada. Players no longer need to travel to a physical casino to experience the thrill of gambling. Instead, they can enjoy their favourite games with just a few clicks on their computer or mobile device. This convenience has opened up the world of online gambling to a broader audience, attracting both seasoned gamblers and those trying their luck for the first time.

Technology Advancements:

Advancements in technology have played a pivotal role in enhancing the online casino gaming experience. High-quality graphics, realistic sound effects, and seamless gameplay contribute to an immersive environment that mirrors the excitement of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. Additionally, the integration of live dealer games brings an authentic touch to online gaming, allowing players to interact with real dealers in real-time.

Regulatory Environment:

The regulatory environment in Canada has also contributed to the popularity of online casino games. While each province has its own regulations, the overall legal framework allows for a thriving online gambling industry. This has given rise to reputable online casinos that prioritise player safety and adhere to strict industry standards, ensuring a fair and secure gaming environment.

Social Aspect and Community Engagement:

Online casinos in Canada are not just about individual gameplay; they also provide a platform for social interaction. Many online casinos feature chat rooms and community forums where players can connect, share experiences, and discuss strategies. This sense of community adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the gaming experience, making online casinos a social activity beyond the solitary pursuit of winning.

The popularity of online casino games in Canada is undoubtedly on the rise, driven by a combination of diverse gaming options, convenience, technological advancements, and a favourable regulatory environment. With a wide array of top casino games available at their fingertips, Canadians can indulge in the excitement of gambling from the comfort of their homes. As the online casino industry continues to evolve, it’s clear that virtual gaming is here to stay and will likely continue to captivate audiences across the country.

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Features

Life in Israel four months after October seventh

Orly & Solly Dreman

By ORLY DREMAN

(Special to the JP&N) Feb. 1, 2024

In every news broadcast that we hear that “The IDF spokesman is permitted to announce”… then every person in Israel sits down, holds their breath and waits to hear the names of the soldiers fallen in action that day. This causes deep sadness to every family in Israel. For example, I found out the son of my T.V technician was killed and my handyman’s son was seriously injured. Death in Israel is so personal.

Our synagogue recently mourned twenty seven year old Inbar Heiman who was kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music nature party on October seventh and was murdered in captivity. She was a gifted young woman filled with love and compassion. She was a creative artist that was supposed to enter her senior year at university this academic year. We had prayed and wished that she would return until her family received the tragic news of her death.

When we made personal medical visits to the Hadassah hospital, we often heard helicopters overhead bringing in wounded soldiers from Gaza. In the surgery department we saw a reserve soldier being released after six weeks in the hospital. His wife and newborn baby were with him. The department had a touching farewell gathering with Israeli flags, music and cakes. This is how every soldier who leaves the hospital is treated. More than fourteen thousand civilians and soldiers were hospitalized since October seventh with most of the injuries being in the hands and legs, burns, head and eye injuries.

We seldom are in the mood to go to a restaurant these days, but if we do, such outings are accompanied by guilt feelings. Is it right to go when our people are suffering?- the hostages are starving. We all wear the metal disc that says “Bring Them Home now- Our hearts are captured in Gaza”. They occupy our thoughts pervasively. Some of the hostages have suffered untreated gunshot wounds and the hygiene conditions are poor, many of them not showering for four months, sitting thirty meters under the ground in dark tunnels, with no electricity and suffering from extreme malnutrition. Some of them have diseases like Celiac, Asthma, Colitis, Diabetes, Fibromialgia, heart diseases and allergies. They are getting no medications and time is running out for them. Twenty five of them have already perished. What sort of civil society will we be if we abandon them?

Whole families are recruited for combat duty in different areas of the country. It might be a brother and a sister fighting in Gaza or a father in Judea and Samaria while another brother is fighting on the Lebanese border. If you ask soldiers who have lost their siblings in combat if they wish to go back to fight after the shiva, they do not hesitate, even though it is so hard on the parents. This demonstrates the dedication of Israeli citizens and their wish to complete the task of exterminating the Hamas, while at the same time knowing their family member did not die in vain. The grief is intergenerational and we are even acquainted with grandparents whose grandchildren are in combat and they are given the opportunity to go to workshops that help them with their anxiety.

In a Knesset Committee it was recently reported That many survivors from the Nova party have taken their own lives. Others continue to experience the trauma of the horrific events. They cannot sleep nor eat. Many were sexually abused and even though they were not murdered they continue to experience the pain- the sights, voices- cries for help and the fear. They are in a sense also fighters who awaken to a new existence everyday and continue to fight for their existence.

At the military cemeteries there is one funeral process after another and the families are asked to leave the site to make room to prepare for the next funeral. Wounded soldiers arrive in ambulances, on hospital beds or wheelchairs in order to eulogize their fallen comrades.

The reservists who return home after months of combat are having troubles adjusting because this war, like the War of Independence, is very meaningful. It is the most justified war our homeland has encountered. Upon their return there is a big downfall in physical and mental energy. A stranger cannot understand this. These soldiers were disconnected from normal civilian routine for a long time and they had difficult and intimate experiences with their combat mates. They have lost friends and did not have time to mourn. They must release the stress they were exposed to. They are back in body but not always in spirit. They also might be recruited again in the near future to the southern or the northern front, the war is not over. Many men who were injured worry about their future fertility and sexual functioning.

