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66 records – page 1 of 2.
Name
Joseph Fremar
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
14 May 1974
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Joseph Fremar
Number
AC 021
Subject
Business
Food
Occupations
Interview Date
14 May 1974
Quantity
2 cassettes (1 copy)
1 MP3 file
Interviewer
Bess Shockett
Total Running Time
12:59 minutes
Conservation
Copied to cassette tape in August 2003.
Digitized in June 2010.
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Joseph "Joe the Orange Man" Fremar was a produce merchant in Kensington Market and opened his location at 234 Augusta Avenue in 1938. Fremar, commonly referred to as the "Orange Man," was a member of the Kiever Synagogue.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Fremar, Joseph
Kiever Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
Shockett, Bess
Geographic Access
Augusta Avenue (Toronto, Ont.)
Kensington Market (Toronto, Ont.)
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
Started at location at 234 Augusta Street in 1938.
Only one other merchant on Augusta at that time. He sold vegetables.
His home was on Oxford Street.
Since he arrived in 1938 most of the merchants have “changed around.”
When he arrived in 1938 the Anshe Lida Synagogue was located on Augusta. It was located at the current fish store location.
The congregants were originally from Romania.
There were no religious Jewish schools on Augusta at the time.
Synagogues at the time were: Lubavitcher on Grange, Kiever on Denison, and the Minsker.
A man by the name of Biasky (?) brought Joseph into the Kiever Synagogue, which he attended only on holidays. He also attend the Londoner Synagogue on Spadina.
Joseph is still a Kiever member. He does not attend, but he pays dues to in order to maintain his cemetery plot, which the Kiever holds at the Roselawn Cemetery.
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Joseph Fremar, also known as "Joe the Orange Man," talks about the social politics and financial expectations around belonging to certain Toronto synagogues versus others.

In this clip, Joseph Fremar, also known as "Joe the Orange Man," talks about the changing population of Toronto

Name
Fred Schaeffer
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
11 July 1980
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Fred Schaeffer
Number
AC 024
Subject
Communities
Immigrants--Canada
Rabbis
Synagogues
Interview Date
11 July 1980
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Stephen Speisman
Total Running Time
Side 1: 31 minutes
Side 2: 9 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Fred Schaeffer's wife, Beverley, grew up in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Beverley's grandfather, Hyman Kaplan, emigrated from Vilna, Lithuania in 1907, and after a few years in New York, moved to Toronto. Shortly afterwards he became the first Jew to settle in Kirkland Lake in 1914.
In the 1920s the Jewish community in Kirkland Lake built a permanent synagogue, and acquired the aron kodesh of eastern European design, its lamps, railings, pews and reader’s desk, from the disbanded Ukrainishe Shul in Montreal. In the 1970s the Kirkland Lake Synagogue disbanded and Fred and Beverly Schaeffer acquired the aron kodesh, all of its furnishings, the ner tamid and the parochet. They generously donated these Jewish artifacts to Beth Tikvah Synagogue, Toronto, in 1988, in memory of Isadore Kaplan, father of Beverly Schaeffer and Erich Schaeffer, father of Fred Schaeffer.
Fred, married Beverley in Toronto. Like many children from Kirkland Lake, Beverley had moved to the city to attend university. Fred and Beverley are keen collectors of Canadian art. He is a retired civil engineer and a former chairman of the Canadian art historical committee at the AGO.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Atkins (family)
Bucavetsky (family)
Cochrane (Ont.)
Etkins (family)
Mallins (family)
Purkiss (family)
Schaeffer, Fred
Geographic Access
Ansonville (Ont.)
Engelhart (Ont.)
Kirkland Lake (Ont.)
Krugerdorf (Ont.)
Ontario, Northern
Timmins (Ont.)
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
AC 024: Side A
0.14: Fred discusses the first Jews to settle in Northern Ontario in the area around Krugerdorf/Engelhart. He mentions Edith Atkinson (née Martin) as a good primary source of information. Edith’s father, a Russian Jew who came to Canada via Scotland was employed by Temagami and Northern Ontario Railway to bring Russian Jews to work on the railroad.
1.11: Atkinson is related to Atkins and Etkins families.
2.25: Jewish families received land patents in the area of Krugerdorf (north of Engelhart).
2.44: Kurtz family started a hotel in Engelhart in 1908.
3.07: Mentions some of the earliest Jewish settlers. Gurevitch, Korman, Martin, Henerovsky, Purkiss
4.18: Women farmed during the week while the men worked on the railroad. Men came home on weekend.
5.05: Mentions a diary written by Mr. Martin, Edith Atkinson’s father.
5.42: Earliest records in Jewish cemetery in Krugerdorf were 1906. Relates a story involving a canoe accident. Tells a brief history of the cemetery.
8.00: Railway started to develop in 1908/9 with the opening of the mines in Timmins. Many Jews followed the railroad.
8.45: Mentions that the Purkiss family opened a chain of stores in every town that opened.
9.25: Mentions that the Bucavetsky family was well-known in Timmins.
9.58: Jews had settled in Cochrane.
10.16: First Rabbi in Timmins was Shulman.
11.15: Fred discusses early community organizations. One synagogue on a farm in Krugerdorf area. One synagogue in Engelhart that burnt down. Synagogue in Kirkland Lake built in 1926. Minyans were held in Cochrane and Ansonville (1918/19). Timmins synagogue dates back to 1910/12.
17.15: Fred describes Iroquois Falls as an Abitibi company town. Jews who ran businesses lived in nearby Ansonville.
18.02: Fred notes that there were many prominent Jews in Northern Ontario. He names several and describes their positions. (e.g. Dave Korman as Mayor of Engelhart, Rothschild was alderman in Cochrane, Barnie (?) Nasoff was on council and was Reeve of Ansonville, Max Kaplan Kirkland Lake council, Nicky Korman was Mayor).
21.11: Fred relates anecdotes about Roza Brown, the first Jew in Swastika / Kirkland area.
23.36: Fred relates anecdotes about Hyman and Max Kaplan (brothers-in-law) who ran businesses in Kirkland Lake.
25.26: Rabbi Rabinowitch was a long-standing rabbi in Kirkland Lake.
27.26: Discusses the demise /closure of the synagogue in Kirkland Lake. Remained open until 1979. Last Rosh HaShana services were held in 1977.
28.05: Discusses the situation with the Timmins Jewish community.
30.05: Discusses the plight of a poor Jewish family, the Mallins.
AC 024: Side B
0.15: Fred suggests some reference material. “Northland Post” – good source for info about Jewish community in Northern Ontario. “Silverland” – book that describes Kurt’s Hotel. Special edition of a newspaper that published an article on the history of the Jewish community.
1.48: The Jews of the North have themselves as self-sufficient community during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. They were represented in the first Jewish Congress.
3.33: Fred notes that there was a Jewish presence in most towns in Northern Ontario. He suggest that Haileybury may have been the exception due to antisemitic sentiments.
4.10: Mentions a fire in Haileybury in 1916/17 and the Jewish contribution to fire relief.
4.25: Relates an anecdote re. Hyman Kaplan and Haileybury.
5.48: Describes the location of a few small communities (Elk Lake, Charlton)
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Fred Schaeffer and Stephen Speisman discuss some of the earliest synagogues established in Northern Ontario.

In this clip, Fred Schaeffer relates colourful anecdotes about the first Jewish settler in the Swastika-Kirkland area, Roza Brown.

Name
Harry Finkelman
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
1972
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Harry Finkelman
Number
AC 028
Subject
Antisemitism
Education
Occupations
Pharmacists
Interview Date
1972
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Morris Silbert
AccessionNumber
1978-2-2
Total Running Time
028A: 46 minutes 028B: 7 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Notes
Parts inaudible
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Harry Finkelman was born in 1909 in Hamilton and was one of the first Jewish pharmacists in Hamilton. His father was a tailor and an active member of several Jewish organizations including the Hess Street Synagogue and the Talmud Torah. Harry attended the Talmud Torah and was involved with Young Judea and groups/clubs from the Talmud Torah. In this interview he discusses the early history of Hamilton and descrimination against Jews entering the professions.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Finkelman, Harry
Silbert, Morris
Geographic Access
Hamilton (Ont.)
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 028, Harry Finkelman\AC 028, Finkleman transcript.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Harry Finkelman shares some of his early memories of the Hamilton Jewish community in the 1910s. He notes name of shops, shop owners, streets and describes some of the synagogues

In this clip, Harry Finkelman describes the difficulty for a Jew in the 1920s to find a placement to complete a mandatory 3 year apprenticeship before he could enter Pharmacy at University.

Name
Morris Fishman
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
12 July 1977
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Morris Fishman
Number
AC 036
Subject
Antisemitism
Nonprofit organizations
Communities
Synagogues
Societies
Food
Occupations
Clubs
Interview Date
12 July 1977
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Richard Menkis
Total Running Time
Side 1 46 minutes Side 2 17 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Morris Fishman was born September 29, 1916 in New Jersey. His family moved to Welland, Ontario when he was an infant. He attended elementary and high school in Welland and completed two years at the University of Toronto. He worked in a family men's wear business in Welland. Morris was actively involved in the Jewish community including participation in the Anshe Yosher Congregation, the Jewish Cultural Society and the Jacob Goldblatt B'nai Brith Lodge. He was married and had two daughters.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Fishman, Morris
Geographic Access
Welland
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 036 Fishman\AC 036 transcript.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Morris Fishman praises the efforts of the non-Jewish community in Welland, Ontario to support the building of a new synagogue following a fire that destroyed the old synagogue in 1954.

In this clip, Morris Fishman discusses the Jacob Goldblatt B’nai Brith Lodge in Welland, Ontario.

Name
Joe and Minna Loewith
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
June 3, 1984
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Joe and Minna Loewith
Number
AC 037
AC 038
Subject
Agriculture
Immigrants--Canada
Interview Date
June 3, 1984
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Morris Silbert
Total Running Time
AC 037 Side 1 31 minutes AC 037 Side 2 31 minutes AC 038 Side 1 8 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Joe and Minna Loewith immigrated to Canada in November 1938 from Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. They settled on a farm outside of Hamilton, Ontario.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Loewith, Joe
Loewith, Mina
Silbert, Morris
Geographic Access
Hamilton
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 037 and 038 Loewith\AC 037 and 038 transcript.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Minna Loewith recalls the events beginning in the summer through the fall of 1938 that led her family to emigrate from Czechoslovakia to Canada.

In this clip, Minna shares some of her earliest recollections of when she and her family arrived in Canada in November 1938.

In this clip, Joe Loewith explains the conditions for Czech immigration to Canada set by the CPR and how they were met.

Name
Dr. Coleman Solursh
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
January 3, 1985
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Dr. Coleman Solursh
Number
AC 040
AC 041
Subject
Physicians
Societies
Occupations
Interview Date
January 3, 1985
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Morris Silbert
Total Running Time
040A: 34 minutes 040B: 31 minutes 041A: 11 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Coleman Solursh was born in Toronto in 1906. Graduated as a physician in 1932. Worked as a Lodge Doctor. Involved in the Toronto Jewish Lodge Doctors Association. Worked in the field of Family Medicine and was appointed Chief of the Department of Family Practice at Mount Sinai Hospital. Appointed Associate Chief of Medicine at Baycrest, Jewish Home for the Aged. Married to Zelda Singer, third generation Canadian. Zelda's maternal grandfather was appointed Colonization Chairman in 1897 for Baron de Hirsch settlement for Jewish immigrants. Zelda's father, Manny Singer, was first Jewish pharmacist in Toronto. Zelda's uncle, Fred Singer, was the first Jewish Member of Parliament for Ontario.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Solursh, Coleman
Silbert, Morris
Mount Sinai Hospital
Singer, Zelda
Geographic Access
Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Dr. Coleman Solursh describes a meeting between executives from the Toronto Jewish Lodge Doctors' Association and representatives from various Jewish Lodges. The meeting resulted in significant changes to the way medical services and payment were provided to the physicians.

In this clip, Dr. Coleman Solursh describes his role as Chief of the Department of Family Practice in the new Mount Sinai Hospital in 1953. He explains how this department pioneered the model for Family Practice within a hospital setting across Canada.

Name
Cyrus Coppel
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
21 July 1976
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Cyrus Coppel
Number
AC 061
AC 062
Subject
Communities
Families
Interview Date
21 July 1976
Interviewer
Larry Troster
Total Running Time
061A: 46:22 minuets 061B: 45:27 minuets 062A: 45:55 minuets 062B: 28:58 minuets
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Cassette tapes were digitized in 2012
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Cyrus Coppel son of Aaron Coppel and Chaya (Gertrude) Seigel was born in 1911 in Galt Ontario. Cyrus remained in Galt throughout his life and became a central figure within it's Jewish community. Cyrus initially worked as a mechanic and later worked in the office of an auto shop trading in auto parts. Cyrus also traded in livestock as a hobby. Cyrus Coppel was one of the founders of the B'nai Israel Synagogue in Galt.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Coppel, Cyrus
Troster, Larry
B'nai Israel Synagogue (Galt, Ont.)
Geographic Access
Galt
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Cyrus Coppel discusses the growth of Galt's Jewish community following the Second World War and the need to purchase a new and larger synagogue to accommodate the growing population.

In this clip, Cyrus Coppel discusses the difficulties of raising Jewish children in a small town.

Name
Montague Raisman
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
11 July 1982
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Montague Raisman
Number
AC 064
Subject
Nonprofit organizations
Human rights
Antisemitism
World War, 1939-1945
Interview Date
11 July 1982
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Jack Lipinsky
Total Running Time
064: 39 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Notes
Low sound quality
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Montague Raisman came to Canada from England in 1926. He was actively involved in B'nai Brith Toronto Lodge and held positions of office. He served as the Commanding Officer for the B'nai Brith Air Cadet Squadron in Toronto during the Second World War. He was instrumental in the formation of the Joint Public Relations Committee, a united Jewish voice in response to pro-Nazi activity.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Raisman, Montague
B'nai Brith
Lipinsky, Jack
Canadian Jewish Congress
Geographic Access
Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Montague describes the formation of the B'nai Brith Air Cadet Squadron during the Second World War. He discusses the recruitment and training of the officers and cadets. He explains how this squadron was instrumental in changing recruitment qualifications to allow entry of new immigrants and black cadets.

In this clip, Montague Raisman discusses the events leading up to an association between B

Name
Rabbi Dr. David Monson
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
1 Dec. 1982
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Rabbi Dr. David Monson
Number
AC 070
Subject
World War, 1939-1945
Religion
Interview Date
1 Dec. 1982
Quantity
1
Interviewer
(not stated, likely Jack Lipinsky)
Total Running Time
070A: 27 minutes 070B: 11 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Rabbi David Monson came to Toronto from Ottawa in June 1939 to serve as the rabbi of the Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue. He served on the board of the Brusnswick Talmud Torah. He was a member of B'nai Zion and B'nai Brith and was the long-serving rabbi of Beth Shalom.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Monson, David
Canadian Jewish Congress. Ontario Region
Shaarei Shomayim Congregation (Toronto, Ont.)
Lipinsky, Jack
Geographic Access
Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Rabbi Monson discusses his early positive working relationships with rabbis within the Toronto Jewish community and explains how sectionalization became a post WWII phenomenon.

In this clip, Rabbi Monson discusses the role and responsibilities of the Canadian Jewish Congress in Toronto from 1939 to 1948.

