Benjamin Dunkelman (1913-1997) was a successful businessman and President of Tip Top Tailors. He had a distinguished military career in both the Canadian army during the Second World War and in the Haganah during the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli War.
Dunkelman was born in Toronto to David Dunkelman (1883-1978) and Rose (nee Miller) (1889-1949). He had three sisters and two brothers: Joseph, a movie executive; Ernest, a manufacturer; Zelda; Veronica; and Theodora. His father, David, was a successful entrepreneur who established Tip Top Tailors in 1910. Both David and his wife Rose were fervent Zionist community activists.
Benjamin Dunkelman attended Upper Canada College and, at the age of 18, visited Palestine (now Israel). While in Palestine, he worked for a year on a kibbutz, mostly as a guard protecting it from nearby Palestinians. During the Second World War, Dunkelman served as a Major in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and in that role gained respect for his knowledge of mortars. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1945 for his role in the final Allied assault on Germany. Two years later, Benjamin Dunkelman returned to Palestine to join the Haganah in the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli War. As a commander, Dunkelman captured Nazareth, and brought northern Galilee under Jewish control. Near the end of the war, Dunkelman met and married Yael Lifshitz, a corporal in the Israeli Army. Dunkelman was elected National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada in 1977.
In addition to his work as a soldier, Dunkelman was a successful businessman. He served as president of Tip Top Tailors after his father stepped down, and was also director of Colonial Finance Corporation, president of Cloverdale Shopping Centre and president of Renforth Developments. Besides operating the Dunkelman Gallery for modern art, Dunkelman and his wife Yael ran the Constellation Hotel and Dunkelman’s Restaurant.
Dunkelman later wrote of his experiences in both wars in his autobiography Dual allegiance (MacMillan, 1976). As well as the DSO, Dunkelman was awarded the Fighter’s Decoration of the State of Israel (1970), and an Israel Bonds Award Dinner in Tribute to Ben Dunkelman (1977). He was a guest of honour both at a reception hosted by the Canadian Society for the Weizmann Institute of Science and the veterans of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (1976) and at a 7th Brigade Reunion in Israel (1991).
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting Benjamin Dunkelman's personal, business, and military activities. Included is personal and business correspondence and other records, maps, photographs, news clippings, and scrapbooks assembled by Dunkelman. The bulk of the records relate both to Dunkelman’s autobiography Dual allegiance and to his military career in the Second World War and in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-1949. Other records relate to his business work with Tip Top Tailors, the Constellation Hotel, Dunkelman’s Restaurant and the Dunkelman Gallery, as well as to his Zionist actvities, his writing and public speeches, and his personal life.
The fonds is organized into the following series: Personal records and correspondence, Zionist materials, Businesses, Second World War, Arab-Israeli War, Dual allegiance, and Speeches.
Physical description note: Includes 218 photographs, 60 maps, 7 postcards, 5 architectural drawings, and 3 albums.
Associated material note: see the Ben Dunkelman fonds at Library and Archives Canada.
As early as 1916 the Ezras Noshem Society (a mutual benefit society for Jewish women) started to raise funds to purchase and renovate what would become The Toronto Jewish Old Folks' Home (Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care’s forerunner) after its members recognized the need for a home in Toronto where the Jewish elderly could receive kosher meals and communicate with staff in their own language. Property at 31 Cecil Street was purchased in 1917 and sometime between September 1918 and January 1920 the Home officially opened there. The Home was run by a small staff and the women of Ezras Noshem who volunteered their time to make beds, cook kosher meals, do laundry and sponsor fundraising events. By 1938 the Home had expanded into its neighboring houses at 29, 33, and 35 Cecil Street and was caring for 115 residents. It provided residents with synagogue services, a hospital ward and social activities. At this time the Home also became a member of the United Jewish Welfare Fund.
In 1946, the need for a larger and more modern building prompted a fundraising campaign, which was headed by Abe Posluns, to purchase and build a new facility. In December 1954, the new building opened at 3650 Bathurst Street and consisted of two new institutions: The Jewish Home for the Aged and Baycrest Hospital. This location continued to expand over the years, including a new building for residents in 1968, an apartment building for seniors called the Baycrest Terrace in 1976, and a community centre known as The Joseph E. and Minnie Wagman Centre in 1977. These additions enabled Baycrest to expand its programs to include a day care program, recreational programs, and a Sheltered Workshop which was run in cooperation with the Jewish Vocational Service and provided residents with employment. In 1986 a new Baycrest Hospital was erected, and in 1989, the Rotman Research Institute, which is also affiliated with the University of Toronto, opened to create a research facility where top researchers could study and find new treatment methods for the elderly.