They entertain such existential thoughts as would it be better that I am killed in action before I have children and leave no descendants, or losing my life and leaving behind orphans. Dozens of children remain orphaned from both parents. They also have witnessed their family members being murdered and their homes burned down. Years ago, Solly treated and did a follow up on a family where both parents were murdered in a terrorist attack. Even though the children were adopted by loving relatives they suffered from survivor guilt and this expressed itself in such phenomena as dropping out of school, turning into juvenile delinquents and having trouble in intimate relations.

The evacuees from the south and the north are dispersed in hundreds of hotels in the center of the country. Hence, they have no permanent home, have no privacy and many have no work, nothing to do for months on end and experience feelings of powerlessness. Some pupils are not capable of returning to their temporary schools because of anxieties, depression and fear. Some teenagers have turned to drugs and alcohol which increases violence and vandalism. For them school is experienced as a waste of time. Their friends were murdered, some still have relatives in captivity and everything is falling apart. They also experience sleep disruptions and are in no mood to study. For them life is a living hell. Some families are moved from city to city several times. The children do not have friends in the new locations and they feel lonely and express a lack of social support.

In the realm of parenting many mothers even those who were NOT directly exposed to the dramatic events reported that their children cry more (eighty three percent). Others say the children have difficulties sleeping (seventy three percent), have concentration problems (fifty four percent) and many children are developing eating disorders. In sixty percent the anxiety of the children is so high it hurts functioning. For example, they are often afraid to leave the house. Other disturbances were reported such as bed-wetting, insisting on sleeping with their parents and acts of anger and aggression.

We, as Israelis are also concerned with our Jewish brethren who are experiencing thousands of antisemitic incidents, higher than the number of all incidents in the last decade. There are many Jews in the diaspora who are considering emigration to Israel after experiencing antisemitic events such as seeing their synagogue, Hebrew school, kosher butcher and other Jewish businesses being stoned and burned. For them Israel is their safest haven.

On a more optimistic note the Jewish people have prevailed over thousands of years despite terrible events. In spite of the uncertainty not everything is lost. We are united and strong. The soldiers are full of motivation and good values. I firmly believe that if we are patient and persist, the Jewish people and the state of Israel will prevail.

Orly Dreman is a 10th generation Israeli. Her cousin, Ruvi Rivlin, was a former president of Israel. Orly’s father was a diplomat who served both in North America and in Europe.
By profession Orly is an English teacher. She has dealt with children suffering from ADD.
Since childhood, Orly has been involved in voluntary work with the disabled, the challenged, new immigrants, the elderly and others. 

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Features

The Critical Job Roles in Online Business

More companies than ever are embracing remote working. As of 2023, around 16% of businesses have a fully remote working model, with many more adopting a hybrid one. All of this should come as welcome news to anyone looking for a better work-life balance. As well as saying goodbye to grueling commutes, remote employees can embrace lucrative salary packages, generous benefits, and more. Ready to reap the benefits of online work yourself? Below are just a handful of remote working opportunities to consider.

Video Game and Casino Platform Development

Whether it’s creating Canadian online slots for real money casinos or an open-world epic, great games need talented developers. Thankfully, this is one sector where the typical rules of the 9-5 don’t apply. In the US, an experienced game developer can expect to take home around $103,000 annually. For a midweight casino games developer, a starting salary of around $65,000 is fairly respectable.

Software Engineering

If you have a background in software engineering, you’re in luck. Currently, it’s one of the highest-paid online roles around, with an average salary of $108,000. There’s no one size-fits-all remit for a software engineer, but typical roles include designing applications, testing, and creating system upgrades.

UX Design

User experience is becoming increasingly important as companies strive to make their digital products more accessible. Unsurprisingly, there’s a high demand for user experience designers, with many positions now advertised as remote-first roles. You’ll need to have sufficient software and development experience to excel here. What’s more, you’ll need to work closely with clients to meet the needs of the consumer. If you think you could do well in a role like this, expect an annual salary in the region of $97,000.

Web Design

One role you’ll never struggle to find is that of a web designer. It’s a pretty broad field, so expect a lot of disparity when it comes to job remits and starting salaries. At a minimum, a web designer worth their salt should be able to create accessible websites for a wide range of clients. You’ll also need to be familiar with coding languages and testing. Less experienced web designers can expect to command a starting salary of around $43,000. If you’ve been working professionally for more than a few years and have a solid portfolio to back you up, you can easily negotiate twice that amount.

Entry-Level Online Roles

For digital natives, remote working will come as second nature. Don’t have the skills to land a web designer or developer job? Not to worry. There are an increasing number of entry-level remote roles out there.

Customer service roles are readily available, with positions to cater to all experience levels. At the bottom rung of the ladder, you might be tasked with making sales calls or resolving complaints from customers. A customer service agent can comfortably make around $40-50,000 a year. If you operate on a commission basis or can take advantage of a generous bonus scheme, you could easily double this annually.

Is Remote Working Here To Stay?

Even as many businesses encourage workers back to the office, there’s an deniable upward trend in the number of remote and hybrid-only roles on the job market. Video conferencing technology and collaboration tools are making it easier than ever for remote teams to remain connected. Meanwhile, company executives are finding it hard to argue with significantly reduced overheads and increased productivity.

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