Name
J.B. Salsberg
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
Sept. 1985
Source
Oral Histories
Name
J.B. Salsberg
Number
AC 071
Subject
Labor movement
Labor unions
Women
Demonstrations
Interview Date
Sept. 1985
Quantity
1
Total Running Time
071A: 44:50 minuets 071B: 35:55 minuets
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Joseph Baruch Salsberg (1902-1998) was a labour leader, political activist, politician, newspaper columnist and a man who dedicated his life to Yiddishkeit and the advancement of social justice. He was active in various Jewish organizations, including; the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, and the New Fraternal Jewish Association. In 1938 he was elected as Alderman on Toronto’s City Council and elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1943. He is well remembered by contemporaries, such as Sam Lipshitz, as a "champion of the people', committed to social justice, the plight of the working-class, and the preservation of Jewish culture.
This oral history includes Salsberg's personal reminiscences on the Toronto Jewish community, the Polish Jewish community and issues related to women's labour and the unions in the garment industry.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
International Ladies' Garment Workers Union
Salsberg, J. B. (Joseph B.), 1902-1998
Geographic Access
Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
Side 1:
0.0-6.30: Joseph Baruch Salsberg was born in Poland in 1902 to Abraham and Sara Salsberg. Abraham migrated to Toronto in 1910 and Joseph followed with his mother and two younger sisters in 1913.
6.30-18.39: Prior to 1913 Poland was primarily a peasant and agricultural society with the majority of the Jewish population living and working as tradesmen in the villages. Salsberg discusses the difficult relationship between the Poles and Jews under the power of the Czar.
18:40-24.14: Salsberg discusses the Canadian government’s collaboration with the CP Railroad to launch advertising campaigns attracting potential immigrants to come and live in Canada.
24.22-33.24: Salsberg discusses the experiences of his mother as a young Jewish immigrant and her adjustment to life in Toronto.
33.25-37.30: Salsberg discusses the Ward, an area between University and Yonge as being the heartland of early Jewish settlement. He describes the area as being the natural choice for Jews to live, the rents were cheap, Synagogues and community centers were nearby as were and their places of employment. The center for Jewish shopping was Kensington Market with shops along McCaul and Baldwin Streets, shopping at Eatons was reserved for “special occasions”.
37.32-39.50: Salsberg discusses the hardships faced by Polish immigrant Jews arriving in Toronto after World War One.
39.52-44.45: Salsberg discusses his father an Orthodox man who eventually went into the junk business and became one of the founders of the first Talmud Torah, his mother was active in the Ladies Auxillary of the School and remained it’s President for 50 years.
End
Side 2:
0.03-5.37: Salsberg discusses the religious and cultural divisions that dominated social and communal living in Poland under Czarist rule and the resulting division between Jews and non- Jewish Polish immigrants in Toronto
5.38-8.28: Salsberg discusses the example set by his mother on matters of religious observance and importance of the woman’s role in the family.
8.29-11.08: Salsberg discusses his mother’s activities outside the home. Sarah Salsberg was the first woman to challenge the burial custom of not allowing husband and wife to be buried side by side. Sarah won her challenge and was buried alongside her husband.
11.10-12.28: Salsberg discusses his orientation towards labor Zionism and his parent’s reaction to his political views. Sarah Salsberg was a “broad-minded” woman and friendly with those active in the movement, while his father clung to his own group.
12.29-13.53: Salsberg discusses the garment trade and the organizers who become members of the Ladies Garment Workers Union. Salsberg goes on to speak of his mother’s approval and secret admiration of the women in the Ladies Garment Union.
13.54-14.44: Salsberg discusses the role of Jewish immigrant women using the example of the Eatons strike in 1911 led by Jewish tailors, both men and women.
14.45-15.00: Salsberg discusses the Triangle Fire in New York as the impetus that led to the birth of the ILGWU in America and the ILGWU’s influence on the Canadian Garment industry.
15.03-15.40: Salsberg discusses the New York Yiddish Dailies the “Forward” and Tagblat delivered and read daily by Toronto’s Jewish community as another factor in the establishment of the Ladies Garment Workers Union in Canada.
15.41-20.39: Salsberg discusses the introduction by Eatons to changes in production methods that would have tailors, mostly men, taking on the job of women finishers. The refusal by the tailors to take away the jobs of women would lead to the first sit down strike by tailors in Canada.
20.40-21.20: Salsberg discusses the recognition of women’s rights in the early garment workers unions. The Dressmakers section of the ILGWU in Toronto was predominantly women who led strikes and fought on picket lines.
21.21-23.44: Salsberg discusses Union sentiment within the Jewish community and the enforcement by some of the more militant women on community shopkeepers to use Union labels on their products.
23.45-24.39: Salsberg discusses single Jewish women who confronted with financial hardship worked in predominately Jewish factories.
24.40-26.07: Salsberg discusses the economic nature of the garment industry, the competition and undercutting in the industry factories and the continuous strikes and stoppages by employees opposed to wage cuts.
26.08-31.15: Salsberg discusses the important contributions in the areas of the labor force, education and social responsibility made to Ontario by Jewish immigrant women. Women worked alongside men in order to improve their economic position and establish themselves within the community. Jewish women placed a great emphasis on education and as a result a high percentage of their children would graduate from institutions such as Harbord Collegiate and Jarvis Collegiate with scholarships. Salsberg speaks of his late wife Dora Wilensky who graduated from Jarvis Collegiate with the highest mark of any girl student in Ontario earning a five-year scholarship to McMaster University and becoming a prominent Social Worker within the Jewish community.
31.16-33.09: Salsberg discusses the differences in opportunity for young Jewish men and young Jewish women. As the only boy in the family he was expected to set the path by going to a theological school in NY but to the dismay of his parents he became radicalized in leftist politics.
33.10-35.55: Although Salsberg’s parents were never involved in the labour movement and disagreed with his leftist philosophy, they were pleased by his election in 1938 as Alderman on Toronto’s City Council and his election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1943.
End
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Joseph Salsberg discusses the events that led to the birth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in America and the ILGWU's influence on the Canadian Garment Industry.

In this clip, Joseph Salsberg discusses the first sit down strike by tailors in Canada in recognition of women

Name
Isidore Kaplan
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
3 June 1975
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Isidore Kaplan
Number
AC 009
AC 010
Subject
Business
Communities
Interview Date
3 June 1975
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Sophie Milgram
Total Running Time
009A: 29 minutes 009B: 41 minutes 010A: 30 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Notes
Reduced sound quality at times.
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Isidore Kaplan was born in Vilna in 1910. His father was the first Jew to settle in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Isidore's father, a successful businessman, opened a general store in 1915 and a movie theatre in 1923. The Jewish community of Kirkland Lake grew to 135 families and was able to support a synagogue, kosher butcher and after-school cheder at its peak.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Kaplan, Isidore
Milgram, Sophie
Geographic Access
Kirkland Lake, Ont.
Cobalt, Ont.
Englehart, Ont.
Krugerdorf, Ont.
Swastika, Ont.
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
AC 009: Side 1
0.20: Isidore was born in a town near Vilna in 1910.
0.40: Isidore had 2 brothers and 1 sister, all immigrated to Canada.
1.20: Isidore’s father came alone to America initially in 1907, went back to Europe to take care of a leather business. Returned a second time to America (New York) in 1912. Came to Toronto because of a contact.
6.15: Isidore’s father and friend, Mr. Teitlebaum, moved to Cobalt in northern Ontario to pursue employment opportunities that were the result of the growth of the mining industry. Mentioned the mining of cobalt and silver.
7.50: Isidore’s father and Teitlebaum walked from Cobalt to Timmins via Engelhart and Swastika. Described the development of the Jewish community in northern Ontario. Existing Jewish cemetery. Were offered land to farm by the government in Krugerdorf. 25-30 Jewish families started farming.
9.43: Explained that some of the Jews who settled the area had escaped from the Russo-Japanese war.
10.27: Reported that the Ontario government helped to bring out Jewish prisoners who had been captured by the Japanese.
11.55: Related a story of Isadore’s father rooming with a Jewish woman, Mrs. Rosa Brown in Swastika.
14.11: Listed names (?) of the agents for the town site and explained about the purchase of lots.
15.50: Isidore’s father was the first Jew in Kirkland Lake. He opened a general store in 1915. Related a story about how he acquired the materials to build the store. Described the construction of the store.
23.00: Isidore’s father’s brother-in-law, Max, became a partner in the business in 1915.
25.45: Isidore’s father traveled to Toronto to purchase supplies. Ordered groceries from Rubin and Fine who were in the grocery business in Toronto.
28.00: Business was very slow for several months. Competed with ?Labarge?
29.00: Mrs. Brown suggested that Isidore’s father start to sell meat.
AC 009: Side 2
0.40: Mrs. Rosa Brown helped solicit customers who were uneasy about doing business with Jews.
2.55: Isidore’s father offered more competitive prices. Business increased.
5.26: Expanded business to sell ice cream. Business prospered.
7.17: Described incident which he suspected was antisemitic involving the deliberate starting of a fire in the store in 1917. The store was destroyed.
8.35: Isidore’s uncle Max Kaplan, brother to his mother was his father’s business partner.
9.30: Isidore’s father rebuilt store. Once again the business prospered.
11.45: In 1921 ?Percussis? opened a store
12.48: Isidore’s father bought furs (e.g.beaver) and sold them to Hudson’s Bay outlet.
13.30: In 1921 Isidore’s father purchased 2 lots across the street from Harry Oaks to build a movie theatre.
15.20: Related problems regarding the purchase (e.g. inability to secure a mortgage, difficulty acquiring building supplies, leveling the property, etc.). Described how Harry Oaks (who was described as a very wealthy man) arranged for Isidore’s father to borrow money from the Royal Bank. Isidore attributed this to their trusting relationship.
19.50: The building was also used as a meeting hall for 2 Lodges, Masonic and ?
20.53: The theatre was completed in 1923.
23.40: Brought the family from Poland to Kirkland Lake, 4 children, his wife and Isidore’s aunt in 1923. Isidore’s grandmother was unable to come due to health reasons. Initially, Isidore’s father purchased tickets from ?Jurovski?, local travel agent but all was lost so he purchased tickets directly from White Star line.
25.30: 1 other Jewish family in Kirkland Lake, ?Stotts?
26.00: Other Jewish families moved into Kirkland Lake around 1924 to 1927.
27.00: By 1927, there were enough Jews to have a Minyan for Yontif in Kirkland Lake. Held services in the first theatre. Before 1927, Jews traveled to Englehart for religious services.
27.55: Mentioned a large fire in northern Ontario in 1922. (Kirkland Lake was spared.) The original synagogue in Englehart was destroyed. Rented another hall for religious services.
28.28: Mentioned a pious Jew who was a farmer who acted as prayer leader, Baal Tefilah.
AC 010: Side 1
0.22: Mr. Finkleman and Mr. Levinsky paid $350 for a lot and built a synagogue in 1928 in Kirkland Lake. Originally, held services in the back of Mr. Levinsky’s candy store.
2.55: About 12-14 Jewish families in Kirkland Lake by 1927.
3.20: Jews worked as merchants or miners. Isidore’s father helped find jobs for miners. Listed names of local merchants.
6.50: Reported 135 Jewish families in Kirkland Lake. Cited incidents of antisemitism. E.g. Isidore’s uncle who served on town council could not be elected Mayor because he was Jewish, antisemitic comments.
7.58: In 1975, reported that 8 Jewish families remained in Kirkland Lake, Shul was closed. Jews have moved from surrounding areas.
9.23: First Rabbi, Ruben, came to Kirkland Lake in 1928.
11.55: Next Rabbi, ?Luvich? originated from Holland. Related story about how Isidore’s, uncle Max approached a member of parliament, Russell Gordon, in order to prevent the Rabbi from being sent back to Europe.
13.45: Jewish community in Kirkland Lake continued to grow until 1937. Reported community decline with a downturn in the economy with the outbreak of the Second World War, a mining strike and closures of mines.
18.50: Synagogue rebuilt in 1945. The bima was purchased from a synagogue in Montreal by Mr. Stott. The bima had been built in Hungary.
21.10: Kirkland Lake supported a local kosher butcher, Turkin
22.06: The Rabbi from Kirkland Lake traveled by train to Jewish communities in outlying areas.
22.55: Discussed high rate of intermarriage.
24.35: Jewish education taught by Rabbi in after-school program.
25.16: Reported that children of founding Jewish families tended to be University educated. Children left Kirkland Lake and did not return.
Source
Oral Histories

Isidore Kaplan's father was the first Jewish resident of Kirkland Lake, Ontario. In this clip, Isidore relates his father's journey in 1912 from Toronto to Kirkland Lake in northern Ontario via Engelhart and Swastika.

In this clip, Isidore Kaplan describes the decline of Kirkland Lake, Ontario

Name
Ben Himel
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
Jan 24, 1983
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Ben Himel
Number
AC 135
Subject
Education
Fraternal organizations
Labor unions
Zionism
Interview Date
Jan 24, 1983
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Stephen Speisman
Total Running Time
135A: 26:40 minutes 135B: 29:20 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Notes
Interview does not start at beginning.
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Biography
Ben Himel was Vice President and founder of the Borochov School and Kindergarten. Himel was affliated with the Poale Zion,Jewish National Workers Alliance (Farband), the Independent Workers Circle and The Board of Jewish Education
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Himel, Ben
Speisman, Stephen
Geographic Access
Toronto
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Benjamin Himel discusses the ideologies of Canada's Labor Movements during the 1930s and 1940s.

In this clip, Benjamin Himel discusses the Zionist movement within the Toronto Jewish community during the 1930s and 40s.

Name
Tobie Taback
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
February 23, 1983
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Tobie Taback
Number
AC 136
Subject
Immigrants--Canada
Nonprofit organizations
Interview Date
February 23, 1983
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Jack Lipinsky
Total Running Time
34 minutes 58 secons
Conservation
Copied November 2006
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Biography
Tobie Taback was the long-time secretary for the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society in Toronto. He retired in 1982.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (Toronto, Ont.)
Taback, Tobie
Lipinsky, Jack
Geographic Access
Toronto
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Tobie Taback discusses the helplessness faced by JIAS in bringing immigrants out of Europe during the period of Canada's strict "no immigration" policy.

In this clip, Tobie Taback discusses the activities of Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS) employees during the years 1937-39, the obstacles they faced vis a vis immigrant applications and the "parcels to Russia and Poland" aid program run by JIAS.

Name
Dr. Alexander Brown
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
May 4, 1977
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Dr. Alexander Brown
Number
AC 140
Subject
Education
Interview Date
May 4, 1977
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Stephen Speisman
Total Running Time
Side 1: 46 minutes 22 seconds Side 2: 41 minutes 13 seconds good
Conservation
Copied August 2003
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Biography
Dr. Alexander Brown was a leader in the field of Jewish education in Toronto. He held various positions with Toronto's Board of Education and the Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto. He was actively involved with other Jewish organizations, such as Canadian Jewish Congress and United Jewish Welfare Fund. Dr. Brown was born in the Ukraine in 1909 and was the son of Louis and Bessie Brown.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Brown, Alexander
Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region (Toronto, Ont.)
Board of Jewish Education (Toronto, Ont.)
United Jewish Welfare Fund (Toronto, Ont.)
Associated Hebrew Schools (Toronto, Ont.)
Geographic Access
Toronto
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Dr. Brown describes his tenure as Executive Secretary of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), its organizational structure, and the CJC's position within the Toronto Jewish Community.

In this clip, Dr. Brown discusses the Board of Jewish Education, the Welfare Fund and the Canadian Jewish Congress in relation to the subsidization of Associated Hebrew Schools

Name
Rabbi Elimelech Ittamar
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
May 11, 1976
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Rabbi Elimelech Ittamar
Number
AC 141
Subject
Education
Immigrants--Canada
Rabbis
Synagogues
Zionists
Interview Date
May 11, 1976
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Doris Newman
Total Running Time
Side 1: 46 minutes Side 2: 19 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
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Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Rabbi Ittamar was born in Poland. He came to Toronto in 1923. He attended Landsdowne and Ryerson Public Schools in Toronto for one year and then continued his education at a theological seminary in New York which later became Yeshiva University. Throughout his life, Rabbi Ittamar was an ardent Zionist. From 1930 until June 1932, Rabbi Ittamar served as Rabbi of Beth Jacob and Adas Yisroel Synagogues in Hamilton. He then worked as principal of the Seattle Talmud Torah and attended graduate school at the University of Washington for three and a half years. He served for 20 years in Detroit as rabbi and president of Yeshiva. He made Aliyah in 5715 (1955) when he was invited by Chief Rabbi Herzog to become secretary of the Chief Rabbinate. He was married (nee Unger) in 1936 and had 2 children, Tamar and Yehoshua.
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sound recording
Name Access
Ittamar, Elimelech
Geographic Access
Toronto
Hamilton
Detroit
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G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 141, Rabbi Elmelech Ittamar\AC 141 notes.pdf
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Rabbi Ittamar shares some of his early memories as a boy in Toronto.

While attending Yeshiva in New York, Rabbi Ittamar headed the debating team. In this clip he describes his first English-speaking public presentation while representing the debating team in 1930 at the Jewish People’s Institute in Chicago.

Name
Mina Sprachman
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
December 12, 1978
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Mina Sprachman
Number
AC 142
Subject
Architects
Buildings
Occupations
Interview Date
December 12, 1978
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Stephen Speisman
Total Running Time
AC142: 31:34 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
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Biography
Abraham Sprachman (1896-1971) was as Toronto based architect who in partnership with Harold Kaplan in the firm Kaplan & Sprachman, was well-known for the design of Art deco and Art moderne movie theatres during the 1930s and 1940s and for designing buildings for Jewish communities across Canada from the 1930s to 1960s. Abraham married his cousin Mina Sprachman in 1921. They had two children: Mandel and Sheila. Mandel followed in his father's footsteps and also became a nationally recognized and acclaimed architect. Both specialized in theatre design and renovations. Mandel became an architect best known for his restoration of the Elgin Wintergarden.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Kaplan & Sprachman
Kaplan, Harold
Sprachman, Abraham, 1896-1971
Speisman, Stephen
Sprachman, Mina
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Mina Sprachman discusses her husband's architectural firm of Kaplan and Sprachman, its Jewish clientele and the firm's commissions to design and renovate theatres, hospitals and synagogues across Canada.

Name
Jennie Goldstein and Mr. and Mrs. Boris Coopersmith
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
January 26, 1975
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Jennie Goldstein and Mr. and Mrs. Boris Coopersmith
Number
AC 147
AC 148
Subject
Theater, Yiddish
Interview Date
January 26, 1975
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Stephen Spiesman
Total Running Time
AC147A: 44. minutes
AC148B: 45. minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
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Biography
Jennie Goldstein immigrated from Russia to Toronto in 1914. While living and working in The Ward, Jennie married Harry Goldstein, who was noted as both a "dresser" and actor in Toronto's Lyric and Standard Theatres. After Harry's passing Jennie became a supplier of costumes for the Yiddish Theatre. In 1920, to help support the family, Jennie opened a 'deli" stand alongside the original Shopsy's deli located in the area of Kensington Market. Jennie and Harry's daughter Bess married Boris Coppersmith whose parents, Yossel and Nessie, owned a variety store at Spadina and Baldwin Street.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Coopersmith, Bess
Coopersmith, Boris
Goldstein, Jennie
Harris, Harry
Lyric Theatre
Pasternak, Chanina
Speisman, Stephen
Standard Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Geographic Access
St. John's Ward (Toronto, Ont.)
Kensington Market (Toronto, Ont.)
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Jennie Goldstein describes the early years of Toronto's Yiddish theatres such as the Tivoli and the Standard, and actors such as Harry Harris and Chanina Pasternak.

In this clip, Jennie Goldstein describes the performances and actors of the Lyric Theatre circa 1914

Name
Max Federman
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
March 19, 1976
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Max Federman
Number
AC 149
AC 150
Subject
Labor
Labor unions
Occupations
Industries
Interview Date
March 19, 1976
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Ben Schneider
Total Running Time
AC149A: 30. minutes AC149B: 30. minutes AC150A: 1. minute
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Max Federman was born in Poland. In 1919, Max moved to Germany where he attended school. He joined his father in Toronto in 1920. A union leader, labour Zionist and ardent-Communist, Max became actively involved in the union movement and served as representative of the Local Fur Workers Union. He was involved in a twenty year battle with the Communist leadership of the International Furrier Union until they disbanded and merged with the International Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union. Max was involved in Jewish community organizations including the Histadrut, Borochov School, and the United Jewish Welfare Fund.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Goldman, Emma
Federman, Max
Schneider, Ben
Geographic Access
Toronto
Germany
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G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 149, 150, Max Federman\AC 149, 150 notes.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Max Federman describes the conflict between the Federation of Labour (F of L) and Communist International Union (CIU) from 1938-1956. He discusses the steps in which the International Fur and Leather Union disaffiliated with the International Union to join the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union in 1956.

