Accession consists of copies of electronic copies of photographs, postcards and telegrams as well as newsclippings, a video and a DVD documenting the career of Sam Shapiro in the RCAF and his time as a Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft 3 in Poland.
Sam Shapiro enlisted as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force in September 1940. He received his wings in Brantford and was sent overseas in April 1941 as a sergeant pilot. He was in Squadron ten and flew eight successful missions before his plane was shot down over Holland in August 1941, killing two of the crew.
Shapiro was captured by German forces on 17 August 1941 and was taken to Stalag Luft 3 camp in Poland, where the "Great Escape" took place. Shapiro was not part of the breakout, but did help dig the tunnel that allowed seventy-six of his fellow prisoners to escape.
While a Prisoner of War, Shapiro was promoted to Warrant Officer. He was liberated on 16 April 1945 and arrived in England five days later. Shortly after arriving home in 1945, Shapiro received the YMCA sports badge for his conduct in the POW camp and the Canadian Volunteer Service medal. He married his fiance Geraldine Perlman in 1945.
Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.
Accession consists of a scrapbook documenting the military career of Seymour Bernard. Included in the scrapbook are photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, the transcript for a CFRB radio segment featuring Bernard, invitations for dinners honouring Bernard, a booklet (possibly by the Canadian Jewish Congress) entitled "Jews Have Always Fought for Freedom", and a torn black ribbon that was likely worn by Bernard's parents during shiva after he died in 1951 (kriah). The scrapbook was likely assembled by Bernard's parents.
Accession also includes material documenting Joel Snitman's confirmation at Holy Blossom Temple and involvement in the BBYO. Included are photographs and programs documenting Holy Blossom Temple's confirmation class of 1959, the program book of the B'nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) Southern Ontario Region Fall Conclave (1960), a BBYO AZA Sweetheart Ball booklet (1961), and the Lorac Letter newsletter (1959) which was a chapter of the AZA BBYO. Identified in the photographs are: Joel Snitman, Susie Romm, Karen Smith (?), Don Smith, Rabbi Eisen, and Rabbi Feinberg.
Beatrice Bernard (1913-1998) was born to Louie Bernard (1895?-1956) and Esther Berger (1892-1983) in Toronto in 1913. She had two younger siblings: Seymour (was a tailgunner in the RAF during the Second World War) and Gertrude. The family lived at 410 Crawford Street and Louie owned his own dress store at St. Clair and Yonge Street. Beatrice helped her father in the dress store in the 1930s. Louie eventually owned a coat manufacturing business which was located in the Balfour Building. Beatrice married Michael Snitman in 1935.
Michael Snitman (1910-1978) was born to Harry and Lottie in Russia in 1910. He immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1912 and had two younger siblings who were born in Toronto: Bill (1912-2013) and Judy (Judith). Michael attended Harbord Collegiate and ran his own business called Plastwood Products in the early 1940s. Around 1947 he entered the photographic business as a distributor. He ran the Toronto branch of Montreal-based Anglophoto, which was owned by his brother-in-law, Abe Feigelson.
Michael and Beatrice had two children together: Joel (b. 1943) and Bernard (Bernie) (b. 1948). Joel received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and taught Biology for five years before entering the real estate and property management business. He met his wife Blossom (nee Houpt) in the B'nai Brith Youth Organization and they had their first date on April 9, 1960. They later married in Aug. 1964 and had three children together: Aryeh, Sheri, and Aviella.
Accession consists of textual records, photographs and audio recordings documenting the lives of Dick Steele, his wife Esther and friend Bill Walsh. The materials are mostly correspondences between Dick and Esther during his internment at the Don Jail and Ontario Reformatory in Guelph, and from Dick and Bill's military service overseas during the Second World War. They also include correspondences between Esther and Bill, Bill and Anne Walsh, "Jack" and Esther, and other family and friends. Some of the letters show evidence of being censored. There are news clippings in English and Yiddish about the family from various newspapers including the Canadian Tribune (a Communist Party paper). There is a letter Esther wrote to campaign for Dick's release from internment, part of women's activism in this period. There is also a photocopy of a memoir written by Moses Kosowatsky and Moses Wolofsky "From the Land of Despair to the Land of Promise" ca. 1930s.
