Montreal Girl Bears Witness to Holocaust With Podcast Interviews of Survivors

Eliane Goldstein interviews Holocaust survivor Johnny Jablon, in Montreal, Canada.

June 29, 2021

Eliane Goldstein, a 13-year-old girl from Montreal, Canada, is interviewing Holocaust survivors for a new podcast that she started as a bat mitzvah project.

Elaine, told the Montreal Gazette, “If people don’t start learning about it, the Holocaust will be forgotten.”

At Eliane’s synagogue, Congregation Dorshei Emet, bar and bat mitzvah candidates are asked to create Judaism-related projects that benefit the community

This is how Eliane’s podcast, “The Effect on Us,” was born. 

The purpose of the podcast, she said, was to show the effects of the Holocaust both on survivors and later generations, and “not to let history repeat itself.”

A 2019 poll found a startling lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among Canadians. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, around half could not name a single Nazi concentration camp and most did not know that six million Jews were killed. Among millennials, around a quarter of respondents were not sure they had heard of the Holocaust.

Before beginning her podcast endeavor, Eliane was already well familiar with the Holocaust, as it had affected her own family, including some of her great-grandparents.

Through the interviews, Eliane said, “I learned a lot more about how people got through it [and] it helped me to understand the impact.” 

Most of Eliane’s interviewees live in the Montreal area, but Zoom also enabled her to speak with Holocaust survivors from as far away as Israel and Australia. 

The stories the survivors told Eliane were remarkable. Some, such as Montreal resident Mila Sandberg-Mesner, were hidden by non-Jews. Others escaped Nazi-occupied countries to freedom, such Australian Linda Royal, whose grandparents fled Lithuania with a transit visa granted to them by the heroic late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara.

Currently, Elaine has posted ten episodes of the 19 comprising the first season of “The Effect on Us.” She plans to take a break this summer, before possibly moving the podcast in a different direction in the future. 

Elaine said that her interviews “really opened my eyes to what people went through and the ripple effect as the war comes down ever them — and on people generations later.”

“The Effect on Us” podcast is available here: podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-effect-on-us-eliane-goldsteins-podcast/id1572070886