In this clip, Max Federman discusses his early involvement with a trade union while living in Germany in 1919.

Name
Dora Till
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
May 4, 1983
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Dora Till
Number
AC 151
Subject
Immigrants--Canada
Families
Labor
Labor unions
Women
Occupations
Interview Date
May 4, 1983
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Stephen Speisman
Total Running Time
46 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
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Biography
Dora Till (nee Tobias) was born in New York City in 1896. She came to Toronto in 1900. She married Morris Till in 1918. They had one daughter, Cecile. As a youth, Dora was involved with Herzl Girls and the Boot and Shoe Society. Dora was active in community service and contributed greatly to social service work. She was co-founder and first President for Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home, Vice-President of the Hebrew Maternity Aid Society, a board member for the Jewish Family and Child Services, an executive for the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, Honourary Vice-President of United Jewish Welfare Fund, on the board of Canadian Jewish Congress and past President of the Naomi Chapter of Hadassah-WIZO.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Herzl Girls Boot and Shoe Society, 1920
Mothers and Babes Summer Rest Home
Baycrest Hospital
United Jewish Welfare Fund
Beth Tzedec Synagogue
Timothy Eaton Company
Till, Dora
Geographic Access
Toronto
Bronte
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Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Dora Till discusses some of the services provided by Hebrew Maternity Aid.

Dora Till was co-founder and first President for Mothers and Babes Summer Rest Home. In this clip, Dora describes the efforts to solicit and fundraise on behalf of the Mothers and Babes Summer Rest Home.

Name
Kalmen Kaplansky
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
September 20, 1985
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Kalmen Kaplansky
Number
AC 109
Subject
Antisemitism
Human rights
Immigrants--Canada
Labor
Labor unions
Refugees--Canada
Interview Date
September 20, 1985
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Phyllis Platnick
Total Running Time
109A: 60 minutes 109B: 6 minutes
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Kalmen was born January 5, 1912 in Poland. He worked in Montreal as a typesetter and linotype operator. He was active in the labour and human rights movements in Canada. Kalmen served as the director of the Jewish Labour Committee in 1945. In collaboration with the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canadian government and trade unions the Jewish Labour Committee helped Jewish displaced persons immigrate to Canada by securing them employment. Kalman sat on the Refugee Status Advisory Committee for the federal government.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Kaplansky, Kalmen
Platnick, Phyllis
Jewish Labour Committee
Geographic Access
Toronto
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Transcript
AC109 Side 1: 00:20 Kalmen was involved with discrimination work from 1946-1957. 1:40 Kalmen served as the director of the Jewish Labour Committee. 3:28 Kalmen comments on the reaction of the Canadian Jewish community to relocating displaced Jews after the war. Received support from the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Jewish Immigration Aid Society. 4:26 Kalmen lists some of the obstacles to bringing displaced Jews to Canada. Kalmen cites the trade unions as the first obstacle. He provides reasons to explain the trade unions’ historical opposition to immigration. 8:04 Other opponents were the Communist Party and Textile Workers who raised concerns about potential “slave labour” conditions. Kalman describes how the Jewish Labour Committee was able to persuade opponents to accept new immigrants to Canada. Jewish Labour Committee suggested (a) immigration should be based on economics, not race, religion or ethnicity and (b) tripartite proposal involving consultation and cooperation among trade unions, management and government. 10:25 Kalmen lists leaders of various trade unions in Montreal (Bernard Shane of Garment Workers, Maurice Silcoff of Hat & Cap Makers) Toronto (Max Federman of the Furrier Union) and Winnipeg (Sam Herbst of the Ladies Garment Workers Union). Hyman Reiff. 11:50 Discusses some of the problems with the selection process in the camps. Bella Meiksin worked in the camps. 13:50 Notes that bringing in new immigrants saved the garment industry because there was a shortage of skilled labourers. 14:40 Describes some of the challenges and complaints of new immigrants. 16:24 Kalmen discusses how he helped new immigrants arrange to bring over relatives and describes some of their desperate measures. 18:30 Kalmen sat on the Refugee Status Advisory Committee which advised minister on refugee claims. 19:49 Kalmen explains that the goal was to get people out of the camps and the arrangement with the trades served as a vehicle to get them out. He discusses areas of contention such as preferred destinations, work commitment, involvement with JIAS, etc. 24:10 Discusses who was responsible for transportation costs for the new immigrants. 25:10 Explains how names of displaced persons in the camps were obtained. 26:47 Discusses the preponderance of bribery and corruption after the war. Kalmen relates some anecdotes involving corruption and perjury. He notes that while the Canadian government was very strict on the issue of perjury, the U.S. government was softer. 31:25 Notes that jealousy, denunciation was common among new immigrants. 34:38 Reports that the Jewish Agency was not favourably disposed to the project. The project was supported by the Canadian Jewish Congress and JIAS. 39:39 Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy – Chaired by C.D. Howe (acting Minister of Mines). Others involved were McKinnon, Gibson, St. Laurent, Mitchell & Fournier. McNamara was Deputy Minister of Labour. Mentions Sam (sp?) Hirsch as an activist in N.Y. & sent to Winnipeg to organize the dressmakers. 53:28 Working in the trades provided entry into Canada and entry into a job but many did not stay continue with the work. 55:50 Selection committee members – (?)Silcoff, Federman,(?) Shane, Solomon, Enkin. 56:50 The project brought in more than 2,500 Jewish workers (plus their families). Order: ladies garments, men’s garments, milliners, furriers. 58:22 Discusses some of the advisory committees of the time. Briefly mentions the governmental ministries, their responsibilities and names of the people involved. AC109 Side 2 00:48 Kalmen suggests the determining issue in Canadian immigration policy was the French – English rivalry. 2:06 Mentions that Mackenzie King arranged for voluntary quotas for Japanese with India and China 3:10 Notes that Canada’s leadership / approach was white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant. Discusses that systemic discrimination and endemic prejudice was part of life.
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Kalmen Kaplansky discusses some of the obstacles to the relocation of displaced Jews to Canada after the Second World War. He describes a tripartite proposal involving consultation and cooperation among trade unions, management and government that enabled the immigration project.

In this clip, Kalmen Kaplansky explains that bribery, corruption and perjury were a way of life after the Second World War. He relates anecdotes as illustration.

Name
Max Enkin
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
April 13, 1986
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Max Enkin
Number
AC 113
AC 114
Subject
Antisemitism
Immigrants--Canada
Labor unions
Nonprofit organizations
Occupations
Refugees--Canada
Interview Date
April 13, 1986
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Phyllis Platnick
Total Running Time
AC113: 19:40 minuets
AC114:
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Digitized 11/28/2011
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Max Enkin was founder and a leading member of the Jewish Vocational Service of Toronto. The original purpose of the organization was to help survivors of the Second World War find employment. In 1947, as Associate Administrator and representative for the Men's Clothing sector in Ontario, Max Enkin became involved in The "Tailor Project". The project was designed to identify and select skilled tailors from the DP camps of Europe and help to settle them in Canada.
Max Enkin was awarded the OBE in Recognition of services to Wartime Prices.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Enkin, Max
Platnick, Phyllis
Geographic Access
Toronto
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AC 113
History of Immigration of Skilled Tailors from the Displaced Person Camps after WWII 1946 –
0.07: How the project got started
0.20: Canadian Government in relation to skilled workers in Canada 1946
1.19: Canadian Jewish Congress in relation to DP camps in Europe.
2.45: Canadian Government restricted immigration 1946.
3.11: Canadian Jewish Congress in relation to Garment industry.
4.13: Canadian Government in relation to UNRRA and immigration to Canada (UNRRA: United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration founded 1943 and became part of the UN in 1945).
5.29: JIAS Jewish Immigrant Aid Services.
5.39: Congress and Immigration to Canada.
5.58: Garment industry Union and Immigration to Canada
6.30: McNamara Deputy Minister of Labour from Winnipeg (circa 1946).
7.18: Labor and Management Representatives of the ILGE 1946 (ILGE - International Ladies Garment Workers Union?). Mr. Sam Hirsch of Winnipeg, representative of the Union for Men & Women. Mr. Bernard Shane of Montreal, Executive Director of the ILGE. Mr.? Solomon of Montreal, representative of Manufacturers Union of Montreal. Sam Posluns of Toronto representative of the Women’s Union. Max Enkin of Toronto, representative of the Men’s Union Ontario.
9.05: Beginning of the project by the ILGE to bring Jews from DP camps in Europe to Canada. Trip to London England by the 5 member body of ILGE. Difficulty in gaining clearance papers to gain entry into Germany & Austria.
11.34: C.D Howe Canadian Cabinet Minister serving under McKenzie King Meeting with ILGE in Canada House, London England.
13.20: Enkin meeting with C.D. Howe and question of quota of Jews allowed into Canada.
14.13: Federal Liberal Government, Quebec and Ottawa vis a vis Jewish immigration.
15.5: McKenzie King, Prime Minister and Ernest Lapointe, Member of Parliament/Quebec and immigration of Jews.
15.56: Jewish population, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg 3 largest centers 17.0-19.4: Antisemitism in Canada.
End: Rest of tape 19:50-30:42 inaudible.
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Max Enkin discusses the organizations, government departments and union representatives involved in the development and implementation of the Tailor Project.

In this clip, Max Enkin discusses the Liberal Government

Name
Lillian (Slovens) Gollom
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
December 8, 1986
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Lillian (Slovens) Gollom
Number
AC 122
Subject
Families
Women
Occupations
Antisemitism
Hospitals
Interview Date
December 8, 1986
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Morris Silbert and Nancy Draper
Total Running Time
Side 1 31 minutes
Side 2 17 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Lillian Gollom (nee Slovens) was born in Russia in1903. She came to Toronto around 1907. She attended Ogness Public School and Canada Business College. She married Nat Gollom in 1924 and had a son and a daughter. Lillian was actively involved with the "Sinais" and served as President of the organization in 1939. The fund-raising efforts of the the "Sinais", Ezrat Nashim and "Twigs" assisted with the establishment of the first Mount Sinai Hospital on Yorkville Ave. Lillian was an involved volunteer at the hospital. Lillian remained active with the Sinais following the building of the second Mount Sinai Hospital on University Ave. when the organization's focus shifted to fund-raising for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Mount Sinai Hospital
Dworkin, Dorothy
Canadian Cancer Society
Singer, E.F.
Gollom, Lillian
Geographic Access
Toronto
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Lillian Gollom discusses the establishment and early days of the first Mount Sinai Hospital. She describes the fund-raising efforts of Ezrat Nashim, the Sinais and the Twigs.

In this clip, Lillian Gollom relates anecdotes pertaining to the impact of the Great Depression on Jewish families in the early 1930s.

Name
Morris Silbert
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
1986
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Morris Silbert
Number
AC 123
AC 124
Subject
Agriculture
Immigrants--Canada
Nonprofit organizations
Communities
Interview Date
1986
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Brooky Robins
Total Running Time
AC123A - 30. minutes AC123B - 31. minutes AC124A - 46. minutes. AC124 Side2 - 44 minutes good
Conservation
Copied August 2003
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Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Morris Silbert was born in 1912 on a farm outside of Hamilton. His parents came from Lithuania. His father arrived in Canada in 1905 and his mother and 3 older siblings joined him in 1906. Morris spent his youth growing up on farms and at age 16 in 1928 his family moved to Hamilton. In his youth, Morris was involved in several Jewish organizations including Young Judea, AZA and Hashomer Hatzair. He was married in 1938. He served in the army in 1943 during the Second World War. Morris was second vice president of the Council of Jewish Organizations, served on the executive, was chairman of the nursery school board and participated on several committees.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Silbert, Morris
Robins, Brooky
Geographic Access
Hamilton
Wentworth
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Oral Histories

In this clip, Morris Silbert shares memories about Jewish peddlers who were welcomed on his family's farm in southern Ontario. He includes names of peddlers with descriptions of their wares and their carts.

In this clip, Morris Silbert shares memories about Jewish peddlers who were welcomed on his family

In this clip, Morris Silbert describes the restructuring of the Hamilton Jewish community as a result of the Depression in the 1930s. He explains how the Council of Jewish Organizations was formed to replace United Hebrew Association.

Name
Edna Jacobs
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
December and March 1986
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Edna Jacobs
Number
AC 125
Subject
Families
Travel
Education
Occupations
Antisemitism
Girl Guides
Religion
Volunteers
Interview Date
December and March 1986
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Nancy Draper
Total Running Time
Side 1: 36 minutes Side 2: 46 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Edna (nee Frankel) Jacobs was born March 20, 1904 in Toronto, Her parents, Sigmund and Paula Frankel, were early immigrants from Germany. Edna attended Havergal from kindergarten through high school. She studied general arts for two years at the University of Toronto. She married Arthur Jacobs, the son of Rabbi Solomon Jacobs, in 1936. Together, they had one daughter, Patsy and a baby who died during infancy. Edna was involved with the Girls Club and the Junior Council of Jewish Women.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Toronto Girl's Club
Toronto Council of Jewish Women
Geographic Access
Toronto
Germany
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G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 125 Jacobs\AC 125 notes.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Edna Jacobs shares memories from a trip she and her family took to Biblis, Germany to celebrate her grandparents’ golden anniversary.

In this clip, Edna Jacobs reminisces about several prominent Toronto Jewish families.

Name
Dr. Esther Volpe and Ida Siegel
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
January 4, 1971
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Dr. Esther Volpe and Ida Siegel
Number
AC 161
AC 162
Subject
Immigrants--Canada
Families
Nonprofit organizations
Interview Date
January 4, 1971
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Eva Kayfetz and Stephen Spiesman
Total Running Time
AC161 Side 1: 47 minutes AC161 Side 2: 47 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Notes
Toronto Historical Society lecture
Use Restrictions
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Esther Volpe (nee Shulman) was born on February 24, ?1898. As a child, she and her family briefly lived in Romington, ON and Havlock, ON. Her family later settled in Toronto. In her youth, she participated in the Herzl Girls' Club. She attended University of Toroonto in the Faculty of Arts. She married Dr. Aaron Volpe in 1921. Esther was involved in several Jewish organizations, including the old Mount Sinai Medical Auxillary, Council of Jewish Women, Hadassah, UJA Appeal, JIAS and BBYO and non-Jewish organizations, including Toronto Local Council of Women. She represented the Jewish community of Toronto on the Wartime Price and Trade Board and helped organize the Ontario Food Council.
Ida Siegel (nee Lewis) (1885-1982) was born 14 February 1885 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1894, Ida and her family moved to Toronto. On 14 February 1905, Ida married Isidore Hirsch Siegel. They had six children. An extremely active communal leader, Ida helped found Daughters of Zion in 1899, the Herzl Girls Club in 1904 and Hadassah in 1916. In the mid-1920s, Ida established The Mothers' and Babes' Rest Home,a camp for poor women with young children. She helped organize the first free Jewish dispensary in Toronto which eventually developed into Mount Sinai Hospital. Ida was also very active in womens peace movements, the Toronto Board of Education and the Toronto Bureau (elected to Board, 1930-36) of Jewish Education. In 1917, Ida helped to organize Federation of Jewish Philanthropies which later became the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Volpe, Esther
Siegel, Ida
Kayfetz, Eva
Speisman, Stephen
Hadassah-WIZO
National Council of Jewish Women
Geographic Access
Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In 1947, Esther Volpe was elected President of the National Council of Jewish Women. In this clip, Esther discusses how, with the support of the United Welfare Fund, the Canadian Jewish Congress and JIAS, she helped make arrangements for groups of Jewish refugees who settled in Toronto.

In this clip, Esther Volpe explains her involvement in the creation of the "Good Age Club" the first recreational program for Jewish seniors.

In this clip, Ida Siegel relates anecdotes from her childhood growing up in downtown Toronto.

Name
Ida Siegel
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
July 22, 1971
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Ida Siegel
Number
AC 166
AC 167
Subject
Charities
Women
Interview Date
July 22, 1971
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Eva Kayfetz
Total Running Time
AC166A: 47.minutes AC166B: 5. minutes AC167A: 29. minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Ida Siegel (nee Lewis) (1885-1982) was born 14 February 1885 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1894, Ida and her family moved to Toronto. On 14 February 1905, Ida married Isidore Hirsch Siegel. They had six children. An extremely active communal leader, Ida helped found Daughters of Zion in 1899, the Herzl Girls Club in 1904 and Hadassah in 1916. In the mid-1920s, Ida established The Mothers' and Babes' Rest Home,a camp for poor women with young children. She helped organize the first free Jewish dispensary in Toronto which eventually developed into Mount Sinai Hospital. Ida was also very active in womens peace movements, the Toronto Board of Education and the Toronto Bureau (elected to Board, 1930-36) of Jewish Education. In 1917, Ida helped to organize Federation of Jewish Philanthropies which later became the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Hadassah-WIZO of Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Ida Siegel discusses the formation of Hadassah in Canada and how it evolved into Hadassah-WIZO. She describes the creation of separate Hadassah branches.

In this clip, Ida Siegel explains the events that led up to the formation of a committee that she headed to write a Constitution for Hadassah. She describes some of the struggles she encountered in the process.

Name
Harry Fidler
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
1977-1978
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Harry Fidler
Number
AC 175
Interview Date
1977-1978
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Allan Grossman
Total Running Time
30 minutes 35 seconds
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Harry Fidler was born in 1900 in Ostrovtze. He came to Toronto at age ten in 1910. He married in 1922. Harry was very active with the Ostrovtzer Synagogue and served on the executive since 1922.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Ostrovtzer Synagogue
Grossman, Allan
Fidler, Harry
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 175 Fidler\AC 175 notes.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Harry Fidler and Allan Grossman discuss the decline of the Ostrovtzer Synagogue.

In this clip, Harry Fidler and Allan Grossman reminisce about the Ostrovtzer Synagogue at the Cecil Street location.

