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Paul Zilsel

Paul was born in Vienna, Austria. His father, Edgar, was an historian and sociologist of science, a member of the Vienna Circle and a teacher at Vienna Peopleís University. His mother, Ella, taught English and German literature. At the onset of the Nazi occupation in 1938, Paul fled to England along with other Jewish children. He and his parents ultimately obtained refugee status in the United States, although other family members perished in the Holocaust Ė something that haunted Paul always. Left Bank Books

He obtained a PhD in theoretical physics from Yale University, and spent many years thereafter teaching at universities in the U.S., Israel and Canada.

In 1973 he co-founded Left Bank Books in Seattle, Washington.

Paul loved music, art, literature, good food and drink. He spoke many languages, had an exceptional breadth and depth of knowledge and a terrific sense of humor.

A deep yearning to understand the world, coupled with a lifelong commitment to make it a better place, are the two themes that essentially defined him. He was a superb, inspirational teacher, capable of distilling the most complex ideas to a form that anyone could understand.

A courageous social activist, he was never afraid to speak his mind and act on his beliefs. He refused to testify against others when called upon to do so by HUAC during the McCarthy era witch-hunt, but presented the committee with an eloquent argument justifying his stand. Paul was arrested many times during civil rights and anti-war demonstrations in the U.S., and traveled internationally as a member of various peace-keeping teams. Peace in the Middle East, with full justice for Palestinians, was especially important to him.

Paul moved to Gibsons in 1998 following a serious head injury, from which he never fully recovered.

He died at home, as he wished, surrounded by family.

He leaves behind his daughter Joanna Zilsel and grandsons Daniel Zilsel and Noah Sobolewski, who lived with and cared for him during the last eight years of his life; daughter Carrie Zadrazil and grandsons Matthew Sipress, Neal (Karen) Sipress and Andre Zadrazil; daughter Brook Thorndycraft; first wife and lifelong friend Dori Tentchoff; dear friend and Brookís mother Lynne Thorndycraft; brother-in-law Ivan Tentchoff and his partner Evi Blueth; great-granddaughter Mina Roth- Sipress; caregiver-extraordinaire Vicki Schneider, and many friends across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

A celebration of Paulís life will be held on Sunday, July 30, at 3PM at the Pike Place Senior Center, where he was an active member in its early days. It is wheelchair accessible, and by that date it should be relocated in its new digs, in the LaSalle Building, across from Left Bank Books [founded on this date in 1973!].

Please join us with your memories and pictures. Bring food or drink as you wish.

Left Bank Books home page,

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