62 photographs : b&w and col. ; 10 x 15 cm or smaller
4 cm of textual records
Scope and Content
Accession contains material documenting Gabriella Szanto and her family. Included are family photographs, vital records, correspondence, and a 2018 Baycrest calendar that features a portrait and short biography of Gabriella.
Shirley Worth served as the executor of Gabriella Szanto's estate. Following Gabriella's death, Shirley donated the records that make up the accession to the Ontario Jewish Archives.
Gabriella "Gabi" Szanto (née Lazlo) was born in Budapest, Hungary on 26 January 1916. Gabriella's parents, Arnold and Ilonka Lazlo (née Diamenstein), were women's clothing manufacturers who employed twenty-five people. Their skills complemented each other: Arnold had studied design in Berlin for two years while Ilonka was a dressmaker. On 18 May 1919, Arnold and Ilonka had their second child, George.
During the Second World War, Gabi and her mother moved to the outskirts of Budapest where they passed as Catholics, rarely leaving their house. Miklos Szanto—the man Gabriella married after the war—was sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. Gabriella's brother, George, was sent to a camp in Siberia and did not survive. It is not known where or how Gabriella's father survived the war.
After the war, Gabriella, her mother and father, and her husband Miklos reunited in Budapest. The four lived in the family apartment near the city opera house.
During the period of Communist rule, Gabriella and Miklos bribed their way out of Hungary and travelled to Vienna. From Vienna, they travelled to Australia, where they lived for five or six years, working as a short order cook and a seamstress respectively.
At some point, Gabriella and Miklos made the decision to immigrate to Canada. Their first stop—most likely in the 1950s—was Montreal. There, Gabriella worked for a high-end retailer before moving with her husband to Toronto one year later. In Toronto, Miklos worked again as a short order cook at the Noshery Restaurant on Eglinton, holding this job until he retried. Gabriella, meanwhile, worked as a seamstress until she was in her mid-80s.
In their retirement, Gabriella and Miklos spent two months each winter in Florida. Gabriella died in 2018.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.