Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Collection

On January 23, 2023, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), the Azrieli Foundation and Penguin Random House Canada will release a collection of five audiobook memoirs by Holocaust survivors who came to Canada. Four of the titles in this collection are the first audiobooks narrated by Holocaust survivors themselves; the fifth title is narrated by acclaimed Jewish-Canadian actor Jake Epstein in place of the author, who passed away in 2020. These audiobooks commemorate and honour the legacies of those who died by sharing the stories of those who survived and are a powerful and moving way to learn about Holocaust history.

Please see below for a brief overview of each audiobook, along with headshots, cover images and biographies of each author.

Interview Opportunities

Four of our five authors are available for interviews. Additionally, we are happy to coordinate interviews with the following spokespeople:


Naomi Azrieli, OC, DPhil is Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation and is the publisher of the memoir series. Since 2004, she has been the strategic driver behind the Foundation’s philanthropic initiatives and has overseen its growth into the largest non-corporate foundation in Canada.

In her role, she creates numerous initiatives that bring people and institutions together to address challenges in science, health, education and community. She has created and launched several programs and partnerships, including the Azrieli Fellows Program, the CIFAR Azrieli Future Leaders Program, the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence and the award-winning Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program.


Jody Spiegel is the Director of the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program at the Azrieli Foundation. Hired at the inception of the Toronto office in 2005, Jody launched several exceptional projects. In her current role, Jody has worked with her team to produce over 122 survivor stories. She is the Executive Producer of Re:Collection, an interactive experience that invites users to explore the first-hand accounts of Holocaust survivors and the Azrieli Series of Short Films, which features stories and animated excerpts from memoirs written by Canadian Holocaust survivors.

Across Canada and internationally, Jody is a writer, guest speaker and panelist on the role of best practices in Holocaust education, memory and storytelling, Holocaust distortion and the future of Holocaust education without survivors. Jody has been a Canadian delegate of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) since 2014, representing Canadian expertise in areas of pedagogy, first person accounts and the Holocaust distortion in the classroom. Jody sits on the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial. In 2022, she chaired the Education Working Group of the IHRA.


Overview of Memoirs


Memories in Focus - Chapter 5

MP3 - 25 Mb

Memories in Focus - Final Thoughts

MP3 - 2.7 Mb

About the Memoir:

Ten-year-old Pinchas Gutter is separated from his parents and twin sister when they are deported from the Warsaw ghetto to the killing site of Majdanek. As Pinchas is sent on to a series of concentration camps, he shuts himself off to the terrors surrounding him and tries his best not to be noticed — to become almost invisible. After liberation, his photographic memory won’t let his past fade away, and Pinchas struggles to deal with nightmares and flashbacks while raising a family and trying to heal his emotional scars. As he journeys from England to France, Israel, Brazil and South Africa, Pinchas searches for belonging before finding his true home in Canada. A poignant reflection on suffering, injustice and trauma, Memories in Focus offers hope and faith in the future.

About the Author:

Born in Lodz, Poland, on July 21, 1932, Pinchas Gutter was the only member of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust. In 1945, he was liberated and taken to Britain. Pinchas lived in France, Israel, Brazil and South Africa before immigrating to Canada in 1985. He is the first Holocaust survivor to be immortalized in an interactive three-dimensional projection in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony. Pinchas lives in Toronto.


Flights of Spirit - Chapter 1

MP3 - 4.4 Mb

About the Memoir:

Sixteen-year-old Elly Gotz hides with his family in an underground bunker in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania, prepared to die rather than be found by the Nazis. After surviving nearly three years in the ghetto, where thousands from the Jewish community have been murdered, Elly and his family refuse to be the Nazis’ next victims. But there is no escape from the liquidation of the ghetto in the summer of 1944, and Elly and his father are taken to Kaufering, a brutal subcamp of the notorious Dachau concentration camp. After the war, as his family tries desperately to flee from Germany and their past, Elly is determined to regain his lost youth and education. Throughout his journey, Elly’s motivation and enterprising spirit drive him to succeed and to find strength in flight.

