I've been trying to decide which story to tell.

They're all so intriguing, twisting and turning.
But I'll bet you've got a new one for me. Unique and surprising.
Should we follow it together?
Just to see where it leads.

Gina Roitman

Gina Roitman is an award-winning writer, biographer, and writing coach. When she isn't busy foraging for words to fill the page, she might be found wandering the woods behind her house, or else listening to you.

Gina's written works include a short story collection: Tell Me a Story, Tell Me the Truth and the biography: Midway to China and Beyond. Her latest work is a literary thriller, the novel: Don't Ask.

Her poetry, essays and short stories have seen publication in anthologies and magazines, including The New Spice Box, Wherever I Find Myself, Poetica, Moment, and carte-blanche, and several documentaries have aired on CBC Radio.

In 2013, Gina was the subject and co-producer of the award-winning documentary film: My Mother, the Nazi Midwife and Me, which aired on CBC's DOC Channel for two years.

As a writing coach, Gina has led a number of memoir writing workshops for the Quebec Writers' Federation and for The Generations After, Washington, DC.

For inquiries about scheduling a speaking engagement or Gina’s coaching services, please visit the Contact page.

Original Work

Don't Ask

On the day her mother disappeared, Hannah read the last note Rokhl would leave her. It said, I am not her.

Hannah Baran is 45, a successful Montreal real estate broker with a highly lucrative client who, like her parents, is a Holocaust survivor. One day, she arrives late to bring her mother to a doctor's appointment but Rokhl is gone, leaving behind a mystifying note. Throughout Hannah's life, Rokhl's notes have been all the guidance she receives from a laconic, distant mother, a foil to Hannah's voluble father who rescued Rokhl from Auschwitz. One night, Hannah announces that she must travel to Germany on business, Rokhl threatens that if Hannah goes it would be over her dead body. Three days later, Hannah finds her missing mother in the morgue. Left behind is a confessional letter—the story of Rokhl's life filled with loss, betrayal, and guilt.

A triumph.  Don't Ask is one of the best explorations of the human cost of being a Holocaust survivor. Told in two voices: a shattered mother and her yearning daughter, and spanning half a decade, the sheer poignancy of Rokhl's story of shame and loss will linger long after you close the cover…Meticulous research, beautifully crafted, utterly engaging.

Susan Doherty, author of A Secret Music and The Ghost Garden

Guernica Editions

Indigo Amazon Barnes and Noble

Praise for Don't Ask

Carefully and generously layered, Roitman’s novel, outwardly labelled as a literary thriller, is a powerful story of a daughter dealing with her mother’s death while reckoning with a family past so traumatic its truth is haunted by history.

Sharon Morrisey, Montreal Review of Books, Summer 2022

Once you turn the final page of Gina Roitman’s DON’T ASK, there’s a good chance you’ll remain sitting in place, reflecting on the story you’ve just read... Roitman’s unique accomplishment is to create a Holocaust novel with two compelling mysteries and a love story at its core…I’d be surprised if DON’T ASK doesn’t become a book club favorite. I recommend it without reservation. Fact is, I can’t get it out of my head.

Michael Libling, Hollywood North

Don’t Ask is (Roitman’s) first novel, and she steps into the form with assurance. She knows when and how to deploy the details that speak volumes about a character …and how to place those details within a narrative that conveys the sweep of history. Holocaust fiction is a genre unto itself, but Roitman has found a new way into the subject, channeling its horror and ultimately offering a way forward.

Ian McGillis, The Montreal Gazette June 11, 2022

…such a fine book. Rokhl’s story, in particular, broke my heart, but it needed telling. Sometimes it falls on us as writers to do what society at large doesn’t do. To tell. You’ve done your duty well with this book.

Rona Altrows, At This Juncture

I've just finished reading Don't Ask and enjoyed it immensely. I couldn't put it down and found it very moving.

Rita Pomade, Seeker, a Sea Odyssey

This mesmerizing, often suspenseful, emotionally rich novel explores the scars carried by Holocaust survivors and how these scars, often unexpressed, are felt by their children. Yet, out of this pain, Hannah finds her way to love and hope for a better future. Highly recommended.