In recent years, Baycrest’s services and programs have continued to expand. In 2000, the Apotex Centre, the Jewish Home for the Aged and the Louis and Leah Posluns Centre for Stroke and Cognition opened to help residents with progressive dementia caused by vascular disorders. In 2001 a condominium building opened at 2 Neptune Drive for seniors, and in 2003 the Sam and Ida Ross Memory Clinic was established to provide out-patient services for seniors with memory disorders. Baycrest Centre also provides numerous cultural and religious programs for the inhabitants and the greater community, including a heritage museum, art exhibits and a Holocaust program.
Records were donated to the OJA in a series of accessions from a variety of sources, including the Baycrest Women's Auxiliary and the Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the history, governance, and activities of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. Included are meeting notices, agendas and minutes, correspondence, reports, speeches, photographs, artifacts, constitutions, publications, press releases, financial records, event invitations, programs, a scrapbook, a poster, lists, theatrical scripts, newspaper clippings, brochures and booklets, flyers, a land deed, certificates, schedules, annual calendars, cards, questionnaires, and lists.
Fonds is arranged into eleven series: 1. Board of Directors and Executive Committee; 2. Annual General Meetings and Annual Reports; 3. Committees and meetings; 4. Women's Auxiliary; 5. Men's Service Group; 6. Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home; 7. Programs and services; 8. Religious services; 9. Fundraising; 10. Publications and publicity; and, 11. Events. Records are described to the file level with some item level descriptions.
Associated material note: related material at Library and Archives Canada includes a small Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care fonds, and the Eric Exton fonds. For architectural records see the Irving D. Boigon fonds 243 at the City of Toronto Archives (Boigon was an architect who designed many of Baycrest's buildings between the 1970s and 1990s). Contact Baycrest Centre's Heritage Museum for committee records from the 1930s, and consult Baycrest's website to access electronic copies of current issues of Baycrest's publications.
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Ezras Noshem Society (Toronto, Ont.)
Jewish Home for the Aged (Toronto, Ont.)
Jewish Old Folks Home (Toronto, Ont.)
Old age homes
See Gordon Mendly Fonds 18, series 3-4; Jewish Vocational Services of Toronto fonds 75; United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds 67; accession # 2009-6-2; Dora Till Fonds 52; J. Irving Oelbaum Fonds 24; Jewish Community Centre of Toronto fonds 61, series 1-1; Gilbert Studios fonds 37; Ben Kayfetz fonds 62, series 3, file 3; JFWB fonds 87, series 6, files 5 and 6; JIAS fonds 9, series 7, file 1; Harold S. Kaplan fonds 27, series 1-4, and Morris Norman fonds 22.
Betty Goldstick Lindgren (1892-1984) was a prominent member of several Toronto Jewish social service organizations. She was born in Latvia, the daughter of Sarah and William (Wolf) Goldstick. The couple had ten children. The family came to Canada in 1904 when Betty was a young child. She studied at Phoebe School, and later went on to the University of Toronto and earned her degree in 1919. She began teaching and married a Swede named Karl Tycko Lindgren. They had two children, but only their son, Edward, survived.
Betty was involved in the Herzl Girls' Zionist Society as well as the Deborah Chapter of Hadassah. She was also a Toronto delegate to the first Canadian Jewish Congress in Montreal, 1919. Her brothers Maurice and Edward owned the E & M Wrecking Building Company. Her sister, Dorothy Dworkin, was a trained midwife and owner of Dworkin Shipping Agents with her husband Henry. Her brother Isadore was a professor at the University of Western Ontario. Her brother David was a lawyer and labour activist. Her other siblings were Emma, Celia, Annie and Jean. Betty passed away on November 6, 1984.
The records were donated by Edward Lindgren, Betty's son, in 1978. They were all part of 78-10/1 and included a list of items. Some of the material, such as the books, Jewish newspapers, and magazines have been separated from the fonds and placed into MG 9. The Herzl Girls Zionist Society minutes and records were placed in MG2 J1K shortly after they arrived. A file list of items included in this fonds has been created and is available below. A number of non-Canadian periodicals and books have been removed from the fonds. A list of these items is included with box 54-2-4. Several of these were put aside for auction, and several might be integrated into the OJA's publication holdings at a later date.