About the Author:

Elly Gotz was born in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, in 1928. In 1947, Elly and his parents immigrated to Norway and then to Zimbabwe. Elly immigrated to Toronto in 1964, where he established various businesses and achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. In 2017, at age 89, he fulfilled another aeronautical dream by going skydiving.


A Cry in Unison - Prologue

MP3 - 5.4 Mb

About the Memoir:

Judy Weissenberg is the mischievous and lively youngest child growing up in a large family in Debrecen, Hungary. But as the Nazis rise to power in Europe and anti-Jewish laws tear her family and community apart, Judy’s joyful youth becomes marred by fear and the hushed whispers of the adults around her. When Germany occupies Hungary in 1944, Judy’s world is shattered. One terrifying event follows another, and soon Judy is faced with the incomprehensible — Auschwitz-Birkenau. In the shadow of the gas chambers, she clings to her sisters and “camp sisters,” who are her only hope of enduring the miseries that are to come.

In A Cry in Unison, Holocaust survivor, educator and human rights activist Judy Weissenberg Cohen weaves her riveting story of survival with descriptions of the political and social forces that upended her life. Her voice is a powerful call to honour the unique experiences of women in the Holocaust and to refuse to be silent in the face of injustice.

About the Author:

Judy Weissenberg Cohen was born in Debrecen, Hungary, in 1928. She is an active speaker and Holocaust and human rights educator, and in 2001 she founded the website “Women and the Holocaust,” which collects testimony, literature and scholarly material exploring the specific gender-based experiences of women in the Holocaust. Judy lives in Toronto.


Escape from the Edge - Prologue

MP3 - 3.0 Mb

About the Memoir:

Narrow escapes and bold decisions define the life of teenager Morris Schnitzer. Fleeing from Nazi Germany before the onset of the Second World War. Morris ends up in the Netherlands only to watch the country be invaded by the Nazis. With his father’s warning to never set foot in a concentration camp echoing in his mind, Morris resolves to fight — and survive. As he assumes false identities and crosses endless borders in search of safety, Morris never succumbs to the Nazi occupiers in Western Europe. In his epic journey to Escape from the Edge, Morris endures imprisonment and gruelling work as a farmhand, joins the resistance in Belgium and enlists in the American army, vowing to take revenge for all he has lost.

About the Author:

Morris Schnitzer was born in Bochum, Germany in 1922. In 1947, he immigrated to Montreal, where he earned a BSc and MSc at McGill University, going on to earn his PhD in 1955. In Ottawa, Morris worked at the Canadian government’s Department of Agriculture as a principal researcher in the chemistry of soil organic matter. He won the prestigious Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 1995 and wrote three books and more than 400 scientific papers over the course of his distinguished career. Morris passed away in Ottawa in 2020.

Escape From The Edge is narrated by Canadian-Jewish actor Jake Epstein.


About the Memoir:

“Goodbye my children! When you leave, don't look back…”

With these last words from their mother, two little girls, Marguerite and her older sister will begin a wandering that will last two years. Equipped with new identities, they must cut themselves off from everything that constitutes their familiar universe. Led from farms to convents, they learn to keep quiet, to pretend, to lie, to adapt, and to keep hope against all odds. In Hiding offers us rare and poignant insight into a young child’s view of her world at war.

About the Author:

Marguerite Élias Quddus was born in Paris, France, in 1936. In 1965, Marguerite immigrated to Canada, first to Vancouver and then to Quebec, where she became a volunteer teacher’s aide. Marguerite lives near Montreal, where she is extremely active in giving talks about her wartime experiences.

Cachée / In Hiding is recorded and available in both French and English. The English recording is narrated by Theresa Tova.

For all media inquiries, please contact:

Danielle Filler

Craft Public Relations






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