Irene Witting, All That Lingers

Harrowing and yet entertaining, Gina Roitman’s beautifully written novel kept me reading until the end. What a story. She played to the full scale of my emotions - ranging from sadness (and yes, horror) to joy, and empathy for her protagonist. Gina blends an intriguing contemporary love story with a mind-bending mystery and historical first-person accounts of the Holocaust.

Christine Potter, The Choirboy and the Bellydancer

This is a powerful, painful and beautiful tale... Beautifully woven through the story are the issues of redemption for the German people and forgiveness by the Jews.

Rachel Miller, co-author of Diagnosis: Schizophrenia

Don’t Ask is a captivating and beautifully written thriller that intertwines history, family drama and a love story. Just loved this book!

Diane Foreman

Congratulations on such a riveting and empathetic story.

Dr. Susan Eischeid, Valdosta State University

Original Work

Tell Me a Story, Tell Me the Truth

That's how we lived, surrounded by ghosts. They sat at the table while we ate our Sunday meal. They lay beside us in the bed as we slept…

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Leah lives in a world trapped between two solitudes. An outsider, she belongs neither to her parent's painful generation nor to her own; freshly minted in the freedoms and contradictions of Montreal in the 1950s and 60s. Growing up in a community of immigrants forever bound to the past, Leah tests the boundaries of her independence.

This collection of nine linked stories takes us through her rebellions, loves found and lost, and the pain of being helpless in the face of irreparable circumstances.

Chapters Indigo Amazon Renaud-Bray Second Story Press

Collaboration

Midway to China and Beyond

I consider myself a lucky man. I have been lucky with four things in my life — I had good parents, a good family; I've got good friends, and for the most part quite a life, filled with a world of interesting people and exotic places.

As told to Gina Roitman over more than 60 hours of taped sessions, Canadian businessman and born storyteller, Gary Bromberg, shares his insightful, humorous views on what doing business with China was like during the late 60s through to the 2000s.

Bromberg has always ascribed his success to the many mentors in his life. It is why he chose to share these stories and observations about business and cultures, in the hope they might help someone else along the way.

Amazon

Film

My Mother, the Nazi Midwife and Me

War is an unimaginable horror, rife with atrocities that defy human comprehension.

But after war is over and order is restored, does hatred disappear? My Mother, the Nazi Midwife and Me is a compelling, hour-long documentary that unearths a chilling story time has almost buried – the systematic murder of 57 Jewish babies in an American Zone DP camp years after the war.

Growing up in Montreal, Gina does not believe the obsessive story her mother, Sula, recounts about not trusting the doctors in the DP (displaced persons) camp where she had married Benzion Miedwiecki. There were too many dead babies, she claimed, and so insisted on giving birth outside the camp. Convinced her mother is paranoid after what she suffered in the war; Gina ignores the stories until years following her mother's death. After a startling encounter with a Nazi whistle blower, Gina is lured back to Passau, Germany – her birthplace, and the town Hitler once called home.

www.nazimidwife.com

Testimonials

“I want to especially thank Gina Roitman for her endless patience listening to all of my stories and anecdotes over the course of months. These stories were told to her in a random order - a stream of consciousness. She had to find a way to put them into a meaningful sequence, and in a context that would make sense to the reader. We had some very good laughs and what a job she did..."

Gary Bromberg, Midway to China and Beyond

"A special thank you to my final editor, Gina Roitman, who worked to marshal the most important narratives of my writing to produce this cohesive and comprehensive story of my life."

Sidney Zoltak, My Silent Pledge: A Journey of Struggle, Survival and Remembrance

"Gina is a gifted short story editor. First of all, she knows how to help the writer make characters come alive and sees the details that can be enhanced to make a story sing. She also has good ideas about how to make the narrative line of the story hold the reader."

Sheila Arnopoulos, Jackrabbit Moon

“Gina is also an exceptional teacher. During the QWF workshop, I witnessed the positive impact she had on our group. She listened attentively to our concerns and offered practical solutions, showed empathy for our experiences and built a strong bond with each and every one of us. She reminded us that we are courageous and should not give up on our writing capabilities.”

Elisa Montecalvo, Three Strikes and I'm Still Standing

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