Contributed photo

An unsolved family history mystery author visits Kelowna

UBCO hosts award-winning author who writes about Holocaust-era secret

There are certain things about our families that we know as fact. But what happens when what we thought we knew turns out to be only partly true?

This is the question author Julija Šukys struggled with when she began to write about a well-known, albeit dramatic, family history of her grandparents who were forcibly separated during the Second World War and not reunited for 25 years.

The family story is of a proud people forced from their homeland by soldiers. In mid-June 1941, three Red Army soldiers arrested Šukys’ grandmother and sent her to Siberia where she spent 17 years working on a collective farm, separated from her children and husband. The family story maintained that it was all a terrible mistake, according to a UBCO release.

But when Šukys began digging into letters, oral histories, audio recordings and KGB documents, her research soon revealed a shattering Holocaust-era secret—a family connection to the killing of 700 Jews in a small Lithuanian border town. According to KGB documents, the man in charge when those massacres took place was Šukys’ grandfather.

Šukys will discuss this captivating story, and examine what happens when family truths become fiction and how forgiveness operates across generations and the barriers of life and death, said the release.

Join the discussion at this free, public event presented by UBC Okanagan. Register at Eventbrite. Šukys’ book Siberian Exile will be available for purchase from the UBC Bookstore at the event, Feb. 8 at the Okanagan Regional Library on Ellis Street.

This event is organized by the Remembering and Commemorating Trauma Research Cluster, a cross-disciplinary group of UBC scholars interested in the impact of traumatic events and in exploring ways in which our responses to trauma can be used to heal, reconcile and empower, said the release.

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna students awarded for their heritage research

The Okanagan Regional Heritage Fair was held April 24

Kelowna Civic and Community Awards announced

The winners were announced tonight at the Kelowna Community Theatre

Kelowna dragon welcomed to the den

Lane Merrifield is the new dragon on Dragons’ Den

Lake Country man facing assault charges

A woman was seriously injured after an alleged aggravated assault on April 22

State of emergency issued for Mill Creek

Risk of flooding increases as runoffs from higher elevations reach the valley bottom in Kelowna

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

NAFTA talks hold Foreign Affairs Minister in Washington, substitute heads to NATO summit

NAFTA talks keeping Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, sends substitute to NATO summit

Britain gives long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Deeds to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror signed over to Canada and Inuit Heritage Trust

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Three days after rampage, people still gathering at memorial to lay flowers and honour victims

Liberals urged to tax e-commerce services like Netflix

Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn’t increase taxes on online subscriptions

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Deadline passes for program aimed at laying foundation for universal child care

WATCH: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Someone asked her if she does the work for her son. McBain said: “No, actually. I do it for your son.”

Haley Blais tackles social norms through music tour

Haley Blais encourages people not to be discouraged by social norms and to be who they are

Been a long day? Here’s cute puppies in training

Group is training next batch of assistance dogs at Vancouver International Airport

Most Read