Name
Blanche Haber
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
18 Dec. 1987
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Blanche Haber
Number
AC 189
Subject
Boardinghouses
Families
Immigrants--Canada
Occupations
Interview Date
18 Dec. 1987
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Kaylee Gollom Miller
Total Running Time
Side 1 - 31 minutes Side 2 - 31 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Blanche Haber (née Heller) was born in a small town in Russia in 1893. She came to Toronto at age eight. Her father worked as a peddler. She married Isadore Haber in 1915. Three of her five children died from illnesses in their childhood. Before her marriage, Blanche worked as a seamstress. Isadore worked as a tailor, primarily for Eaton's. Like her mother, Blanche took boarders into her home at 112 Parliament Street once married.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Haber, Blanche, 1893-1994
Haber, Isadore, 1887-1982
Manischewitz (family)
Geographic Access
Halifax (N.S.)
Parliament Street (Toronto, Ont.)
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 189 Haber\AC 189 notes.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Blanche Haber describes taking boarders into her mother’s and her own home at 112 Parliament Street.

In this clip, Blanche Haber fondly remembers the warm relationship that developed between her family and the Manischewitz family. She explains that Joe Manischewitz boarded at her family’s home while his family built a matzah factory in Toronto.

Name
Nathan Cassels
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
November 7, 1988
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Nathan Cassels
Number
AC 207
Subject
Jewish musicians
Interview Date
November 7, 1988
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Carol Rosenthal
Total Running Time
Side 1 30 minutes 30 seconds Side 2 13 minutes 30 seconds
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Nathan Cassels was born in Montreal in 1903. As a child, his family moved to Toronto. He studied clarinet with Mr. Glass and performed with the Russian Juvenile Concert Band for two years. He left school after grade three and started working as a plumber at age 13. He played clarinet with the 110th Regimental Band during the First World War. His music career spanned 60 years. He moved to Detroit in 1926 because of the many Big Band opportunities. He returned to Toronto in the 1930s where he played with the Romanelli Band for 18 years and free-lanced as a studio musician. He later divided his time between work as a traveling textile salesman and musician. He was married and had one daughter born in 1937.
Material Format
sound recording
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 207 Cassels\AC 207 notes.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Nathan Cassels recalls a trip taken by the Russian Juvenile Concert Band to Detroit, Michigan.

In this clip, Nathan Cassels reminisces about his early career as a musician with various bands.

Name
Anne Edell and I.S. Edell
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
February 7, 1984
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Anne Edell and I.S. Edell
Number
AC 208
Subject
Recreation
Education
Occupations
Antisemitism
Interview Date
February 7, 1984
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Phyllis Platnick
Total Running Time
AC 208A: 40 minutes AC 208B: 18 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Anne Edell grew up in Toronto. She worked as a bookkeeper in several local Jewish businesses. During summer vacation, Anne would travel to Port Dalhousie, Crystal Beach and Jackson's Point. I.S. Edell grew up in Toronto. He graduated in education from OCE but was unable to find a teaching position. He worked at the post office for a short time and later in his father-in-law's business.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Edell, Anne
Edell, I.S.
Platnick, Phyllis
Geographic Access
Port Dalhousie
Crystal Beach
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Anne Edell shares memories of summer vacations.

In this clip, I.S. Edell discusses the antisemitism encountered by Jewish graduates in the field of education in Ontario in the 1930s.

Name
Ben Kayfetz
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
March 4, 1984
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Ben Kayfetz
Number
AC 210
Subject
Antisemitism
Human rights
Law
Nonprofit organizations
Interview Date
March 4, 1984
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Phyllis Platnick
Total Running Time
46 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Notes
Christie Pits riot at approximately minute 16:00
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Benjamin Gershon Kayfetz was born on December 24, 1916 in Toronto. He married Eva Silver and had two children. Ben graduated from the University of Toronto in 1939, with a B.A. in modern languages. He worked as a high school teacher in Huntsville and Niagara Falls between 1941 and 1943. 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. He worked 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. He was awarded the Samuel Bronfman Medal by the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1985 and 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.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Balmy Beach Swastika Club
Canadian Jewish Congress
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Geographic Access
Toronto
Kew Beach
Christie Pits
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Digital file
Transcript
G:\Description\Oral Histories\AC 210, Ben Kayfetz\AC 210 notes.pdf
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Ben Kayfetz describes the skirmish between antisemitic and Jewish youths at Kew Beach in July 1933.

In this clip, Ben Kayfetz discusses the laws that restricted “Jews or other objectionable races” from purchasing, owning or renting properties in Toronto and summer resort areas. He describes the steps taken to change the law.

Name
Genya Intrator
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
November 26, 1990
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Genya Intrator
Number
AC 223
AC 224
Subject
Antisemitism
Women
Human rights
Interview Date
November 26, 1990
Quantity
2
Interviewer
Mindy A. Skapinker
AccessionNumber
1993-9-1
Total Running Time
AC 223A: 46 minutes AC 223B: 46 minutes AC 224A: 16 minutes
Conservation
Copied August 2003
Use Restrictions
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Genya was born in Moscow and moved as a child to Palestine in the 1930's. She was a member of the Israeli underground and served in the Israeli army during the War of Independence. She played a central leadership role in the Soviet Jewry Movement in Canada. She founded "Women for Soviet Jewry" and served as chair of "National Soviet Jewry Committee". She helped with creation of the Toronto "Group of 35", a Soviet Jewry activist group. Genya had regular contact by phone with Soviet activists and relayed their information back to Israeli consuls. She was an advisor to B'nai Brith on Soviet Jewry. She started an Inter-religious Task Force for Soviet Jewry in Canada.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Intrator, Genya
Skapinker, Mindy A.
Canadian Jewish Congress
Geographic Access
Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Audio cassette
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Genya Intrator discusses the formation of the "Group of 35", a Soviet Jewry activist group.

In this clip, Genya Intrator describes how information about Soviet Jews was passed on to the Israeli consulate in New York who tracked all the data. She explains how she was appointed as a "secret agent" who would report information from her many phone calls to the Soviet Union.

Name
Frank Schleifer
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
June 29, 1976
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Frank Schleifer
Number
AC 084
Subject
Canada--Armed Forces
World War, 1939-1945
Recreation
Families
Interview Date
June 29, 1976
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Larry Troster
Total Running Time
084A: 46 minutes 084B: 11 minutes
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Frank was born January 4, 1916 in Toronto. His parents were Charles and Mary (nee Noble) Schleifer. At age 3, his family moved to Sturgeon Falls. At age 6 in 1922, his family moved to Brantford where his mother's family lived. Frank left school at age 16 to work at the family Cigar and Soda Fountain store when his father became ill. He opened Frank’s Billiard Parlour from 1941 to 1946. He was drafted into the army in 1943 where he served in the artillery and infantry. He started to work in Unemployment Insurance with the Federal government. Frank married Bertha (nee Maltifer ?) in 1937. They had one son, Charles, born in 1947. As a youth Frank was involved with AZA (B'nai Brith youth organization). He was a member of B'nai Brith and served on the executive of the synagogue in Brantford.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Schleifer, Frank
Troster, Larry
Geographic Access
Brantford
Sturgeon Falls
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, Frank Schleifer shares some early memories of growing up in Brantford, Ontario. He mentions some of the original Jewish families who settled in Brantford.

In this clip, Frank Schleifer describes his involvement in a variety of Jewish activities and groups during his youth, including AZA, summer camp and baseball.

Name
Dr. Sydney Wise
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
September 29, 2003
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Dr. Sydney Wise
Number
AC 278
Subject
Business
Immigrants--Canada
Physicians
Interview Date
September 29, 2003
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Ellen Scheinberg
Total Running Time
Side 1: 46 min.
Side 2: 30 min.
Conservation
Digital copy made April 11, 2011.
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Dr. Sydney Wise was a Toronto physician and was a long-time volunteer at the Ontario Jewish Archives. Sydney was married to Mimi Wise who had been an active member of Hadassah-Wizo for most of her life. Sydney's father, Anshel Wise, opened a cigar store on Dundas street, which later turned into a steamship agency called A. Wise Travel Bureau that helped bring immigrants over from Europe.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Wise, Anshel
Wise, Sydney
Scheinberg, Ellen
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

In this portion of the interview, Syd describes his father, Anshel Wise’s, cigar store and travel business that opened in the Ward in 1918. Anshel was one of the first steamship agents in Toronto.

In this portion of the interview, Sydney describes his entry into medical school at the University of Toronto. He outlines some of the challenges encountered by Jewish medical students in their search for internship positions.

Name
Bess Maltinsky Shockett
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
November 18, 2004
December 7, 2004
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Bess Maltinsky Shockett
Number
AC 288
Subject
Committees
Labor
Labor unions
Interview Date
November 18, 2004
December 7, 2004
Quantity
4
Interviewer
Jillian Gould
Total Running Time
AC 288A: 31 minutes
AC 288B: 31 minutes
Conservation
Copies made for Bess' son Michael on four 90 minute tapes
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Bess was born in the Ukraine in 1920. She immigrated to Montreal in 1925 with her parents and two brothers. She married Barry Shockett in 1952 and had three children. As an adolescent, Bess became very active in the Jewish community and joined the United Jewish People's Order. She helped organize a union for workers in the knitting industry and later did the same for fur workers. She also travelled to Winnipeg to organize a laundry workers union. She helped found the New Fraternal Jewish Association in 1960 and was actively involved in the organization. She became very active in the Toronto Jewish community, particularly in regards to supporting and launching several innovative Yiddish programs. She staffed the office of the CJC's Committee for Yiddish in its early years, and was Director from 1974 to 1989.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
United Jewish People's Order
New Fraternal Jewish Association
Committee for Yiddish
Geographic Access
Montreal
Toronto
Original Format
Audio cassette
Copy Format
Digital file
Source
Oral Histories

Bess became President of the Youth Division of the United Jewish People’s Order in Montreal in 1946. In this clip, Bess shares some of her memories and experiences as a representative to the First International Conference of Youth held in Prague in 1947.

In this clip, Bess discusses the events that led up to the formation of a new left-leaning organization, the New Fraternal Jewish Association, which broke away from the United Jewish People’s Order in 1960.

Name
Mel Lastman
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
June 1, 2006
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Mel Lastman
Number
AC 290
Subject
Religion
Families
Interview Date
June 1, 2006
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Ellen Scheinberg
Total Running Time
60 min.
Conservation
Copied November 2006
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
Melvin Douglas Lastman was born in Toronto on March 9, 1933, the son of Rose and Louis Lastman. Raised in the Kengsington Market area, he attended Ryerson Public School and Central High School of Commerce where he was president of the school council. Lastman left high school to work at an appliance store and, in 1955, opened his own appliance store. By the late 1960s, he owned a chain of 40 stores, Bad Boy Appliances, throughout Ontario. Lastman lived in North York and, in 1969, ran successfully for the North York Board of Control. In the 1972 municipal election, he was elected as mayor of North York, a position he held for 25 years until North York became part of the newly created City of Toronto on January 1, 1998. With the provincially mandated creation of the new City of Toronto by the amalgamation of Metropolitan Toronto and the six local municipalities, Lastman decided to run for mayor against the other major contender, former City of Toronto mayor Barbara Hall. He won the 1997 election and was sworn in on January 1, 1998. Lastman was easily re-elected in the 2000 mayoralty election; however, in February 2003, Lastman announced that he would not be seeking re-election in the November municipal election.
In 1953, Mel Lastman married Marilyn Bornstein. They have two married sons and six grandchildren.
Material Format
moving images
Name Access
Anshei Minsk Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
Lastman, Mel
Scheinberg, Ellen
Geographic Access
Toronto
Kensington Market
Original Format
Digital videocassette
Copy Format
DVD
Source
Oral Histories

In this clip, former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman remembers playing as a child at the Minsk Shul in Kensington Market.

Name
Michele Landsberg
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
August 2006
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Michele Landsberg
Number
AC 294
Subject
Religion
Families
Buildings
Interview Date
August 2006
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Ellen Scheinberg and Aviva Heller
Total Running Time
60 min.
Conservation
Copied November 2006
Use Restrictions
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Biography
An award-winning columnist, staunch feminist, and tireless activist for social justice and progressive causes at home and abroad, Michele Landsberg was a well-known and prominent Torontonian during the mid to late 20th century. According to a biography posted by the University of Windsor where Landsberg was a Distinguished Visitor in Women's Studies in October 2003, her 'zest for wanting to change the world has its roots in her childhood: growing up as a Jewish girl in 1950s Toronto, where sexual stereotyping and objectification were rampant and overt antisemitism was acceptable.' As a result, Ms. Landsberg tackled a wide-range of related issues, often grounding her columns in events, places, and issues of particular interest to Torontonians.
Born on July 12, 1939, Ms. Landsberg attended Toronto public schools, spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, and graduated from the University of Toronto with honours in English language and literature in 1962. She was dissuaded from pursuing a master's degree by her male professors, and instead became a reporter at the Globe and Mail newspaper and launched a remarkable career as a journalist and writer. In addition to freelance and full-time stints with the Globe and Mail (1962-1965; 1985-1988), Chatelaine magazine(1965-1971), and the Toronto Star (1978-1983 and 1989-2003), Ms. Landsberg frequently appeared on television and radio and wrote three best-selling books She garnered awards, including the first National Newspaper Award for column-writing, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and the 2002 Governor-General's Award in Commemoration of the 1929 Persons Case, and received honourary degrees from several Canadian universities. She also served on the boards of many community organizations, such as CARAL (Canadian Abortion Rights League) and Opportunity for Advancement.
After her retirement from the Toronto Star in 2003, Ms. Landsberg planned to pursue other writing projects and to spend more time at home in her garden and with her family: husband Stephen Lewis, three grown children, and two grandchildren. In September 2005, she was acclaimed as the new Chair of the Women's College Hospital Board when the Hospital ended its partnership with Sunnybrook Hospital.
Material Format
moving images
Name Access
Anshei Minsk Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
Landsberg, Michele
Scheinberg, Ellen
Heller, Aviva
Geographic Access
Toronto
Original Format
Digital videocassette
Copy Format
DVD
Source
Oral Histories

Canadian author and journalist Michele Landsberg provides recollections of attending the Minsk Synagogue with her grandfather in the 1940s

Name
Gail Freeman
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
24 Mar. 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Gail Freeman
Number
AC 414
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
24 Mar. 2015
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Naomi Raichyk
Total Running Time
52 minutes
Biography
The middle of three siblings, Gail Freeman was born in Johannesburg in 1953. The daughter of committed Jews, she fondly remembers the beautiful seders her parents would host, sometimes having as many as forty-to-fifty people joining them for Pesach. Growing up, she attended a Jewish day school in Linksfield, a positive experience that would later influence her decision to enroll her own children in Jewish day schools in Canada. Overall, it was a happy, almost utopian childhood, which took on a slightly more complicated character when she developed a political consciousness as a teenager.
It was at a cousin’s wedding that Gail met her future husband. Years later, she would joke that they met under the chuppah. The young couple married a short time after meeting and had two children in South Africa before moving to Canada and having two more.
Upon arriving in Canada, the family received a warm welcome from Toronto’s South African community, which she describes as “out of this world.” Gail, who has a master of education degree in educational psychology, found work in the Jewish school system while her husband found work as an accountant. The family’s immigration a success, her parents followed suit, thereby ensuring that her children would grow up with grandparents nearby.
Today, Gail feels proud to be a Canadian, not least because Canada allows her to be proud of her Jewish identity. As she puts it, in Canada “everybody [is] from everywhere.”
Material Format
sound recording
Language
English
Name Access
Freeman, Gail, 1953-
Geographic Access
Irving (Calif.)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:19 Gail was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1953.
00:30 Gail discusses her grandparents' immigration to South Africa from Russia. Her maternal grandparents were from (Kadam?) and her paternal grandparents were from Vilna. Her mother was born in Vilna and her father was born in South Africa.
01:17 Gail's mother is the youngest of three sisters. Her father is the eldest of three, with a younger sister and brother. Gail has an older brother, Hilton, living in New York, and a sister, Felicia, living in California.
01:55 Gail's father was born in the suburbs of Doornfontein.
02:14 Gail's parents were married in 1948. They worked in the building industry.
02:26 Gail describes her family's practice of Judaism while she was growing up.
03:39 Gail's parents originally lived in the neighbourhood called Bez Valley but moved to Linksfield, a Jewish neighbourhood where the King David Jewish day school was built.
04:25 Gail attended King David from nursery to high school. She briefly describes the school.
05:22 Gail mentions that another branch of King David later opened in Victory Park. She notes other Jewish day schools in Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria. Later Yeshiva College opened.
06:15 Gail notes that her own school experience influence how she selected schools or her own children, who attended the Associated Hebrew Day School in Toronto.
07:28 Gail notes that there is a King David alumni group on Facebook. She mentions class reunions and a fundraiser spearheaded by former schoolmaster Elliott Wolf.
08:25 Gail earned a bachelor of arts with a major in Hebrew and sociology at the University of Witwatersrand. She earned a teaching diploma at the Hebrew Seminary. She completed her practical work at King David School. She returned to university and earned a bachelor's in social work and a master of education degree in educational psychology.
09:56 Gail discusses her involvement with "Boys Town" as principal in a children's home.
11:30 Gail shares some childhood memories concerning friends and school while growing up in Linksfield.
12:40 Gail notes that she became more politically aware as an adolescent. She identifies some of the issues that challenged her morally as a Jew. She comments that her ability to protest was limited due to the restrictions imposed by the police state.
14:14 Gail describes her warm relationships with her nannies.
15:11 Gail describes Jewish life in Linksfield. She attended weekly Shabbat services with her friends at King David. She recalls fond memories attending holiday services with her family at the Jewish Hebrew Congregation in Doornfontein, where her father was chairman. (Gail has a photo of the synagogue in her home.)
16:26 Gail participated in a group bar mitzvah through school.
17:44 Gail identifies a strong commitment to Israel as a major component of her Jewish tradition. They were encouraged to volunteer in Israel, support Israel and move to Israel. She recalls David Ben-Gurion visiting her school.
18:27 Gail was married in 1977. She describes how she met her husband and where they lived after they were married (Norwood, Berea and Linksfield).
20:34 Gail worked as a social worker for Jewish Family and Child Services and for Yeshiva School. Her husband worked as an accountant.
22:30 Gail discusses how the circumstances in South Africa that contributed to their decision to emigrate. She explains how she and her husband considered applications to the United States, Canada, Australia, and Israel. She discusses the trauma involved with leaving family and moving to an unknown, new country.
27:02 Gail's parents moved to Canada two years later.
28:13 Gail describes what they were allowed to take out of South Africa and what they brought.
29:25 Gail shares some of her initial impressions upon arrival in Toronto.
30:15 Gail describes how she was able to secure work as a guidance counsellor with Associated Hebrew Day Schools of Toronto while in Washington for a Tay Sachs conference.
31:40 Gail explains how through family connections they were able to find housing in a neighbourhood with an established South African community. She recalls how she was well-received by the South African community.
34:22 Gail and her family arrived in Toronto in 1988.
34:30 Gail recollects more difficulty fitting into the Toronto Jewish community and having few Toronto friends.
36:30 Gail describes the decision to move to a new subdivision near Associated Hebrew Day Schools on Atkinson in 1993, her current home.
37:50 Gail's family joined the Chabad Flamingo synagogue after the move, but has since returned to the synagogue on Green Lane to be with her parents.
38:48 Gail describes the relative ease of adapting to Canadian society and her pride living in Canada.
40:28 Gail worked as a principal for a Jewish day school in Irvine, California for three years.
41:50 Gail discusses some differences in child-rearing between South Africa and Canada.
43:33 Gail explains that her reasons for teaching her children the values of respect and kindness stem from her personal experience living in South Africa.
44:30 Gail has returned to South Africa twice over thirty years, but her husband has not returned.
45:38 Gail discusses some of the differences, both positive and negative, she observed when she returned to South Africa.
47:00 Gail notes that her children feel a strong connection to South Africa (e.g. history, culture, accent, foods, politics).
50:00 Gail speaks with pride about the contributions made by South Africans who have immigrated to Canada.
Source
Oral Histories

