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Traces of What Was

Ten-year-old Steve Rotschild learns to hide, to be silent, to be still – and to wait. He knows the sound of the Nazis’ army boots and knows to hold his breath until their footsteps recede. Rotschild takes us on a captivating journey through his wartime childhood in Vilna, eloquently juxtaposing his past, furtive walks outside the ghetto with his long, liberating walks through Toronto fifty years after the war. Vividly evoking his experiences, this story of survival and a mother’s tenacious love leaves the reader indelibly marked by Traces of What Was.

Introduction by Menachem Kaiser

At a Glance
Poland; Lithuania
Vilna ghetto
Labour camp
Arrived in Canada in 1956

144 pages, including index

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Steve Rotschild

About the author

Steve Rotschild was born in Vilna, Lithuania, in 1933. After the war, his mother remarried, and their new family immigrated to Israel. In 1956, Steve married Lillian in Montreal, where their two daughters were born. After moving to Phoenix, Arizona, for a few years, they made Toronto their final home. Steve wrote several short stories and painted wilderness scenes throughout his lifetime. He also enjoyed fishing in Algonquin Park, using lures that he crafted himself. Steve Rotschild passed away in 2020.

Explore this story in Re:Collection

It was at the end of March 1944, on a cool, bright and sunny day, the beginning of spring, the time of renewal of life, that the SS came to take the children.