The photographs include Dick and Bill in the army during the Second World War, a signed picture of Tim Buck addressed to Esther and the twins and a photo of Dick delivering a speech related to the Steel Workers. Also included is a recording of edited sound clips of Bill and Esther talking about Dick, Esther speaking about the letters, (how she received letters and flowers from Dick after he had already been killed), Bill reading a letter Dick wrote to Esther that he left with friends in England to send her in the case that he was killed (which he was), recordings of "Bill Walsh Oral history" Vols.1 and 2 compiled by Leib Wolofsky's (Bill's nephew), and 5 audio recordings by Adrianna Steele-Card with her grandparents Bill and Esther. There is also a microcassette labelled "Joe Levitt."
The accession also includes the stripe of a German corporal that Bill captured as a prisoner, peace stamps and an early copy of Cy Gonick's A Very Red Life: The Story of Bill Walsh, edited by Bill.
Richard (Dick) Kennilworth Steele is the name adopted by Moses Kosowatsky. He was born in 1909 in Montreal to Samuel Kosowatsky and Fanny Held. He lived in a laneway off Clark Street below Sherbrooke where his father collected and recycled bottles. He grew up with his siblings Joseph, Mortimer, Matthew, Gertrude and Edward.
Bill Walsh (Moishe Wolofsky) was born in 1910, to Sarah and Herschel Wolofsky, the Editor of the Keneder Adler (Montreal's prominent Yiddish newspaper). He attended Baron Byng and then Commercial High School where he met Dick Steele. Bill recalled that Dick denounced militarism in the school when a teacher tried to recruit students to be cadets.
Bill moved to New York City in 1927. His brother, who was living there, helped him get a job as a messenger on Wall Street. He also worked in the drug department at Macy's while attending courses at Columbia University in the evening. Dick worked on a ship for a year and then joined Bill in New York City in 1928. Dick worked at a chemical plant called Linde Air Products while also studying in the evenings at Columbia University.
In 1931 Dick and Bill boarded a ship together in New York bound for Copenhagen. Together they travelled across Europe, witnessed a Nazi demonstration in Breslau, Germany and found work in Minsk and Moscow, Russia. This trip inspired them to become Communists. In 1933 Bill's father was on a Canadian trade mission to Poland, which he left to "rescue" his son from the Bolsheviks. Bill agreed to return to Canada after being advised to do so by the Comintern. He then changed his name to Bill Walsh to protect his family.
In 1934 Bill moved to Toronto. He worked as the Educational Director for the Industrial Union of Needle Trade Workers and the Communist Party where he met Esther Slominsky/Silver, the organization's office manager. Dick joined Bill in Toronto soon after. Bill introduced Dick and Esther who then married. In 1940, Esther gave birth to twin sons Michael and John Steele. Esther was born in Toronto in 1914 to Joseph Slominsky and Fanny (Blackersany?). Her siblings were Bella, Eileen, Morris and step-sister Eva. Her father Joseph was a cloak maker and Esther also worked in the garment industry. Her mother Fanny passed away in 1920 at the age of 26 from tuberculosis.
Dick was a metal worker and became a union organizer in the east end of Toronto. He was the head organizer of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and the Steel Workers Organizing Committee of Canada (SWOC) until 1940 when he was dismissed for being a Communist. Bill helped organize Kitchener's rubber workers into an industrial union and was also an organizer for the United Auto Workers of Windsor, Ontario.
Jack Steele, an alias for Dick's brother Mortimer, fought with the Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Jack Steele was recalled to Canada in October 1937 to rally support for the efforts in Spain, returned to the front in June 1938 and was killed in action in August. Some of Dick's letters to his wife Esther are signed "Salud, Jack" and were likely written in 1940 when the Communist Party (CP) was banned by the Canadian Government under the War Measures Act.