Crying on Route to Canada

Like a Little Kibbutz

A Closed Door

Name
Stephen Pincus
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
26 April 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Stephen Pincus
Number
AC 415
Subject
Immigrants--Canada
Interview Date
26 April 2015
Interviewer
Jessica Parker
Total Running Time
1 hr. 23 min.
Use Restrictions
Restriction noted by interviewee on video/oral history release form: The foregoing is subject to OJA obtaining my prior written consent prior to placing any of the interview on the internet (other than password protected communications)
Researches should be directed to the access copy created by Stephen Pincus.
Biography
Although he grew up in South Africa, Stephen was born in England where his father was studying. When they returned to South Africa in 1963, they visited Israel on the way, and five-year-old Stephen fell in love with the exotic, young Jewish state.
As a teenager, Stephen was active in Habonim, South Africa’s largest Zionist youth movement and became head of that movement in the late 1970s, running the largest Jewish youth camp in the world. Stephen was also elected chair of South Africa’s Zionist Youth Council, the umbrella body for all-Jewish youth organizations in the country. He and his wife Michelle then moved to Israel with a Habonim group that established Kibbutz Tuval in the western Galilee.
In 1982 Stephen came to study in Toronto. He served as administrator of Bialik Hebrew Day School and as camp director of Camp Shalom, while completing MBA and LLB degrees, and was awarded the Gold Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. Stephen and Michelle started a family and both their own parents immigrated to Toronto.
Stephen is a senior partner and executive committee member at Goodmans LLP, is widely regarded as one of Canada’s leading business lawyers, and has played a pioneering role in the development of the country’s capital markets. He is is the founding chair of the Canada Africa Chamber of Business, a director of Kew Media Group, a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, chair of the board of Makom, and founder of Kaleidoscope, a unique multi-dimensional Israel engagement program.
He and his wife Michelle; their two married children, Daniel and Lisa; granddaughter Olivia; and therapy dog Mannee all live in Toronto.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Pincus, Stephen, 1958-
Geographic Access
England
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:56 Stephen discusses his family background, including notable forebears, his grandparents' immigration in the early 1900s, and the largely Lithuanian composition of the South African Jewish community.
03:04 Stephen discusses his South-African-born parents' backgrounds and how they met.
05:14 Stephen mentions that he was born in England in 1958, while his family was abroad for his father's medical studies. He lived there until they returned to South Africa in 1964.
06:25 Stephen remembers arriving in South Africa and all the family that had come to greet them who hadn't seen his parents for eight years. He mentions that all correspondence happened via mail.
08:01 Stephen describes his family's relationship to Judaism: They were Orthodox in name, but took a pragmatic approach. Stephen went to public school and received a lot of his Jewish education from Habonim.
09:27 Stephen describes his bar mitzvah celebrations. Stephen remembers preparing his speech. He enjoys public speaking and this was a starting point.
10:49 Stephen talks about the Habonim youth movement. Stephen's involvement began in his early teens. He became the head of the movement in the late 1970s and ran the camp for a couple of years. Stephen is organizing a trip this summer to Israel for alumni of Habonim.
14:50 Stephen explains that he has a foot in South Africa, Canada, and Israel.
15:43 Stephen talks about the unique environment in South Africa that contributed to Zionism. He talks about the Soweto Uprising in 1976. Israel was a place where South African Jews could create something better. Stephen finds it ironic that some see in Israel a continuation of apartheid.
19:53 Stephen talks about his parents' view of his involvement in Habonim. He relates a story where his father became upset when Stephen participated in a march protesting a United Nations resolution instead of studying for an exam.
21:37 Stephen's father was risk-averse and practical. He wasn't keen on Stephen moving to Israel and would discourage his son indirectly. Stephen went to Israel anyway.
22:20 Stephen's parents did not give voice to strong political views. Stephen remembers being at a poetry reading at a friend's parents' house when he was eight. It was his first mixed-race experience. Stephen and his friends were politically active in high school and as undergraduate students.
24:27 Stephen explains how Zionism and Israel were his major focus while the South African situation was secondary. Stephen remembers visiting Soweto a number of times.
26:00 Stephen discusses the paradox of under apartheid while opposing it. He sees this as a central issue that white South Africans of his generation faced. He discusses the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings of the 1990s.
28:24 Stephen recounts how Israel fell into the arms of South Africa after being pushed away by various African states in the 1970s.
29:03 Stephen describes his involvement in resuscitating Machon Le'Madrichei Chutz La'Aretz, a year-long leadership course for youth leaders in Israel. South African Jews would defer their army service to participate. In 1975, the South African government determined it would not let Jewish students defer for this purpose.
31:16 Stephen discusses his decision to leave South Africa.
32:51 Stephen discusses how not going on Machon is one of his regrets.
33:28 Stephen discusses the places he considered immigrating to. He was focused on going to Israel and was part of a group that went to live on a kibbutz in the western Galilee.
37:24 Stephen discusses previous trips to Israel. The first time he went to the country was when his family went from England to South Africa. This was before the Six-Day War and he remembers barbed wire in Jerusalem. Stephen thinks he probably fell in love with Israel at this time.
38:32 Stephen explains the meaning of the words machon and garin.
39:23 Stephen describes the kupah meshutefet ("common treasury box") economic system. The system didn't last very long.
40:16 Stephen describes how his family and friends reacted to the news that he was making aliyah.
41:09 Stephen discusses a car trip he and his wife took throughout South Africa. He relates how they were caught in a flood and ended up being taken in by a black family. Stephen reflects on the irony of their situation.
44:07 Stephen discusses he and his wife's arrival in Israel. Stephen was accepted by Hebrew University to study law. Ultimately, he and his wife chose to move to Toronto at the beginning of 1982.
45:06 Stephen shares what he brought with him to Toronto from South Africa.
47:20 Stephen discusses his initial trip to Canada in January 1982. He thinks that it was the coldest winter Toronto experienced until 2014. He discusses some of the hurdles he faced adjusting to the new climate.
51:33 Stephen discusses settling in Canada and going to school.
56:25 Stephen discusses opening an issue of the Canadian Jewish News and seeing that a summer camp was looking for a director. He was director for a couple of years and he and his wife would spend their summer at the camp.
57:05 Stephen discusses how Habonim was different from Camp Shalom, the camp he worked at in Canada.
58:24 Stephen discusses his transition from being involved in a Zionist and socialist youth movement to ending up in business and corporate law. He notes that he has shifted in a number of respects in terms of his perspective on economic values, social values, and religious values.
1:02:55 Stephen discusses his experience integrating into Canadian society.
1:05:20 Stephen contrasts his parents' experience coming later in life with his own experience. They had a wonderful time when they came because there was a large community of retired South African expatriates by then.
1:09:54 Stephen discusses the role of the local Jewish community, and local South African Jewish community, played in his acclimatization.
1:11:59 Stephen discusses how he came to work for Goodmans.
1:14:17 Stephen discusses the differences he has noticed between Canadians and South Africans. He feels that South Africans as a group tend to be more direct than Canadians. In his opinion, South Africans lie somewhere between Israelis and Canadians in terms of directness.
1:17:51 Stephen discusses his journey, coming from a secular Zionist background and starting a program of Jewish learning later in life.
1:20:40 Stephen discusses his own approach to keeping Jewish traditions and customs. He is observant, but not dogmatic.
1:26:11 Stephen discusses his two children. His son is a medical resident and his daughter is finishing up a law/business administration program.
1:27:09 Stephen discusses synagogues he is involved with.
1:29:10 Stephen discusses cultural differences he has experienced raising his children in Canada.
1:33:04 Stephen explains the decisions he and his wife made regarding their children's education.
1:35:15 Stephen describes his children's relationships with their grandparents.
1:37:31 Stephen answers the question, "Do you feel Canadian?"
1:41:55 Stephen discusses his involvement with the Canada-South Africa Chamber of Business.
1:42:42 Stephen discusses the differences in being involved with the ex-South African community more broadly and the ex-South African Jewish community.
1:44:58 Stephen discusses his children's connections to South Africa, which he says are quite limited.
1:46:37 Stephen shares food words and expressions that he shared with his children and which they now use.
1:47:55 Stephen offers a few final remarks about his decision to immigrate to Canada and the relationship between Canadian identity, Jewish/Israeli identity, and South African identity.
Source
Oral Histories

Israel, the Opportunity for New Beginnings

An Indoor Life

Name
Percy Skuy
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
May 12, 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Percy Skuy
Number
AC 416
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
May 12, 2015
Interviewer
Naomi Raichyk
Total Running Time
1 hr. 19 min.
Use Restrictions
NONE
Biography
The child of Latvian immigrants to South Africa, Percy grew up in the small town of Vryheid, South Africa with his parents and two siblings. Years later, when asked what the population of Vryheid was, Percy’s mother replied, “Forty Jewish families.” Those families formed a tight-knit community that was able to support not only a synagogue and a rabbi, but a Talmud Torah school and a butcher’s shop with a kosher section.
At seventeen years old, Percy began an apprenticeship to become a pharmacist. He qualified in 1954 and worked for a year before leaving South Africa to travel the world. He never planned on visiting Canada, but found himself in Toronto for a stopover and ended up liking the city so much he decided to stay. In 1959, Percy became the first South African pharmacist registered in Ontario.
Percy met his first wife, Frances Goodman, in 1960 on a blind date and married her that same year. Together, they had two children: Beth (born in 1961) and David (born in 1963). In 1961, Percy began his thirty-four-year career with Johnson and Johnson Corporation, taking on a number of roles in the company during that time. In 1977, Frances passed away. Two years later, he married his second wife, Elsa Ruth Snider.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Percy is the founder of the only museum devoted exclusively to the history of contraception. The museum is located at the Dittrick Medical History Centre in Cleveland, Ohio.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Skuy, Percy, 1932-
Geographic Access
Canada
Europe
Israel
South Africa
United States
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:30 Percy was born in 1932 in Vryheid in northern Natal, South Africa.
00:41 Percy's parents emigrated from Latvia to South Africa in 1929.
00:53 Percy discusses his parents and their early lives in South Africa and the Jewish community in Vryheid.
04:10 Percy discusses his family's practice of Judaism while growing up.
05:02 Percy's father ran a small business. Later he worked with his brother-in-law to run a mill. At age fifty-nine his father was killed in an automobile accident.
06:00 Percy discusses his mother. Percy has two siblings: an older brother, Max, and a younger sister, Rita.
07:19 Percy shares some of his childhood memories.
09:29 Percy was involved in the Habonim youth movement.
11:27 Percy reminisces about the establishment of the State of Israel.
13:23 Percy discusses his impressions of apartheid. He discusses his relationships with black men and women.
15:15 Percy discusses his involvement with an anti-apartheid group.
17:19 Percy shares a story that illustrates his opposition to apartheid. His parents were not politically active.
19:06 Percy discusses how he became interested in pharmacy and the training for pharmacists.
21:21 Percy describes his two years of travel following graduation from pharmacy.
26:58 Percy relates how, en route to a pre-arranged job in the Arctic, he serendipitously secured a job with Glaxo as a medical sales representative on a stop-over in Toronto.
29:49 Percy describes his sales route.
30:46 Percy explains how he became the first South African registered pharmacist in Ontario.
32:31 Percy describes some of his early social/business pursuits in Canada.
34:12 Percy married his wife, Francis, originally from Sudbury. She graduated from the University of Toronto in nursing.
34:26 Following travel to Europe, Israel and South Africa, Percy and Francis decided to return to live in Canada.
35:35 Percy discusses the importance of maintaining family connection despite distance.
36:41 Percy describes the slow trickle of relatives who emigrated from South Africa. He notes that he has no close relatives remaining in South Africa and comments on the disappearance of the Jewish community in Vryheid.
38:39 Percy discusses some of the challenges he faced integrating socially into the Jewish community.
40:36 Percy explains how he became involved with working for the company Ortho.
45:15 Percy explains the factors that guided his integration into Canada.
47:08 Percy discusses his involvement in the Jewish community in Toronto.
48:30 Percy contrasts his own upbringing with how he raised his own children in Toronto.
52:00 Percy discusses his grandchildren.
52:26 Percy is the founder of a museum of the history of contraception. He explains how he developed an interest in the history of contraception and how he collected artifacts.
58:18 Percy describes his work history, his involvement in professional committee work, and his pursuits following his retirement in 1995.
1:00:11 Percy explains how he found a permanent location for the museum at the Dittrick Museum at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
1:02:50 Percy married Elsa in 1979. He discusses their range of hobbies.
1:03:38 Percy discusses the three documentaries he created. The topics included the formation of the Jewish pharmacy fraternity, the history of Jewish pharmacists in Canada, and the extracurricular involvement of Jewish pharmacists in Canada.
1:06:47 Percy addresses some of the issues faced by South African Jewish pharmacists who integrated to Canada.
1:09:20 Percy lists the languages he speaks.
1:10:00 Percy reminisces about his mother. He recalls his mother's relationship with their family servant.
1:13:14 Percy describes his training in pharmacy in South Africa.
1:15:27 Percy shares stories about their family's black servants.
1:17:40 Percy reminisces about the opportunities that came his way since his arrival in Canada.
Source
Oral Histories

Becoming Canadian

The History of Contraception

40 Jewish Families

Not Long Before the Police Arrived

Name
Darrel Hotz
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
June 25, 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Darrel Hotz
Number
AC 417
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
June 25, 2015
Quantity
6 files
Interviewer
Naomi Raichyk
Total Running Time
1 hr. 36 min.
Biography
Born in 1959, Darrel grew up in Victory Park, a predominantly Jewish suburb of Johannesburg. The family—made up of Darrel, his parents, and his young brother—occupied a four-bedroom house on a half-acre of land just a short walk from the local Jewish day school. For Darrel, “Everything was pretty easy . . . growing up.” Although the family was not particularly religious, Darrel’s mother lit candles on Friday night and he attended a Zionist camp every summer. In his final year of high school, he won a Bible quiz sponsored by the South African Zionist Federation, for which he was awarded a trip to Israel to compete against other Jewish students from all over the world. Unfortunately, he did not perform as well in this second competition: Israeli yeshiva students took first, second, and third place.
Darrel’s family moved to Canada when Darrel was in his second year of university. Because there were no direct flights to Toronto from South Africa, the family flew first to Zurich and then to New York. From New York, they made their way to Buffalo, where they stocked up on goods prior to arriving in Canada. Unhappily for the Hotzes, North America was experiencing a terrible year in terms of weather and the winter jackets they had purchased in South Africa (said to be sufficient for surviving Arctic temperatures) proved inadequate. They immediately purchased a new batch of winter coats appropriate for Canada.
The Hotz family’s first few years in Canada were not easy ones. The dental credentials of Darrel’s father, an orthodontist, were not recognized and he was unable to practice for several years as a result. Darrel’s mother, who had not been in the labour force for twenty-odd years, had to return to work in order to help make ends meet. Eventually though, the family got itself settled and Darrel was able to complete his university education, going on to attend Osgoode Hall Law School and pass the bar. He worked for two law firms, one Jewish and one not, before starting his own practice.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Hotz, Darrel, 1959-
Geographic Access
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:30 Darrel was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1959.
00:47 Darrel provides a brief family history. His paternal grandfather came to South Africa from Shavl, Lithuania in 1917. His paternal grandmother came from Riga, Latvia with her family in about 1910. His father was born in a suburb of Johannesburg. His maternal grandparents were born in South Africa. His grandfather's family came from Lithuania at the turn of the century. His grandmother's family moved to England in the 1870s. His maternal great-grandfather fought in the Boer War and remained in South Africa.
03:08 Darrel discusses his grandparents' education. His maternal grandmother was educated in a convent.
04:44 Darrel explains how his mother adopted more Jewish practice following her marriage to his father.
05:15 Darrel's father was born in Johannesburg and his mother was born in Benoni.
05:32 Darrel describes how his parents met.
06:00 Darrel's father studied dentistry and specialized in orthodontics.
07:18 Darrel discusses the role of Judaism in his home. Darrel attended King David. Darrel describes his bar mitzvah.
09:03 Darrel describes his family's neighbourhood, Victoria Park.
10:12 Darrel describes his home and home life.
11:48 Darrel discusses the security situation and political leanings of the Jewish community in South Africa during his youth.
14:45 Darrel describes his minor personal involvement in politics.
15:44 Darrel discusses the good relationship between Israel and South Africa.
17:18 Darrel discusses his involvement at Habonim summer camp and the Habonim youth movement.
20:53 Darrel discusses his experience of competing in a Bible quiz in Israel after having won the contest in South Africa.
25:48 Darrel describes three subsequent trips to Israel: in 1984, in 2006, and in 2008.
28:08 Darrel explains his parents' decision to leave South Africa.
29:09 Darrel discusses conscription to the South African army.
30:40 Darrel's maternal uncle immigrated to Canada before his parents.
32:19 Darrel addresses some of the challenges faced by him and other members of his family with starting again in a new country.
36:50 Darrel discusses some of the factors and considerations that contributed to the decision to select Canada as their immigration destination.
38:49 Darrel describes his parents' look-see visit to Toronto before the family moved.
40:37 Darrel describes the application process for immigration to Canada and monetary restrictions imposed by South African government.
42:53 Darrel describes his family's journey to Canada via Buffalo, New York.
44:40 Darrel describes his family's arrival in Canada on 9 March 1979.
46:20 Darrel lists the various places his parents have lived since their arrival.
47:05 Darrel discusses some of the challenges faced by his mother when she arrived.
50:11 Darrel describes his education in Canada.
52:06 Darrel shares his views concerning the differences between Canadian and South African Jews.
55:26 Darrel discusses his son's social circle and religious and secular education history.
1:00:43 Darrel discusses how his family connected with the established South African community in Toronto.
1:03:41 Darrel describes his parents' involvement in the Jewish community.
1:09:14 Darrel discusses his career in law.
1:15:02 Darrel discusses meeting and marrying his wife, Barbara, in 2000 and their early years together. They have one son, Joey.
1:19:14 Darrel discusses Barbara and his involvement in Jewish communal work.
1:23:07 Darrel reminisces about Jewish foods eaten in South Africa.
1:24:24 Darrel explains how they chose Camp Gesher, affiliated with Habonim Dror, for Joey.
1:27:24 Darrel contemplates a return visit to South Africa.
1:31:20 Darrel mentions a few South African expressions and words.
1:32:34 Darrel offers his impressions of the differences between South Africans and Canadians.
1:33:44 Darrel reflects on his family's decision to come to Canada.
Source
Oral Histories

