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'It's hard to imagine what she went through': Winnipeggers mourn Vivian Silver


People across the country are mourning the death of a Winnipeg-born peace activist who died during the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Family and friends of 74-year-old Vivian Silver held on to hope for five weeks that the Winnipeg-born peace activist was still alive after her kibbutz was attacked by Hamas in October.

“We went into the vortex of hope that she might have been abducted, that there was still hope that she was alive. And then, of course, that came crashing down,” lifelong friend Lynne Mitchell said in an interview with CP24.

Now, a DNA test revealed on Monday that Silver was killed during the initial attack.

Jeff Lieberman - the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and cousin-in-law to Silver - says she was well known in the city even decades after moving to Israel.

“They're such a good family and it’s so devastating for our community and you know for everyone,” Lieberman said. “It’s hard to imagine what she went through. And for such a good person who worked all of her life to do so much good for people. It’s really hard to imagine how she suffered at the end.”

Mitchell says Silver was a good listener and understood different points of view - something Mitchell credits to her Winnipeg upbringing.

“We did have an example of communities that could live together. I do believe that,” Mitchell said, “Vivian at her core was a person who believed in nonviolence. She believed that peace was the answer in the country where she lived.”

Silver used those skills to help ease tensions between Palestinians and Israelis - including by driving Palestinian children to doctor appointments beyond Gaza’s border.

Mitchell says her efforts for peace won’t be forgotten.

“The family has been through and her friends have been through the vortex of hope but now it’s gone so we have to look for hope elsewhere.”

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg will be organizing a memorial for Silver. Those details are still to come.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew shared a statement on Twitter saying his thoughts are with Silver’s family and community in Manitoba and Israel.

“I am saddened to learn of the murder of Vivian Silver by Hamas,” Kinew tweeted. “Her memory and pursuit of peace is a bright light we carry in our hearts during these dark times.” Top Stories

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