Scope and Content
The records in this fonds document the life and activities of Betty Goldstick Lindgren. They include correspondence, memorabilia, press clippings, invitations, certificates, programs as well as an autograph book and family record book.
The fonds also includes family photographs of Betty and the Goldstick family.
The textual records have been placed in acid-free files, with some of the more delicate items in melinex folders.
Lindgren, Betty Goldstick, 1892-1984
See Dorothy Dworkin fonds 10.
The textual records have been arranged in chronological order into 12 files. The 42 photographs have been described as items. Items 19-23 (photos #1539a-e) form one file (file 13).
This file contains an autograph book from Betty's public school days in 1908. She folded down all the pages and covers of a Toronto Public Schools notebook so that the book is now shaped like a triangle. The outside of each folded page shows a name, and underneath a message or poem written by that person. The book contains messages from Betty, her classmates and her family in 1908, along with poems and prose added between then and 1916.
This file contains Betty Lindgren's personal correspondence from between 1911 and 1938. A large portion of the letters are from Betty's mother (Sarah Goldstick), and her niece Ellen (Honey) Dworkin, but among them are letters from Betty's sisters Ellen Lurie (and daughter Mae), Jean Slone, Dora (Dorothy) Dworkin and Annie Constam. The file includes notes of condolence from when Betty's father Wolf Goldstick passed away in 1923, and dental x-rays made in 1925. The correspondence has been arranged in chronological order. The first folder covers 1911 to 1924, and the second covers 1925 to 1938, and includes undated correspondence.
Benjamin Gershon Kayfetz was born on December 24, 1916 in Toronto, graduating from the University of Toronto in 1939, with a B.A. in modern languages. Between the years 1941 and 1943, he worked as a high school teacher in Huntsville and Niagara Falls. In 1943, he joined the war effort, working for the Department of National Defense in Postal Censorship and was responsible for reviewing prisoner of war mail. After the war, Kayfetz traveled to British Occupied Germany where he worked as a censor of telecommunications with the Control Commission until 1947.
Upon returning to Toronto, he was hired as the National Director of Community Relations by the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), and as the Executive (National) Director of the Joint Community Relations Committee (JCRC), a CJC - B'nai B'rith cooperative organization. He also served as the Central Region Executive Director of the CJC between 1973 and 1978. During his tenure, he worked with various churches, unions and minority groups to develop anti-discrimination laws and for the protection of minority and religious rights. Kayfetz was also actively involved in promoting the welfare of Jewish Communities worldwide, and made visits to Cuba in 1962 and 1965, and Russia in 1985, to study and report on the state of these Jewish Communities. After his retirement in 1985, he was awarded the Samuel Bronfman Medal by the Canadian Jewish Congress. In recognition of his efforts to promote Human Rights, he was also awarded the Order of Canada in 1986.
In addition to his professional activities, Kayfetz wrote articles for various Jewish publications under both his own name and the pseudonym, Gershon B. Newman, and gave a weekly radio address on CHIN radio addressing various contemporary Jewish issues. He was also actively involved in the Toronto Jewish Historical Society (serving as its president), Canadian Jewish Historical Society and Yiddish Luncheon Circle. Ben Kayfetz died in 2002.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of materials produced or acquired by Ben Kayfetz in both his personal and professional capacity. It includes biographical materials, minutes, correspondence, recorded CJC and JCRC meetings, memorabilia, transcripts and recorded versions of CHIN radio broadcasts he delivered, as well as various interviews, speeches, articles, book reviews and works he composed. Fonds also consists of minutes, agendas and other records of various Yiddish and historical associations Mr. Kayfetz was involved in.
Physical Description note: includes 20 photographs, 107 audio cassettes, 1 Beta video cassette and 1 object.
Series consists of various materials collected by Ben Kayfetz. It includes various items from Nazi Germany including a Jewish yellow star and number on a badge, Nazi hymn book and a service book of a Nazi Stormtrooper. Among the other materials are photographs of the Bronfman family, World War II enlistment posters, Peretz School Composition books and Jewish Old Folks Home Committee minutes.
Heinz Kassel (1912-2009) (later changed to Henry Cassel) was a German refugee during the Second World War who was classified as an enemy alien by the British government. He spent two years in an internment camp for prisoners of war (POWs) in Quebec. He later became a naturalized Canadian citizen and enlisted in the Canadian military.
Heinz was born on October 25, 1912 in Aschaffenburg, Germany to Adolf and Olga Kassel. Adolf owned a successful banking business which he had inherited from his father. The family resided above the bank and lived a comfortable life during these early years. They moved to Frankfurt around 1920 after Adolf sold his business to buy a partnership in a bank there.