Being raised in South Africa

Name
Denise Rootenberg
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
June 25, 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Denise Rootenberg
Number
AC 418
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--Zimbabwe
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
June 25, 2015
Quantity
1
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
AC 418 part 1: 16 min.
AC 418 part 2: 16 min.
AC 418 part 3: 16 min.
AC 418 part 4: 4 min.
Biography
Denise Rootenberg (née Abrahamson) was born in Harare, Zimbabwe (then Salisbury, Rhodesia). One of four sisters, she grew up in a warm Jewish community that was able to sustain an Ashkenazi synagogue, a Sephardic synagogue, and a small Reform synagogue. One of her aunts ran the local chapter of the Women’s International Zionist Organization with her sister. The aunt’s sister, meanwhile, made costumes for the repertory theatre company. Denise’s aunts also did kosher catering for simchas.
Because the Jewish community in Zimbabwe was so small, Jewish parents encouraged their children to attend university in South Africa, where they were less likely to marry outside the faith. Consequently, Denise attended university in Cape Town, living in residence for three years with one of her sisters. Ultimately, the sisters decided Cape Town was not for them and moved to Johannesburg. It was in Johannesburg that Denise met her husband, with whom she had a son. In 1989, they left South Africa to come to Canada.
The couple’s first few years in Canada were difficult ones as Denise and her husband struggled to find work and adjust to Canadian society. Eventually, however, things began to fall into place. Denise found work as an editorial assistant and then became a research analyst. Her husband, meanwhile, secured a job that enabled the couple to send their son to Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto and the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT).
Denise and her husband belong to Aish Toronto. Their son married his wife at the synagogue.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Rootenberg, Denise
Geographic Access
Cape Town (South Africa)
Harare (Zimbabwe)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
00:00 Denise was born in Zimbabwe. At age eighteen, she moved to Cape Town to attend University. At age 31, she immigrated to Toronto.
00:23 Denise’s maiden name was Abramson. She tells the history of the family name.
00:55 Denise's grandparents came to Zimbabwe from Poland via Sweden before the First World War.
01:16 Denise describes the jobs of her maternal and paternal grandfathers.
02:09 Describes immediate family.
02:46 Denise discusses the Jewish community of her youth in Salisbury, Rhodesia (today Harare, Zimbabwe) comprised of three synagogues. Denise's father was president of the Ashkenazi synagogue several times.
04:24 Denise shares memories about celebrating the Jewish holidays and the involvement of her aunts in the Jewish community.
06:06 Denise attended a small Jewish day school until grade seven. She attended a public high school. She recalls the bar mitzvah party from her youth.
07:26 Denise explains why she left Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). She attended university in Cape Town, South Africa following her older sister. Other Jewish students attended university in Johannesburg.
08:40 After university, Denise and her sister moved to Johannesburg. Her sister later moved to Israel, where she married, and they later moved to the United States.
09:00 Denise discusses her husband's family. Her father-in-law grew up in Lithuania and came to South Africa, where he lived with his aunt and later married his younger cousin. Denise recounts a colourful story about her father-in-law's journey to South Africa. Denise describes her faith-in-law's various business ventures and his dealing with white and black businesses that were segregated at the time.
12:15 There were three sons in her husband's family: David, Allan, and Lennie (Denise's husband). David, the eldest, was adopted. Denise relates stories involving David and his involvement with a racist, right-wing Afrikaans movement.
15:11 Denise and her family immigrated to Toronto in 1989.
Part 2:
01:00 Denise discusses her relationships with blacks while growing up. She attributes her more liberal views to her mother's kindness. She recalls (with shame) the poor living conditions of the blacks.
02:30 Denise discusses mandatory military service in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
03:29 Denise's husband joined the police force as a way of avoiding military service. She relates a frightening incident during the Soweto riots in 1976 involving her husband while he served in the police force.
05:52 Denise recounts her husband's constant fear that he would be required to arrest someone he knew.
06:05 Denise explains why she did not get directly involved with anti-apartheid groups and politics. Her first strong awareness of apartheid rose when she entered university.
06:57 Denise moved to Johannesburg after earning degrees in English and French at university. She describes her jobs in psychometric testing and as a proofreader for manuals for military equipment.
07:41 Denise recounts a story about the father of a boyfriend who was arrested for entering the townships without a permit and was represented by Nelson Mandela.
08:33 Denise describes how she met and eventually married her husband. Their son Mark was born in South Africa.
08:56 Denise's brother Allan and his family had already moved to Toronto.
09:37 Denise reports taht her husband's family in South Africa had the tradition similar to her own of having large holiday meals and seders.
10:00 A large contigent of her husband's family immigrated to Australia and a small segment immigrated to Canada.
10:07 Denise explains her reasons for coming to Canada. She considered Australia. She discusses early regrets for having chosen Canada rather than Australia. She discusses how in hindsight, and for a variety of reasons, she made the best choice.
13:19 Denise discusses her worries stemming from being a much pampered child growing up.
14:30 Denise describes how unsettled they felt when they first moved to Canada. She recounts a story about returning to South Africa to visit family after they had been in Canada for eighteen months. Her relatives' home was vandalized.
Part 3:
00:00 As a result of this traumatic incident, Denise and her sisters made a decision not to return to South Africa.
01:28 Denise describes some of the struggles she encountered when she initially moved to Toronto and she discusses some of the factors that contributed to feeling more settled and welcomed. Specifically, she shares a story about the efforts made by a Canadian family whose son was in her child's daycare.
04:40 Denise identifies some of the differences in religious observance between South Africa and Toronto.
06:50 Denise explains her choice of education for her son.
07:35 Denise discusses her husband's educational training and lists his work history in Toronto.
08:49 Denise explains that other than education subsidies she was unaware of other services offered by Jewish agencies to assist new immigrants and those struggling financially.
09:28 Denise outlines her work experience in Toronto and some of her work experience in South Africa.
11:19 Denise expresses appreciation for the benefits and treatment she received at her workplace. Specifically, she notes how she was accomodated after returning to work following cancer treatments.
12:18 Denise discusses the evolution of her religious observance.
15:00 Denise discusses her husband's mental health. She addresses associated issues and impact of his mental health on work and family. She identifies his experience with the police in Soweto as a factory contributing to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Part 4:
02:25 Denise identifies some of the factors that have enabled her to deal with the many life challenges she has encountered.
Source
Oral Histories

We Thought we were Orthodox

Name
Hilton and Shirley Silberg
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
3 Sept. 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Hilton and Shirley Silberg
Number
AC 419
Subject
Business
Immigrants--Canada
Families
Occupations
Interview Date
3 Sept. 2015
Interviewer
Naomi Raichyk
Total Running Time
1 hr. 34 min.
Biography
Hilton and Shirley were born in Durban, South Africa in 1951. Although both were involved in the Habonim youth movement, the two did not meet until their first year in pharmacy school. After getting married and serving a brief stint in the military, Hilton left with Shirley on a trip overseas that included Europe and the United Sates, but whose ultimate purpose was the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Upon arriving in Montreal, the couple decided Canada would be a good place to live. By that point, they had resolved that they did not want their children to internalize the racial norms of apartheid South Africa. Cementing their decision was the fact Shirley’s sister was accepted into Canada shortly after the two returned to South Africa.
Hilton and Shirley’s immigration to Canada was complicated by the fact they were regarded by the government as students, not full-fledged pharmacists. When they came to Canada in August 1977, they therefore had to qualify as pharmacists, which they did by attending university while holding down full-time jobs as pharmacy technicians. Once certified, they moved to Dundas, where they opened a series of pharmacies and raised their children.
In 2007, the couple sold their Day Night Pharmacy chain to Rexall Pharma Plus. In 2014 Hilton and Shirley relocated to Toronto and now spend their time between Toronto and Vancouver to be close to their children and grandchildren.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Silberg, Hilton, 1951-
Silberg, Shirley, 1951-
Geographic Access
Dundas (Ont.)
Durban (South Africa)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Original Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:38 Shirley was born in Durban, South Africa in 1951.
00:44 Shirley discusses her family history. Her maternal grandparents came to Durban in early 1800s from England. They married in South Africa. Her paternal grandparents came to Durban from Lithuania in the late 1800s. They married in South Africa. Her father was a physician specializing in physical medicine; her mother worked as his secretary.
03:31 Shirley describes her privileged early home life.
04:26 Shirley attended Hebrew day school.
05:06 Shirley describes her education and involvement in sports.
07:28 Shirley attended the Habonim youth movement.
08:13 Shirley discusses her early memories of politics and apartheid.
09:57 Shirley describes the impact an overseas trip to Europe and Israel had on her.
12:34 Shirley explains that she and Hilton considered immigrating to Canada and Israel. Her sister had immigrated to Canada and her brother had immigrated to England.
13:31 Hilton and Shirley attended the pharmacy school in Durban.
14:48 Hilton and Shirley married and moved to Johannesburg. Hilton completed mandatory service in the army.
15:37 Hilton was born in Durban on 26 October 1951. He discusses his family history. His maternal grandparents came from Lithuania. His mother was born in South Africa. His father's family came from Lithuania. His father was born in Lithuania. Hilton shares a story about his paternal grandmother's voyage from Lithuania to Pretoria with five children. When his parents were married they moved to Durban in the mid-1950s.
17:46 Hilton discusses his parents. His mother was an occasional secretary. His father was initially a tool and diemaker. Later, he worked in business. Hilton notes that his father was a semi-professional football player.
20:30 Hilton explains that his mother had a strong Jewish identity, but was not religious.
21:06 Hilton discusses his education in public school and Hebrew school.
21:58 Hilton reminisces about his childhood.
23:25 Hilton discusses how he and his sister became competitive ballroom dancers.
25:50 Hilton discusses his bar mitzvah training.
27:02 Hilton was active in the Habonim youth movement.
27:31 Hilton shares his impressions growing up under apartheid. He discusses discrimination, restrictions, and censorship.
30:33 Hilton discusses his mandatory military service.
36:22 Hilton and Shirley discuss how they met and dated.
37:45 Hilton discusses some of the factors that triggered the couple's decision to leave South Africa.
43:07 Hilton and Shirley describe how they struggled to accumulate money before leaving South Africa.
44:12 Hilton describes the efforts made to secure work and a visa for entry into Canada.
48:31 Hilton and Shirley describe the sentiments that surrounded their departure from South Africa.
49:40 Hilton and Shirley arrived in Canada on 25 August 1977.
50:30 Shirley shares anecdotes about her first experiences with household chores.
54:20 Hilton and Shirley discuss their few acquaintances/contacts when they first arrived in Canada.
55:40 Hilton explains how his outlook has changed since he moved to Canada.
57:41 Shirley describes the challenges of juggling work and pharmacy classes at the University of Toronto. Hilton and Shirley share some examples of cultural differences between Canada and South Africa.
1:01:05 Hilton and Shirley worked as pharmaceutical technicians.
1:03:53 Hilton explains how they became partners in a pharmacy in Dundas, Ontario. Hilton and Shirley discuss how they settled in and were welcomed into the Jewish community.
1:10:05 Hilton and Shirley brought Hilton's two sisters, brother, parents, and Shirley's mother to Canada.
1:11:02 Hilton explains the circumstances that led to a split with his partners. He changed the name of the pharmacy from Amherst Pharmacy to Hilton Pharmacy. He describes the growth of the business.
1:18:00 Hilton describes the expansion and success of the business to five pharmacies.
1:20:12 Hilton discusses his involvement in the Jewish and secular communities in Dundas.
1:20:57 In 2007, the business was purchased by Rexall.
1:21:33 Shirley explains the circumstances that prompted their move to Toronto via Vancouver.
1:23:55 Shirley describes a return visit to South Africa with her two youngest children.
1:25:22 Hilton reminisces about a family trip to London and South Africa in 1980.
1:27:08 Hilton describes his discomfort during a visit to Durban, South Africa in 1986.
1:28:40 Shirley relates an anecdote that occurred during their family trip to South Africa.
1:30:46 Hilton reflects on how much he appreciates being in Canada.
1:32:50 Shirley identifies becoming Canadian citizens as a turning point in their new life in Canada.
Source
Oral Histories

https://vimeo.com/230208590

Immigration Tribulations

Who Has Left Over Matzah Balls?

The First Midnight Store

Name
Lorraine and Alan Sandler
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
12 May 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Lorraine and Alan Sandler
Number
AC 420
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
Jews--Zimbabwe
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
12 May 2015
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
1 hr. 30 min.
Use Restrictions
Partially closed.
Biography
Lorraine, the daughter of European immigrants to Africa, was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) where she grew up with her three siblings. For his part, Alan was born in Cape Town, South Africa where he grew up a single child, his only brother passing away at a young age.
Alan first met Lorraine while on vacation in Bulawayo with some friends. The two dated while Alan was doing his accounting exams and Lorraine was attending teacher’s college. They married in Bulawayo after dating several years.
After their honeymoon, Alan and Lorraine began their new life in Cape Town, where they started their family. One incident in particular prompted the couple to seriously consider leaving South Africa: Their eldest son requested to attend a movie with his nanny, which would have been illegal under apartheid.
Not seeing a future in South Africa, the family looked to immigrate. Initially, Lorraine wanted to make aliyah, but Alan felt the language-barrier would be an obstacle to finding work. Eventually, they made their way to Toronto where they attended a Shabbat dinner that persuaded them that Jewish life could flourish in Canada.
The family—Alan, Lorraine, and their two sons—arrived in Canada on August 5, 1976. Unlike many subsequent Jewish South Africans who came to Toronto, the family chose to live downtown, enrolling their children in Jewish day school. Both Alan and Lorraine took on leadership roles within Toronto’s Jewish community. Alan is a founder of the South African Jewish Association of Canada and was president of the UJA Federation of Toronto. In turn, Lorraine was chair of both the Women’s Campaign and the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre. Today, their children are married and Alan and Lorraine are proud grandparents.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Sandler, Alan
Sandler, Lorraine
Geographic Access
Bulawayo (Rhodesia)
Cape Town (South Africa)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:09 Lorraine's maiden name was Weinstock. Her mother came from Lithuania. Her father came from Poland.
00:38 Lorraine describes her parents' histories and their respective journeys to Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe).
04:56 Lorraine describes her parents' courtship and decision to marry. Together they saved enough money to bring Lorraine's aunt to Rhodesia. Lorraine's father was a carpenter; her mother was a seamstress.
06:48 Lorraine describes her parents' early years together. Initially, they lived outside of Bulawayo, where her father worked for a mine. Lorraine's two older siblings, Mickey and Fay, were born there.
07:47 Lorraine's parents moved to Bulawayo. Her father and a partner started a lumber business, which flourished over time. Lorraine describes the business.
08:51 Lorraine was born. Her younger sister, Sheila, was born five years later.
09:11 Lorraine explains how despite financial struggles, life was good. She cites the weather, education, sports, friends, and fruit trees.
10:08 Lorraine describes the critical role Habonim played in her life.
11:09 Lorraine describes the Jewish community in Bulawayo. She addresses the important role the synagogue played in their lives, especially the Friday-night service.
12:30 Lorraine explains that her parents spoke Yiddish at home with one another and English with the children. The children were able to understand Yiddish, but not speak very much of it.
13:10 Lorraine attended Hebrew school but learned very little Hebrew. She learned Hebrew vocabulary at Habonim.
14:00 Alan's maternal great-grandfather came to South Africa from England. His maternal grandmother and her three sisters and four brothers were born in Cape Town. His maternal grandfather came to South Africa from Germany in 1908.
14:54 Alan's paternal grandparents came from Lithuania with other members of their shtetl. His grandparents tried (unsuccessfully) to farm. Alan explains how his father's four sisters enabled the only brother to attend university. Alan's three younger sister and father were born in South Africa. His oldest aunt was born in Lithuania.
16:35 Yiddish was not spoken. The majority of Cape Town's Jewish community came from Lithuania at the turn of the century. English was spoken at home. Alan learned Afrikaans and French at school.
17:50 Alan describes the vibrant Jewish community in Cape Town. he notes that there has been a Jewish presence in Cape Town since 1652 with the arrival of the Dutch.
19:30 Alan recalls that the meeting place for Jewish children in Cape Town was Muizenberg Beach.
19:58 Alan explains the reasons he did not have a strong Jewish education. In contrast, his Zionist education was very strong.
21:05 Alan explains that his father developed Zionist leanings while in university and he grew up in a Zionist household. He recalls meeting David Ben-Gurion and fundraising events for Israel.
22:42 Alan shares memories from his bar mitzvah. He recalls that he did not have a close connection with synagogue, but was actively involved with Zionist and Jewish community needs.
25:22 Alan contrasts the Jewish community in Cape Town with Toronto.
28:05 Alan's father was an accountant. He notes that in the 1930s and 1940s the large accounting firms did not hire Jews. The situation changed after the war as Jews became more affluent.
30:35 Alan and Lorraine describe how they met and dated.
36:20 Alan and Lorraine discuss their wedding.
38:40 Alan shares an anecdote about his aufruf (calling to the Torah) before his wedding.
40:30 Lorraine discusses their early years of marriage living in Cape Town. She discusses her and Alan's active involvement in the Jewish community.
43:17 Lorraine identifies an incident that served as a trigger for their decision to leave South Africa.
44:22 Alan discusses the inception and practice of apartheid in South Africa. He describes his personal dissonance with the situation.
47:26 Both Lorraine's father and Alan's parents supported their decision to South Africa.
48:40 Alan explains that the only people who were leaving South Africa were forced to leave because of their political activism or Zionists making aliyah. Lorraine wanted to move to Israel.
50:09 Alan and Lorraine discuss their exploration of English-speaking countries in 1974. They explain the factors that facilitated their decision to choose Toronto.
54:08 Alan discusses the financial implications of leaving a "blocked-currency state."
54:38 Alan explains his reasons for not going to Israel.
55:34 Alan discusses the sequence of events that delayed their departure until August 1976.
57:07 Lorraine discusses their difficult circumstances upon arrival in Toronto. She explains why they chose to settle in the Bathurst-Eglinton area and their decision to buy a house.
1:02:07 Alan discusses his initial involvement with the Toronto Jewish community and how he attempted to promote the needs of new Jewish South African immigrants.
1:04:00 Alan explains how he was able to integrate into a new country.
1:04:22 Once Lorraine started to run Holy Blossom Temple's preschool, she felt less isolated.
1:04:38 Alan describes the shock of a Canadian winter.
1:05:14 Alan discusses the impact of the influx of Jews from Montreal during the same period.
1:11:50 Alan describes their involvement in the Toronto Jewish community.
1:13:00 Lorraine cites her reasons for reaching out and persevering despite the obstacles.
1:14:28 Alan compares his experience to other Jewish families who remained in South Africa. He contrasts himself as an immigrant to the majority of immigrants who leave their home country.
1:16:28 Alan discusses the success of the next generation, more specifically their own children.
1:17:58 Lorraine discusses her career as a Jewish educator in early childhood education in Toronto.
1:21:24 Lorraine discusses her volunteer work in the Jewish community.
1:23:04 Alan comments that the establishment of Leo Baeck Day School was a direct result of the success of Holy Blossom Temple's preschool.
1:24:39 Lorraine displays and discusses some family mementos: heirloom candlesticks and some photographs.
1:27:38 Alan describes some family photographs and shares some family anecdotes. He discusses some of the barriers to Jews at university when his father was a student and some of the successes of Jewish students.
1:30:09 Alan and Lorraine share a photograph of their children, their spouses, and grandchildren.
Source
Oral Histories

