It’s a story you won’t forget and one that Muskoka is still recovering from.
On the evening of August 8th, at the first of two upcoming appearances, Author Debbie Vadas Levison will speak about her book ‘The Crate: A Story of War, a Murder and Justice’ at the Oakley Village Square in Vankoughnet.
The work draws parallels between a horrific crime that was first discovered at the author’s Wood Lake cottage - the death and subsequent Samantha Collins Murder Trial - and the Holocaust experiences of her parents.
It was in the aftermath of the discovery of Collins’ body at the cottage that Levison first decided to write the book… (First portion of above audio)
Deborah was in Florida at the time and still remembers getting the call from her brother who gently told her “to sit down.”
He had discovered a wooden crate hidden in the crawl space beneath the family cottage which had been tightly nailed shut.
No one could have been prepared for the horror which it revealed…. (2nd portion of above audio)
Deborah soon discovered how the events would affect her parents, who had both survived the Holocaust.
Levison says the crime dredged up their memories of WWII and that they had never expected to encounter that kind of extreme violence again in their lives, especially at a refuge and haven where they had traditionally felt safe – the family cottage.
Levison also felt strong empathy for Samantha Collins’ family, and, in short, she says she never expected she'd end up writing such an emotional story.
Since its publication, she says the experience has been extremely gratifying however, especially for the Holocaust survivor community.
To this day she says she still gets emails from people who have read the book and who have seen the commonalities it contains to their own stories.
“People seem to be able to pull out all these threads in the book, so it’s been really, really rewarding,” she says.
The family still own the cottage and Levison says the memory of the events which transpired there will always remain in memory.
“In my family, we are used to having a shadow, if you will,” she says. “I think we all realize that in life not everything is rosy – I think we’re certainly a family that recognises that. It may not be as innocently enjoyable as it once was, but I think we all know how really meaningful the cottage is to our family.”
To learn more about the Crate and the story, visit Levison’s website at https://debbielevison.com/author/
She will also be speaking about the book at the Gravenhurst Public Library on Friday, August 9th between noon and 1 pm.