Heinz’s parents had hoped that he would one day become a corporate lawyer. In 1931, in preparation for his future career, he began studying law and economics at Frankfurt University. He enjoyed his initial university years. However, after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 he became alarmed when his non-Jewish university friends began ignoring him and when the German government passed laws forbidding Jews from practicing law in court. Determined to leave Germany and seek out a better life elsewhere, he begged his parents to immigrate with him to the United States. They refused to go, unwilling to leave behind the life they had worked so hard to build. In accordance with his parents’ wishes, Heinz relocated to nearby Italy instead of the US in 1934. He learned Italian and eventually secured a job with an engineering firm.
Sensing that the political climate in Italy was becoming dangerous for Jewish people, Heinz applied for immigration to the US in early 1939. Eager to leave Italy, he relocated to London to await the approval of his US visa. He left just in time – Britain declared war on Germany less than a week after his arrival. His parents, in turn, managed to escape to Holland. Soon after Britain’s declaration, all immigrants from enemy countries were considered enemy aliens and suspected of being spies.
On May 12, 1940, the British military arrested Heinz and interned him with other German immigrants and POWs. He believed his detainment was only a precautionary measure and that he would be cleared within a few days. However, the British shipped him to the Isle of Man where he remained for several months. Fearing an invasion, the British shipped 3,000 of the POWs, including Kassel, to Quebec, where he was briefly interned at a POW camp set up at the Plains of Abraham. In October 1940, he was moved with 736 other refugees to an abandoned railway yard (later known as “Camp N”) in Newington, near Sherbrooke, Quebec. While there, he confronted a great deal of antisemitism from the guards.
While he was interned in Quebec, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) interviewed him and other Jewish prisoners in order to lobby for their release. Realizing that the internees were not POWs, the Canadian government declared the camp a refugee camp in 1941. By October 1942, the CJC was successful in helping Heinz secure employment with Benjamin Pape & Company in Toronto.
Heinz met Reta Freeman in Toronto and they were married in November 1944. Reta was born and raised in Toronto. After their nuptials, they were both briefly classified as enemy aliens and had to report to the RCMP on a regular basis. Shortly thereafter, Heinz enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army and was sent to basic training in Manitoba. On January 21, 1946 he was granted landed immigrant status, and in April of that year, he became a citizen.
After the war, Heinz learned that his parents as well as other relatives had been transported to concentration camps and had not survived. He was certainly one of the few fortunate ones to leave the country, despite the circumstances of his removal. He resented being interned for so long, but did not blame the British for rounding him up with other Germans based on their initial fears regarding enemy aliens. His feelings about Canada's treatment of him during that time, however, were not as sympathetic.
The couple lived their lives in Toronto. They first resided at 2346 Yonge Street. Heinz legally changed his name to Henry Cassel. He worked as an accountant and later was a controller for the United Jewish Welfare Fund. The couple had two children: Andrew (b. 1947) and Richard (b. 1951). Reta passed away in August 1962 and Henry later remarried Esther Cassel. He passed away at the age of 96 on February 15, 2009.
Records were created and accumulated by Henry Cassel. His sons donated them to the OJA after his death.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the life of Henry Cassel, particularly his attempt to emigrate from Europe prior to the Second World War and his internment in Canada as a German prisoner of war (POW). Included is personal correspondence between Cassel and his parents; correspondence written by Cassel to potential employers and Canadian Jewish agencies; legal documents and certificates, such as Cassel's birth certificate and passport; family photo albums documenting the family and lives of Henry Cassel and his wife Reta; Cassel's autobiography; a journal and notebook written by Cassel during his internment; and, other internment records, such as government forms and poems and songs written by internees. Also included are newspaper clippings, articles, financial statements, genealogical research, and antisemitic ephemera collected by Cassel. Of particular note are newsletters that were produced during the 1990s by ex-internees who had kept in touch over the years. Records are arranged into 16 files.
Textual records in the fonds were reduced from ca. 20 cm to 8 cm. Please see accession record for further details about the culled material.
Associated material notes: for related records at other archives, please see: the UJRA case files at the National CJC Archive in Montreal and the holdings at Library and Archives Canada (such as, the Directorate of Internment Operations series in the Department of National Defense fonds R112-0-2-E)
Cassel, Henry, 1912-2009
Europe--Emigration and immigration
Prisoners of war
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
See: Canadian Jewish Congress case files in RG 282 and accession #2005-10-1.