Teacher of Teachers

It

Impact of Habonim

A Reconnaissance Mission

Name
Brenda and Colin Baskind
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
16 July 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Brenda and Colin Baskind
Number
AC 423
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
16 July 2015
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
1 hr. 52 min.
Biography
Brenda met Colin on a blind date while attending teacher’s college in Johannesburg. The two dated for one year before getting married at the Pine Street Shul in 1967. Together, they raised three children—Stacey, Alana, and Cliff—and helped bring up the nephew of their maid, whom they regarded as family.
Around 1976, Colin and Brenda began thinking about emigrating as a result of the country’s worsening political situation. At first, their daughter was unwilling to move, but after a riot broke out at her university, she declared she had had enough. Initially, the family considered moving to Australia, but soon settled upon Canada, immigrating in 1987. Although they found the prospect of starting over intimidating, they received a warm welcome from both the South African Jewish community and the larger community.
Brenda and Colin purchased a khaloupe (a fixer-upper) that they transformed into a beautiful home, planting trees in its large garden. Brenda found employment with Holy Blossom Synagogue while Colin became president of the Southern African Jewish Association of Canada. In their free time, they took up running, a hobby that introduced them to many friends. By 2015, they had participated in eleven marathons.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Yiddish
Name Access
Baskind, Brenda, 1944-
Baskind, Colin, 1941-
Geographic Access
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Port Elizabeth (South Africa)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:13 Brenda (née Bebrow?) was born 29 October 1944 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Brenda discusses her parents’ divorce and the death of her brother from polio in 1956.
01:25 Brenda explains the reasons her mother sent her to boarding school in Grahamstown.
02:12 Brenda’s father drowned in the ocean in Port Elizabeth at age eleven.
03:41 Brenda’s mother worked as a bookkeeper in Johannesburg.
03:50 Brenda discusses her limited Jewish education and practice while living in Grahamstown.
05:40 Brenda reminisces about her experience at boarding school.
06:43 Brenda discusses how she was able to cope while dealing with her parents’ divorce, followed by the deaths of her brother, father, and grandmother.
07:36 Brenda’s maternal grandparents and great-grandmother were from Russia. They were observant Jews.
09:12 Brenda moved to Johannesburg at age eighteen to attend teacher’s college. She describes living with her great-aunt, great-uncle, and cousin.
10:21 Brenda describes how she met her husband, Colin.
11:37 Colin was born on 20 April 1941 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He lived with his parents and younger sister.
12:03 Colin reminisces about his early years. He discusses his friends and interest in sports.
13:50 Colin’s father was a butcher. His mother assisted his father.
14:18 Colin discusses the high quality of his education.
15:32 Colin’s father practiced Orthodox Judaism.
16:26 Colin discusses his Jewish education. He reminisces about his bar mitzvah.
18:43 Colin describes how he helped with his father’s business.
20:21 Colin’s father was born in Lithuania at age 11. His mother was born in Latvia. Both came to South Africa in the 1920s.
21:39 Colin attended university in Johannesburg.
23:21 Colin discusses work experience.
25:12 Colin and Brenda reminisce about their initial meeting, courtship, and marriage.
29:30 Colin and Brenda’s eldest daughter Alana was born.
29:36 Colin and Brenda discuss their close relationship with their nanny and her family. They describe the living conditions for nannies in general.
33:23 Colin and Brenda recount how they helped raise the baby of their nanny’s sister.
36:50 Brenda’s mother remarried a third time.
39:18 Brenda discusses her work as a nursery school teacher in Johannesburg and Toronto.
41:06 Colin and Brenda explain the reasons that triggered their decision to emigrate. They describe the Soweto riots in 1976.
45:08 Colin explains how they chose and were accepted to immigrate to Canada. Colin and Brenda discuss the distinct advantages of living in Canada relative to South Africa and Australia.
52:33 Colin only considered leaving South Africa after his parents passed away.
53:10 Colin and Brenda discuss their children’s points of view about leaving South Africa.
55:23 Colin and Brenda describe how they got ready for the move to Canada. They discuss what they were and were not allowed to bring out of South Africa.
57:27 Colin explains how some South Africans left the country without going through the steps of formal immigration.
57:26 Brenda describes her fears concerning the move and explains the reasons some of her friends have remained in South Africa.
1:00:04 Brenda shares early memories of moving to Toronto: buying a house and a car.
1:03:09 Colin and Brenda contrast the quality of living between Johannesburg and Toronto.
1:05:04 Colin and Brenda discuss how they formed their early social connections.
1:07:46 Colin discusses how he maintained interest in sport, both as a participant and as a spectator. Sport was another means of making friends.
1:10:0 Colin volunteered with the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS) for five years and became involved with the Southern African Jewish Association of Canada (SAJAC).
1:10:40 Colin discusses his involvement with SAJAC.
1:12:44 Brenda and Colin discuss some of the language and cultural challenges they encountered when they arrived in Canada.
1:16:17 Colin and Brenda discuss the achievements of their children.
1:20:42 Colin and Brenda discuss their daughter Stacy’s decision to be a single mother. Brenda discusses their involvement with baby Lily’s care and their decision to buy a house with private quarters to share with Stacy and Lily.
1:28:18 Brenda discusses two trips back to South Africa to care for her mother in 1998.
1:32:28 Brenda discusses the changes she noted in South Africa during her visit.
1:34:43 Colin discusses his volunteer work with JIAS, SAJAC, Jewish Family & Child (JF&CS) and JVC. He explains his desire to enable others to prepare themselves for and find work.
1:43:33 Colin discusses some of the challenges faced by his sister.
1:46:50 Colin and Brenda share their views on the current and future situation in South Africa.
Source
Oral Histories

The Way Things Were

A khaloupe!

A Scholarship Based on Need

Name
Laurie Manoim
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
16 July 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Laurie Manoim
Number
AC 424
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
16 July 2015
Interviewer
Gail Freeman
Total Running Time
AC 424 part 1: 40 min.
AC 424 part 2: 9 min.
Biography
Lorraine “Laurie” Manoim (née Stern) was born on 21 June 1945 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She spent a happy childhood growing up with her two brothers and many cousins. Her parents were founding members of Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue.
Laurie’s family is a rich tapestry of nationalities. Her paternal grandparents were from Austria and Germany; her maternal grandfather was from Morocco; her maternal grandmother was from Poland; and her mother was born in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). In addition, Laurie is a descendant of Solica Hachuel, a Moroccan-Jewish martyr who was killed in the early nineteenth century. This background made Laurie’s family stand out from other Jewish families in South Africa, many of whom originally emigrated from Lithuania.
After earning her bachelor of arts, Laurie married and had a son, Gary. She and her husband opened a restaurant, which Laurie ran by herself for the first two years, but ended up divorcing. Not wanting her son to internalize the values of apartheid South Africa, Laurie made the decision to immigrate to Canada with her son.
Laurie and Gary arrived in Canada in 1978. Laurie managed to raise Gary without family support and while holding down multiple jobs. She worked in the restaurant industry for a number of years, even owning a deli at one point, but ultimately decided to go back to school, earning a master’s degree in industrial relations (MIR). After graduating, she worked at the Government of Canada for twenty-eight years. During this time her parents immigrated to Canada and she supported them by having the additional income from students residing in her home for fifteen years. Laurie graduated from Guelph as a master gardener. (Gardening is her major hobby.)
Laurie has a large and diverse social circle and a broad range of interests. She has been back to South Africa many times as her son returned to work there for twenty years before returning to Canada. She has no desire to move back, commenting that she couldn’t go back to an empty life, to being a prisoner of luxury and discrimination.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Manoim, Laurie, 1945-
Geographic Access
Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
00:00 Laurie's maiden name was Stern. She was born on 21 June 1945 in Johannesburg. She immigrated to Canada in 1978.
00:55 Laurie's paternal grandparents came from Germany and Austria. Her father was born in South Africa. Her maternal grandfather came from Morocco. Her maternal grandmother came from Poland. Her mother was born in Rhodesia.
01:19 Laurie discusses how her maternal grandfather from Morocco came to Bulawayo in Rhodesia.
02:20 Laurie discusses her childhood. She had two brothers. One brother died at age twenty-two. Her younger brother is married and lives in South Africa.
03:18 Laurie discusses her family's religious observance. Her father came from a small farming town, Schweizer-Reneke. Her parents were founding members of Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue.
04:50 Laurie outlines her education: elementary grades at Rosebank (a public school), secondary grades at King David (a Jewish day school).
06:22 Laurie earned a bachelor of arts in sociology and economics at university. She studied computers and market research.
07:53 Laurie got engaged and married. In 1970, she and her husband decided to immigrate. Laurie discusses some of their reasons and their plan. They ran a restaurant to get a cash business.
09:07 Laurie discusses the breakdown of her marriage that ended in divorce. She needed to get court's permission to bring her son with her to Canada.
10:06 Laurie explains her decision to immigrate to Canada.
11:00 Laurie describes her disappointment when her son, Gary, returned to South Africa.
12:38 Laurie considered and abandoned the options of living in Israel and San Francisco.
13:35 Laurie describes her struggles with finding suitable housing, finding stable employment, and raising her young son during her early years in Canada.
17:57 Laurie mentions preparation for her son's bar mitzvah.
18:50 Laurie returned to university to earn a master's degree in industrial relations. She found a government post, where she remained for twenty-six years.
20:30 Laurie shares some of her initial impressions of living in Canada. She compares and contrasts the Jewish communities in South Africa and Toronto, and specifically highlights how the needs of the South African Jewish immigrants differed from other Jewish immigrant groups.
24:43 Laurie identifies some of the challenges she faced when she came to Toronto.
25:34 Laurie describes the circumstances that triggered her parents' immigration to Canada in 1996.
27:04 Laurie describes her mother's artistic training and endeavours.
28:53 Laurie discusses some of the South African traditions she has maintained while living in Canada.
31:06 Laurie rediscovered seven South African childhood friends in Canada, but most of her friends are Canadian.
32:13 Laurie describes her passion for gardening.
34:05 Laurie identifies an incident when she first felt Canadian. She describes how her family in South Africa became dispersed.
35:17 Laurie shares an anecdote about one of her Moroccan ancestors.
37:33 Laurie shares memories of her move to Canada.
Part 2:
00:20 Laurie explains how she was able to secure housing at Bayview Mews after some initial challenges.
03:00 Laurie offers tribute to her work colleagues and gives some examples to justify her admiration.
06:05 Laurie speaks of her relationship with a friend during her life and during her terminal illness.
08:24 Laurie discusses her travel plans for retirement.
Source
Oral Histories

Immigrating Solo to Canada

Name
Ivor Simmons
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
9 Feb. 2016
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Ivor Simmons
Number
AC 425
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
9 Feb. 2016
Interviewer
Naomi Raichyk
Total Running Time
AC 425 part 1: 21 min.
AC 425 part 2: 20 min.
AC 425 part 3: 21 min.
AC 425 part 4: 1 min.
AC 425 part 5: 2 min.
AC 425 part 6: 4 min.
Biography
Born in Bloemfontein, South Africa’s judicial capital, in 1937, Ivor had a pleasant childhood alongside his two brothers. Because his family lived on the “wrong side” of Naval Hill (the other side was considerably more Jewish), he counted both Jews and non-Jews among his friends. This did not mean he lacked for Jewish culture: Ivor participated in a Jewish youth movement and was sent to a nearby cheder ahead of his bar mitzvah, which he celebrated in the communal hall. Unfortunately, the cheder teacher, a European immigrant who spoke halting English, was not the best teacher and Ivor finished his education with only a partial ability to read Hebrew.
As a young man, Ivor studied chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town. He worked in South Africa for a time before leaving to go to London. At the time he left, he did not have plans to live outside South Africa, but he ended up meeting several Canadians in England who encouraged him to give Canada a try. Obtaining work without any great difficulty and finding the locals friendlier than those in England, he decided to make Canada home.
Ivor worked in marketing for a time before coming to the conclusion that he wanted to be his own boss. With a loan from his father-in-law, he purchased a small company, which he ran for twenty-seven years. He looks back on those years fondly on account of having overcome a number of obstacles along the way and treated his employees fairly. In 1997, he sold his business and decided to devote his time to travel and volunteering.
Ivor and his wife have three children, all of whom live in Canada. They also have several grandchildren.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Simmons, Ivor, 1937-
Geographic Access
Bloemfontein (South Africa)
Cape Town (South Africa)
England
Sasolburg (South Africa)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
00:25 Ivor was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1937. His maternal grandparents' birthplace was Russia. His paternal grandfather was born near the Lithuanian/Latvian border. His paternal grandfather travelled to England and in 1886 moved to South Africa. His paternal grandmother came to South Africa from Cardiff.
02:24 Ivor's maternal grandfather was a jeweller in Cape Town. He remarried after Ivor's maternal grandmother died. The grandfather and second wife died in a vehicular accident in the 1920s.
03:45 Ivor discusses his parents: how they met and married. Ivor's father ran a printing company and his mother was a music teacher with an interest in the arts. Ivor's mother was involved in Jewish communal affairs.
05:55 Ivor discusses his two younger brother, both of whom moved to Sydney, Australia.
09:20 Ivor describes his youth in Bloemfontein.
10:34 Ivor participated in a B'nai Brith youth movement and attended cheder until age thirteen.
12:05 Ivor had a bar mitzvah in the communal hall.
13:24 Ivor discusses his education and extracurricular activities while he attended Grey College, a boys' school in Bloemfontein. Although Afrikaans was taught in school, Ivor did not gain fluency in Afrikaans until he worked in an oil refinery in Sasolburg.
15:40 Ivor describes his Jewish education.
16:20 Ivor discusses his family's religious and cultural observance.
17:47 Ivor shares his perspective on the impact of politics in South Africa on the Jewish community and on him personally.
19:40 Ivor discusses his reasons for leaving South Africa and how he decided to move to Canada. He found a job with Union Carbide in Toronto and decided to stay.
Part 2:
00:20 Ivor shares his first impressions of living in Toronto and addresses the ease of transition for him.
02:57 Ivor arrived in Toronto on 2 June 1963 after having spent one month in Montreal.
03:40 Ivor discusses the small South African community in Toronto at that time.
05:40 Ivor discusses his family's reaction to his decision to move to Toronto. His parents remained in South Africa. Ivor describes his parents' lifestyle.
08:45 Ivor describes his professional education and career. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town. He discusses his work history in South Africa, England, and Canada.
13:20 Ivor discusses how he met his wife. He discusses his family: his two sons and one daughter. Ivor discusses his daughter's career.
Part 3:
01:15 Ivor discusses the adoption of his two sons. Ivor discusses the children's education.
06:15 Ivor's mother came to visit regularly. His father came for several visits. Ivor and his family visited South Africa.
07:35 Ivor discusses how his family celebrated Jewish holidays.
08:24 Ivor discusses his wife, Renee.
09:08 Ivor discusses the similarities between Renee's family and his family with regards to Jewish practice and values and their Jewish practice in their home.
11:10 Ivor discusses his limited participation with any organizations within the South African Jewish community in Canada.
12:10 Ivor offers reasons why it would have been difficult to raise his children had they been living in South Africa.
13:40 Ivor discusses some of his family visits to South Africa and the impressions of the children.
15:36 Ivor offers his impressions of current day South Africa.
18:16 Ivor comments on the ease with which he integrated into Canada.
19:06 Ivor discusses his volunteer involvement following his retirement and his personal interests.
Part 4:
00:00 Ivor continues to discuss his personal interests.
Part 5:
00:00 Ivor fondly reminisces about his extended family in Cape Town: his mother's sister and her husband, his mother's brothers, their wives and children, and his father's twin cousins.
Part 6:
00:00 Ivor continues to reminisce about extended family.
02:42 Ivor discusses his pleasure in travel since his retirement.
Source
Oral Histories

What was planned as just a short trip...

