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Ella Burakowski

Ella Burakowski

Ella Burakowski was born to Holocaust survivors, Shoshana Gold and Fishl Burakowski, who met after the war in Foehrenwald, a displaced person's camp in Germany.  Together they smuggled on an Aliyah Bet ship to make a new life for themselves in Israel. Ella and her older sister Sarah, were born in Israel. In 1959, when Ella was two years old, her family moved to Toronto where Ella grew up. Ella’s mother died when she was 14 years old, long before she ever had the opportunity of knowing her mother’s harrowing story of survival. Ella felt compelled to write Hidden Gold while her uncle David Gold, was still able to describe their family’s terrifying struggle during the Holocaust. As a second-generation survivor, Ella is aware that she is a unique link to the past and the future. She speaks to audiences of all ages, about her family’s story in the hopes of teaching and influencing for the better, the next generations. Today Ella lives with her husband of 38 years, Marshall Cohen, in a North Toronto home. She recently retired after working 41 years as a the Operations Manager at The Canadian Jewish News (The CJN) where she also published a monthly advice column since 1995.



Hidden Gold. Second Story Press, 2015
Ask Ella. The Canadian Jewish News, 1995-present


Ontario Library Assoc - Forest of Reading - Red Maple non-fiction nominee, 2017
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

2017 Forest of Reading - Red Maple non-fiction nominee for
Hidden Gold, A True Story of the Holocaust.
Regular columnist for The Canadian Jewish News.

Ella is a second-generation survivor, whose mother and father both suffered through the Holocaust. Ella’s mother died when she was 14 years old, before she could share her story. Ella’s uncle David Gold, her mother’s brother, was able to describe their family’s terrifying struggle during the Holocaust. Ella feels that she is a unique link to the past and the future.

Ella has done presentations for children in one classroom, as well as presenting to the entire intermediate division of a school. She does presentations for adults and has spoken at libraries, book clubs, women’s groups and seniors’ residences where other Holocaust survivors were present.

Presentation Length:
40 minutes + question/answer period - total 1 hour
Historical Non-Fiction, specifically the Holocaust
6 through High School
Audience Size:
Any size - minimum 25
Workshop Description:

Ella’s presentation includes two parts.

She discusses Hidden Gold by first reviewing the basics of the Holocaust and its historical significance, then segues into how the Holocaust directly affected her family. She also describes how their affliction affected her growing up. Her presentation includes a film,in which Ella’s uncle, David Gold recounts their harrowing story of near misses with death.

The second part of the presentation reviews how Ella went about writing Hidden Gold as narrative non-fiction.She explains the different elements involved in verifying and interlacing her family’s story with historical facts and scientific data. Finally, Ella discusses the emotions of her characters, her family, as they stared death in the face repeatedly.

A question and answer period follows the 40-minute presentation.

The presentation requires audio/visual availability, either by projector, smartboard or television. Ella brings her laptop and has most cabling for connections.

The presentation can be tailored for grades 6 through high school and there is a free Study Guide available on her website,, as well as on the Publisher’s website.