A letter from the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

Ruth Kron Sigal was a much beloved member of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre’s Survivor Outreach Program, which reaches thousands of students every year. Speakers like Ruth have been, and continue to be, our Centre’s most precious resource by engaging students in a way that cannot be matched. Holocaust survivors’ powerful first-hand accounts put a personal face to this dark history, which help students understand the long-term ramifications of extreme persecution and its relevance for today.
It is therefore with great pride that the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre has partnered with Keith Morgan, the co-author of Ruta’s Closet, to bring you this special first edition of the book that tells the compelling and inspirational story of Ruth, her family and the residents of the Shavl ghetto in Lithuania. Its messages are many and all are as important today as they were during the Holocaust.
For those of you who are new to our work, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre is an internationally recognized teaching museum promoting human rights, social justice and genocide awareness. It produces acclaimed teaching exhibits with direct links to the Canadian experience during and after the Holocaust. Many of these exhibits travel widely. The VHEC is the principal provider of Holocaust education in British Columbia, reaching over 25,000 students annually. It is a leader in online education and develops innovative teaching materials, which are available at www.vhec.org.
The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre also presents numerous public cultural programs and delivers the community-wide Holocaust commemorative events including Yom Hashoah, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Kristallnacht and Raoul Wallenberg Day. It publishes a newsletter, as well as Holocaust-related books and maintains a museum collection, archives and public library. The Centre was founded in 1994 by survivors of the Holocaust as a legacy to the citizens of British Columbia. It partners widely with diverse ethnic and cultural groups and has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards in recognition of its work.
This limited edition will be distributed to members of the Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society and through book stores throughout the region. By making the book widely available, we hope to further the legacy of Ruth’s work.
With great appreciation, we would like to thank the Kahn family, Lorne Segal, Zev Shafran and Ken Wosk, for their generous financial support of this publishing project and the companion website to be completed in the near future.
We do hope that you read and pass on your copy of Ruta’s Closet to family and friends and, by doing so, help spread Ruth Kron Sigal’s inspiring message.
Frieda Miller
Executive Director,
Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre
May 2011



The special first edition of Ruta’, published in cooperation with the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, and the book’s associated web-based youth education project, were produced with the generous financial support of the following people:
Leon (Of Blessed Memory), Evelyn, Mark, Hodie, Saul and Sheryl Kahn and family; Zev, Elaine, Hanna and Alexandra Shafran; Lorne, Mélita, Chanelle and Matthew Segal; Ken Wosk
Furthermore, Ruta`s Closet would not have been possible without the assistance of many people around the world, who generously gave of their time, offering valuable information and support for the project.
Deep gratitude is extended to Ruta`s rescuer Ona Ragauskas, now deceased; the Right Honourable Sir Martin Gilbert, the noted Holocaust historian and Winston Churchill’s official biographer; Saul Issroff, a Jewish genealogist; the late Leiba Lipshitz, Shavl ghetto`s unofficial historian; and Regina Kopilevich, who went well beyond her role as guide and interpreter in Lithuania.
The following people also contributed significantly: Sheila Barkusky, Christer Bergström, Giedre Beconyte, Aaron Breitbart, Simcha Brudno*, Ellen Cassidy, Coby Chorin, Rose Lerer Cohen, Mike Constandy, Michael Cooke, Bernhard Göepfrich, Ben Gotz, Masha Greenbaum, Curt & Inge Haase, Art Hister, Don Hunter, Riva Kahn- Kibaasky, Nathan Katz*, Rachel Kostanian, Dr. Robert Krell, Rachel Lapidus, formerly Peisachowitz, née Rauzuk *, William Levin*, Gene Luntz, Mike Miller, Shaya Moser*, Frank Myrskog, Bella Pace, née Peisachowitz, Jack Perlov, Jacob Reuveny, Anne Segall, Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz, David Schaffer, Craig Scott, Lorne Segal, Dov Shilanski, Cecil Sigal, Gerry Staley, Knut Stang, Saulius Suziedelis, Polina Toker, Yankl* & Ester Ton, formerly Ziv, Dominicus Valiunas, Paula Verbalinsky*, Fioretta Wilinofsky, Father Bill Wolkovich*, Sonia Zilberman-Wasserman, Markas Zingeris.
Thank you also to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, for research as¬sistance, support and encouragement.
Shortly after this manuscript was completed, co-author Ruth (Ruta) Kron Sigal died after a long fight with cancer. Her enthusiasm for the project was boundless and she passed away, thrilled to know that her important story would be told.
* Deceased