Cypora Lev is living proof that new stories from the Holocaust continue to be discovered and told to new audiences more than 70 years after the Nazi's military defeat ended the regime's systematic murder of six million Jews.
Lev, 69, of Montreal was born in March 1946 in a refugee camp in southern Italy, where thousands of traumatized Jewish refugees had gathered to wait for the chance to emigrate to British-controlled Palestine, today's Israel.
Her parents, Miriam Cukierman and Moshe Altman, were among the only members of their families to survive the Nazi's ruthless extermination campaign in their hometown of Czestochowa, Poland.
Cukierman survived by pretending to be a Christian; Altman, an engineer, survived the war in a forced labour camp.
They met on the day after the Russians liberated the city in January 1945 and married in Romania while on a six-month trek across war-ravaged Europe. In southern Italy, to their astonishment and relief, they found hospitality, compassion and warmth.
"I never stopped hearing about the wonderful people of Santa Maria di Leuca: their joie de vivre, their kindness, their generosity," says Lev, who will be in Ottawa on Sunday to help launch Carleton University's new Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship, the first of its kind in the city.