Hitler’s Slaves  

“You don’t believe in Death!”

“You don’t believe in Death! ” my mother said in a moment of piquancy during our customary game of thrust and parry whenever it came to trying to unearth her war-time secrets. The sheer force of her personality. The power of that voice. And her…

“She was like the proverbial Wandering Jew…”

That summer’s night in ’48, the steam driven train announced its approach to the prairie town with a long, sustained whine. You could hear that horn all the way from  the previous whistle stop,  six miles down the track. And that’s God’s truth. Twilight draped…

I used to dream I could fly.

I used to dream I could fly. A spirited run, a leap into the air, and the wind-milling of arms would send me skimming over the telephone poles that lined the gravel streets and wooden sidewalks of Netherhill, Saskatchewan.  Then, it was simply a matter…

It was the time of whispers.

It was the time of whispers. The 1930’s. The rest of the world was focused on a stock market crash, the Depression, and a young Bing Crosby who was taking the US musical scene by storm with his dreamy, “Pennies from Heaven”. But in the…

“Be tender with her history!”

“Be tender with her history,” the phrase rings in my ears on our final days of an extraordinary  film shoot penetrating the Russian heart of the Ural Mountains, a part of the world cut off from the west for most of the last century.  Over…

“Be careful where you dig, you may find worms.”

My Russian mother’s words come back to me from the grave as I board Aeroflot Flight Number 115 from Toronto to Moscow. We are about to begin shooting the first scenes of a feature length documentary by interviewing my 89 year old aunt who lives…

Ten days on the edge of Siberia, what mysteries will unravel?

Time seems to stand still in this place straddling the European and Asian borders of Russia. Lenin has been stripped of his pedestals in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. But five hours to the east, ‘He’ remains a sentinel to an industrial city…

“Don’t cry for me, my daughter…I lived through some hellish times, but no one got the best of me.”

  It would be the last interview. On my mother’s 84th birthday, I ambushed her with a television camera at her apartment in Calgary, Alberta, downplaying the invasion of lights, cables, and microphones, as “some friends popping by.” She looked at me, and, drolly asked,…