In November 1941, after Mackenzie King's call for enlistment, Dick wrote to the Department of Justice to ask permission to join the army. He never received a reply. On 1 April 1942 Dick's home was raided and he was interned at the Don Jail until September 1942 when he was moved to the Ontario Reformatory in Guelph. Esther wrote a letter to Louis St. Laurent, Minister of Justice to appeal on his behalf.
Major public campaigning by communists and the wartime alliance with the USSR after 1941 shifted public opinion toward the CP and the Canadian Government slowly began releasing internees in January 1942. Dick was released in October 1942 and enlisted at the end of the month. Dick died on August 17, 1944 in Normandy, France. He was a tank driver in the Canadian Army.
Bill was similarly arrested in 1941, spending time in jail and then an internment camp with other members of the CP. He joined the Canadian army in 1943 and fought in Holland and Belgium. Bill was first married to Anne Weir who died of a brain hemorrhage in 1943 just before he enlisted. The family believes this may have been due to drinking unpasteurized milk. Encouraged by Dick Steele to take care of his family should he pass in the war, Bill married Esther Steele in 1946. They had a daughter named Sheri and were members of the United Jewish People's Order. For 20 years Walsh worked for the Hamilton region of the United Electrical Workers (UE). Bill remained a member of the CP until 1967 when we was expelled for criticizing another union leader. He died in 2004. Esther passed away in 2010 at age 96.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
RELATED MATERIAL NOTE: Library and Archives Canada has the William Walsh fonds and MG 28, ser. I 268, USWA, vol.4, SWOC Correspondence, has various letters from Dick Steele ca. 1938. Museum of Jewish Montreal has an oral history with Leila Mustachi (daughter of Max Wolofsky, Bill's brother) where she speaks about Bill, Dick and Esther.
USE CONDITION NOTES: For "Bill Walsh Oral history" Vols.1 and 2, some contributors stipulate that recordings are restricted to personal use only and must not be used for any commercial purpose.
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.
Accession consists of records related to the life and career of David Green and the Jaffey family. Records include sound and video recordings of events, Goodwill Sales accounting ledgers, meeting minutes from the Jewish Canadian Military Archives and Museum, David Green's military ephemera, manuals and reports of the Jewish Federation Board of Trustees and Bequest and Endowment Fund, and Jaffey family correspondence and photographs. Records also include certificates of appreciation awarded to David Green, mainly from UJA Federation.
David Green (1919-2014) was born in the Junction in west Toronto. He served as a private in the Canadian army as part of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He was captured and designated MIA when he was held as a POW in Belgium. He became a member of General Wingate Branch 256 Jewish Canadian Legion. In the mid-1940s he married his wife, Sylvia (nee Jaffey) (d. 2010) and they had a daughter, Miriam. He was a longtime volunteer for the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. In 1990, he was one of the first individuals to establish an Endowment Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto.
The Jaffey family consisted of Kaby Jaffey, his wife, Nellie, and their children Sylvia, Jess and Albert.
Physical description note: Accession also consists of photographs and textiles.
Accession consists of records relating to Markson's design work for the Holocaust Centre, for Jewish Family & Child Services, and for the film, Growing up in America. These records include textual records, slides, negatives, photographs, films, and sound recordings in various formats.
Donor retains copyright. Material can be made available for viewing and reference at the OJA. Researchers who require copies for personal use or publication must obtain permission from donor first.
Records in off-site storage; advance notice required to view.
Accession consists of records documenting the establishment and activities of Toronto's Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre as well as the personal life and professional activities of Gerda Frieberg. Holocaust Education Centre records include audio-visual material, sound recordings, meeting minutes, financial records, booklets and brochures, photographs and flyers. Of note is a video of the opening and dedication of the Holocaust Museum in 1985, and the sheet music and sound recordings of the musical score Gerda commissioned for the Centre by Srul Glick.
Records in the Gerda Frieberg fonds document her involvement with the Holocaust Education Centre, the Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Canada, B'nai Brith Women, the Federation of Jewish Women's organizations, and her other activities. Included are photographs, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, and correspondence. Also included is a sound recording from a Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations event and a DVD copy of the film "Mend the World", which is a CBC documentary that features Gerda and other Toronto Holocaust survivors. The electronic images were scanned from Gerda's personal scrapbooks.
Records were in the possession of Gerda Frieberg until she donated them to the OJA in 2012.
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Includes 4 audio cassette tapes, 4 VHS tapes, 3 DVDs, 3 cm of textual records, and 8 photographs.
42 photographs : b&w and col. ; 9 x 13 cm and 10 x 15 cm
Scope and Content
Accession consists of the records documenting Nathan Leipciger's role as the Chairman of the Holocaust Remembrace Committee, as well as his affiliation with other Holocaust commemoration organizations in Poland and Toronto. Organizations documented in this collection include: the Canadian Jewish Congress Holocaust Remembrance Committee and its Education Sub-Committee, the March of the Living, Yad Vashem, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the International Council to the Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the Board of Education of North York, and the Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre (now Neuberger). Events documented include Yom HaShoah programs, the Canadian Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and Their Children, and Holocaust Education Week. Records include Holocaust Remembrance Committee meeting minutes, correspondence (including correspondence between Mr. Leipciger and the director of the museum at Auschwitz), programming material, curriculum development material, event flyers, newsclippings, synagogue newsletters featuring published memoirs by Mr. Leipciger. Also included are architectural drawings of the Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre (now Neuberger), one copy of a small book entitled, "60 Days for 6 Million," published by Tribe UK, and five audiocasettes of recordings from the 22nd International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference on the topic of the shared history of Poles and Jews (August 2002, Toronto, Ont.).
Nathan Leipciger was born in Chorzów, Poland, in 1928. He survived the Sosnowiec Ghetto and the camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Funfteichen, GrossRosen, Flossenberg, Leonberg, and Dachau. Nate and his father were liberated in May 1945, and immigrated to Canada in 1948. In Toronto Nate attended high school and eventually obtained a university degree in engineering. He later established an engineering firm with several partners. In 1982, Nate chaired the Toronto Holocaust Remembrance Committee, later becoming an executive member of the Canadian Jewish Congress National Holocaust Remembrance Committee. Nate was a member of the International Council to the Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau for fifteen years and has been an educator on March of the Living trips to Poland and Israel for fifteen years. In 2015, The Azrieli Foundation published Nate's 280-page memoir "The Weight of Freedom" as part of their series of Holocaust memoirs by survivors in Canada. In 2016, Mr. Leipciger guided Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Accession consists of personal records of Hyman (Ben) Benjamin, and records documenting Arthur Benjamin's miltiary service. Records include ca. 30 photographs of three generations of the Benjamin family, Rosh Hashanah greeting cards, Hyman Benjamin's birth certificate and first aid certificate. Records also include corespondence between several branches of the Canadian government and Arthur's mother, Annie, regarding the circumstances of Arthur's death; his grave site and his army pension.
The records were donated to the Archives by Nancy Rose, daughter of the great-nephew of Hyman (Ben) Benjamin.
Hyman "Ben" Benjamin (ca. 1884-1969) was born in Leeds, England to Lazuras and Annie Benjamin. He married Hilda (Holds) Benjamin, and they immigrated to Canada in 1911. He worked as a car mechanic. They had two daugthers, Laura (b.1911) and Florence (b.1912).
Arthur "Abraham" Benjamin (ca.1882-1917) was Hyman Benjamin's brother. He immigrated to Toronto from Leeds some time after 1911 and worked with Hyman as a car cleaner. He joined the 198th Battalion of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in 1916, and was killed in the First World War.