Watching What you Say in South Africa

Name
Richard Stern
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
23 Feb. 2016
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Richard Stern
Number
AC 426
Subject
Immigrants--Canada
Occupations
Interview Date
23 Feb. 2016
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
AC 426 part 1: 22 min.
AC 426 part 2: 22 min.
AC 426 part 3: 21 min.
AC 426 part 4: 1 min.
AC 426 part 5: 4 min.
AC 426 part 6: 3 min.
AC 427 part 7: 10 min.
AC 428 part 8: 2 min.
Use Restrictions
Waiting for Richard to Sign Waiver
Biography
The firstborn twin (he insists he and his brother are not competitive), Richard grew up in the small town of Muizenberg in an old house on the seafront with his parents and four siblings. Born in 1937, Richard’s childhood was untainted by apartheid, which came into effect eleven years later in 1948. As a child, he played with children of colour on his grandfather’s farm; by adolescence, those same childhood friends were obliged to call him Boss on account of his race.
After completing high school at Kingswood College, a Methodist boarding school five hundred miles from where he grew up, Richard returned to Muizenburg where he worked on a farm before going back to school to obtain a diploma in agriculture. Around this time, he had a small mishap working at a winery. He had been warned not to fall asleep while the grapes were fermenting; sure enough, he did just that and the next morning the winery found itself with ten thousand gallons of vinegar.
Richard gained more experience in different wineries after completing a tour of Europe with the National Union of South African Students. He stayed in England and worked at a winery located under the Tower of London and later at wine farms in Bordeaux and the Champagne region of France. While in Europe, his twin brother told him about agriculture in Israel, which prompted him to go there. It was in Israel that he met his first wife with whom he had three children.
Richard worked at several jobs in Israel and opened three of the first Supersol supermarkets there. He also served in the Israel Defense Forces. Eventually though, he decided to come to Canada, which he did with his family in 1963. In Ottawa, he operated a supermarket for a short time before going to work for the head office of Loeb. Through this position, he got to see a good deal of Canada and developed a sense of its geography and a feel for its people.
In the early 1970s, Richard made a living as his own boss in a brokerage business before the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce recruited him to market Canadian grocery and alcohol products. It was while working for the department that he became a Canadian citizen.
Today, Richard is retired and married to Doris. They have four children and eight grandchildren. He considers himself a Canadian Jew, but retains a strong affection for South Africa and its natural beauty. Since leaving, he has been back to South Africa between twenty and thirty times with Doris.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Stern, Richard, 1937-
Geographic Access
Cape Town (South Africa)
England
France
Israel
Muizenberg (South Africa)
Ottawa (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Transcript
0Part 1:
00:00 Richard was born in Muizenberg, South Africa on 5 January 1937. He was the first of a set of twins.
00:57 Richard discusses his grandfather's business in Cape Town.
01:38 Richard reminisces about his childhood in Muizenberg. He shares memories about school, after-school activities, and his school performance.
04:06 Richard discusses his siblings: Robert, Maxwell, Peter, and Jean.
06:11 Richard studied viticulture. He describes the challenges he faced realizing his dreams after leaving his country and support system.
08:37 Richard reminisces about growing up in Muizenberg.
09:30 Richard discusses Jewish life and education in Muizenberg.
10:23 Richard discusses his bar mitzvah.
11:11 Richard describes the history of his parents' home.
12:07 Richard recalls his family celebrating Jewish holidays.
12:42 Richard discusses his affiliation with the Second Muizenberg Jewish Boy Scout group and camp.
13:15 Richard notes that his father was a leader in the Habonim youth movement, but did not want his children to participate in Habonim.
14:18 Richard discusses his father's involvement with the scouting movement in Cape Town. His father was involved in Jewish communal affairs. He describes his father's involvement with an entertainment group.
15:59 Richard discusses the make-up of the Jewish community in Muizenberg.
16:30 Richard shares stories involving his personal relationships with black or "coloured" Africans. He relates an incident that occurred during his first work experience.
19:40 Richard discusses the changes that arose with the introduction of apartheid in 1948. He refers to the risks associated with political involvement against the government.
22:09 Richard discusses Klingswood College, the boarding school he attended.
Part 2:
00:00 Richard continues to reminisce about attending boarding school. There were about twelve Jewish students.
03:42 Richard mentions the Sharpeville massacre.
04:12 Richard describes the student mix at Kingswood College. He describes exemptions made for Jewish students as well as mandatory church services.
06:33 Richard describes his pursuits after graduating from Kingswood College. He describes working on farms and vineyards. He earned a diploma in agricultural science from the College of Agriculture at the University of Stellenbosch. He relates stories from his college years.
11:44 Richard speaks of his travels and work experience in England, France, and Israel after graduating from college.
14:19 Richard speaks of his contact with Israel's first ambassador to Canada, Michael Comay, and his first marriage to Michael's daughter, Jill. They had two children.
15:49 Richard discusses his decision to remain in Israel and his early work experience in Israel.
17:22 Richard describes suffering from jaundice while completing his army training in Israel.
18:14 Richard was in Canada for six months and then returned to Israel.
18:18 Richard describes some of the challenges he encountered as manager of some of the newly-opened chain of Supersol supermarkets in Israel.
21:26 Richard discusses his decision to apply for immigration to Canada.
Part 3:
00:00 Richard discusses the breakup between the Bronfsmans and Bert Loeb.
00:58 Richard describes his ten years of work for Loeb's in Ottawa.
02:50 Richard opens up a brokerage business in 1971.
03:11 Richard describes how and why he was approached by the government of Canada to work in industry, trade, and commerce.
03:57 Richard explains how he became a Canadian citizen.
04:45 Richard describes his involvement in marketing alcoholic beverages and grocery products on behalf of the government of Canada.
06:01 Richard discusses his post chairing Canada-Israel agreements.
06:29 Richard describes the events that led to his wife and children returning to Israel in 1967. He notes the likelihood of his moving back to South Africa had his wife not decided to return to Canada.
07:06 Richard discusses his attachment to South Africa and offers his impressions of the country.
11:37 Richard praises the liberal political position taken by Jews in South Africa.
12:30 Richard discusses his ancestry. His paternal and maternal grandfathers came from Germany to South Africa. His paternal grandmother came from New York. He tells some stories about his grandparents.
14:42 Richard muses about his lack of awareness of different Jewish groups while growing up.
16:50 Richard discusses his identity as a Canadian Jew.
18:30 Richard discusses some of his philanthropic support.
19:55 Richard recalls memories about his grandparents.
Part 4:
00:00 Richard displays and describes two photographs of himself and his siblings.
Part 5:
00:00 Richard displays a photograph of the opening of the Voortrekker monument commemorating the Afrikaner scouting movement. Richard discusses his involvement with the movement and his attendance at the opening of the monument.
01:45 Richard displays and discusses a photograph of his school cadets band.
03:03 Richard displays and discusses a photograph of his rugby team.
03:49 Richard displays a photograph of himself and his brother-in-law, Yochanan, while serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Richard discusses how Yochanan was killed in the Golan Heights in 1967.
Part 6:
00:00 Richard displays and discusses a plaque that was present to his grandfather, Max Sonnenberg, for his service in parliament for twenty years.
01:38 Richard displays and discusses a book that was written by his grandfather.
Part 7:
00:00 Richard discusses his work with Agriculture Canada as director of processed food and later director of international marketing. He took early retirement in 1990.
01:23 Richard displays and discusses a photograph from the International Dairy Congress in 1994. He shares a story about Stephen Lewis, who was a guest speaker.
03:14 Richard displays and discusses a photograph of Richard presenting a cheque to the deputy minister of agriculture repaying the grant for the Dairy Congress.
04:12 Richard displays and discusses a photograph that related to his work with the sheep council in 1997.
05:44 Richard displays and discusses a photograph that related to his work with the cervidae industry.
06:50 Richard displays and discusses a trophy honouring his father for his contributions to the Community Chest Carnival. Richard shares some stories related to the Masque Theatre in Muizenberg that was started by his father.
09:56 Richard displays and discusses a program relating to the re-opening of the Masque Theatre in 1999.
Part 8:
00:00 Richard displays and discusses a photograph from his parents' wedding.
Source
Oral Histories

Scouting

Racism?

Name
John Brotman
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
5 Apr. 2016
Source
Oral Histories
Name
John Brotman
Number
AC 427
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
5 Apr. 2016
Interviewer
Gail Freeman
Total Running Time
AC 427 part 1: 17 min.
AC 427 part 2: 22 min.
AC 427 part 3: 9 min.
AC 427 part 4: 2 min.
Biography
A musician by training, John arrived in Fort McMurray in April 1977. The very next day it snowed. He immediately regretted not picking Australia. “Canada was freezing cold,” he recalled. “But the people are the friendliest people I’ve ever known.”
John’s journey to Canada was anything but straightforward. Born in 1945, he grew up with his parents and two younger sisters in Saxonwold, a suburb of Johannesburg. After graduating high school and studying at the Wits University, he left for England in order to study music. It was there that he met his first wife, Jenny, who was born in Zimbabwe. The couple had two children: a son and a daughter. About a year after their second child was born, the couple decided to move to Australia. First though, they would stop in South Africa to visit with family. That visit, which was meant to last one month, ended up lasting a number of years.
While home in South Africa, John began having second thoughts about Australia. Back in London, he had met a Canadian musician who had encouraged him to move to Canada. When he returned to South Africa, he found an enormous parcel from Edmonton, Alberta that contained invitations from various towns and cities in Alberta encouraging him to come with his family and make a life there, even going as far as to promise housing. The offer being too good to pass up, the family made the move in 1977.
John initially worked as musician in residence at a college in Fort McMurray, a job he thoroughly enjoyed. It was during this time that his first marriage ended and he met his second wife, Sara, a Canadian who grew up on a farm in Alberta but was now teaching in Fort McMurray. The two moved to Edmonton where John worked for the provincial government for a time before being offered a job by the Canada Council. This job, in turn, took him to Ottawa. While in Ottawa, he and Sara had two children: another son and daughter.
John’s final job was with the Ontario Arts Council, of which he eventually became director. He retired several years ago, but continues to take pride in the accomplishment of Canadian artists and composers around the world.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Brotman, John
Geographic Access
Australia
Edmonton (Alta.)
Fort McMurray (Alta.)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
London (England)
Ottawa (Ont.)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
01:15 John discusses his parents. His father was Isadore and his mother was Doris. Doris was born in Manchester. His father was a radiologist. Two younger sisters: Linda and Angela.
02:00 John briefly outlines his history. He was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. At age twenty, he moved to London, England to study music. He remained there for ten years, where he married and had two children.
02:37 John discusses his neighbourhood, Saxonwold, and his education from elementary school to high school through university.
03:45 John moved to London to study with several music teachers.
04:45 John married in 1970 in London. He discusses his wife's early history. She was born in Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) and later moved to Cape Town. Their two children were born in England.
05:50 John explains his reasons for deciding to move to Australia. He explains how a short visit stretched into three years.
06:54 John explains how his plans changed and how his first destination in Canada was Alberta.
08:59 John lived in Alberta for four-to-five years. He describes his work as musician-in-residence at the newly founded college in Fort McMurray.
12:17 John explains how, after his first marriage broke up, he moved to Edmonton with his second wife. He worked as cultural music officer for the Alberta government.
13:37 John describes the job he took with the Canada Council in Ottawa. He remained in Ottawa for five years.
15:10 John discusses the job he took with Jeunesse Musicale (Youth in Music), a position that brought him to Toronto.
16:29 John took a position with the Ontario Arts Council. He explains how he advanced from music officer to director of the Ontario Arts Council, where he remained until his retirement in 2013.
Part 2:
00:00 John discusses his first wife, Jennifer Strong, and their children, Matthew and Lauren. They divorced while living in Fort McMurray. He discusses his second wife, Sarah, and their two children, Nicholas and Anna.
03:09 John recounts how he has reconnected with childhood friends from South Africa.
05:31 John discusses the role of Judaism in his life. His father came to South Africa from Prague.
08:24 John discusses his view of politics in South Africa and its impact on his decision to leave to study in England. He recalls South African friends in England who were anti-apartheid.
11:30 John recalls how he briefly contemplated moving to Israel but reconsidered when he was advised that his non-Jewish wife would be required to convert in order to ensure that his children would have full Israeli status.
15:54 John shares his first impressions of Canada and Canadians.
18:06 John discusses his children's education.
19:25 John discusses his family's observance of Jewish holidays.
20:40 John discusses his views on Israel and his connection to Judaism.
Part 3:
00:00 John discusses his reaction to criticism from various interest groups (Jewish, Palestinian, Polish), who objected to certain arts decisions by the Arts Council of Canada.
03:20 John discusses his adjustment to England and Canada.
05:12 John notes some changes in the South African Jewish community that have occurred since he left.
06:56 John recalls experiences that have made him feel "Canadian."
Part 4:
00:00 John relates a meeting with an old South African friend living in Israel and shares some of his views about Israel.
Source
Oral Histories

A Mandate for the Whole Country

The Inevitability of Leaving

Name
Adele and Alan Farber
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
13 Apr. 2016
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Adele and Alan Farber
Number
AC 428
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
13 Apr. 2016
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
AC 428 part 1: 18 min.
AC 428 part 2: 19 min.
AC 428 part 3: 22 min.
AC 428 part 4: 3 min.
Biography
Adele and Alan met when she was fifteen and he was seventeen years old. They married a few years later, and lived in Johannesburg until Alan qualified as a chartered accountant. In 1975, they immigrated to Toronto.
Adele arrived in Canada with an honours degree in psychology. She initially completed a one-year program at a Canadian teaching college. After having three children, she went back to university, and obtained an honours degree in social work from York University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto. She worked with teenagers for several years at an agency and in 2001 opened a private practice as a psychotherapist. Today she works part-time.
Alan requalified as a chartered accountant in Canada, and became a trustee in bankruptcy. In 1979, he founded a firm, which is currently called Farber Group. The firm provides business advisory services from eleven business units and operates in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.
Adele and Alan are members of Kehillat Shaarei Torah and have engaged in philanthropy through the United Jewish Appeal, Canadian Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and other Jewish and community charitable organizations.
Their oldest son, Jonathan, lives in Israel while their two younger children, Steven and Sherri, live in Canada. They have seven grandchildren.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Farber, Adele, 1952-
Farber, Alan, 1951-
Geographic Access
Israel
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:02 Adele was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1952. She has one brother, ten years her junior.
00:32 Adele explains why her family moved several times during her childhood: to London, England in 1962; to Herzliya Pituach, Israel in 1964; and back to Johannesburg in 1967.
02:55 Adele discusses her parents' family histories. Her paternal grandfather came from Lithuania at the turn of the century. Her paternal grandmother came from England. They married in South Africa. Her father was the youngest of five children. Adele's maternal grandparents came from Poland prior to the Second World War. Her mother was the middle of six children, all born in Poland.
05:26 Adele discusses her extended family, their cloneness, and regular family get-togethers.
07:17 Adele outlines her Jewish education.
08:13 Adele speaks Hebrew fluently and majored in Hebrew and psychology at university.
08:41 Adele has a son who lives in Israel.
09:07 Adele discusses how she met her husband, Alan. They married young: Adele was nineteen; Alan was twenty-one. They lived in Johannesburg for three years before moving to Canada.
11:10 Adele discusses the reasons they decided to leave South Africa.
14:40 Adele explains why they chose to immigrate to Canada.
16:36 Adele discusses the rocky start to their immigration due to her father's illness and death. They entered Canada in June 1975, returned to South Africa for six months, and returned to Canada at the end of 1975.
17:59 Adele's mother immigrated to Canada in 1980. Adele's brother moved to the United States.
18:12 Adele discusses return trips to South Africa.
Part 2:
00:00 Alan was born in 1951 in Johannesburg. Alan has two older sisters.
00:20 Alan briefly outlines his primary and secondary education.
00:54 Alan fondly reminisces about a friendship he has maintained since childhood.
02:43 Alan discusses growing up in Johannesburg: his neighbourhood, his friends, and his interest in sports.
03:44: Alan discusses his family's origins. Alan's father was born in South Africa. His paternal grandparents came from Lithuania. Alan's mother and maternal grandfather were born in South Africa. His maternal grandparents came from Latvia.
04:35 Alan describes his observance of Judaism while growing up.
06:15 Alan discusses his bar mitzvah. He had a private Hebrew teacher.
07:54 Alan explains that he and his family had limited involvement in Jewish community activity.
09:00 Alan explains how he became more involved in Jewish community organizations in Toronto. He describes his involvement.
11:38 Alan describes his professional training to become an accountant in South Africa, a chartered accountant in Canada, and a trustee in bankruptcy.
13:52 Alan discusses his career development in Canada. He describes his business, the Farber Financial Group.
17:09 Alan discusses the optiosn he considered before ultimately choosing Canada as an immigration destination.
Part 3:
00:03 Adele discusses her post-secondary education, including an honour's degree in psychology earned in South Africa, a teaching degree, a bachelor of social work, and a master's of social work earned in Canada. Adele discusses her various jobs and her private practice.
03:20 Adele discusses their young family: Jonathon (1978), Steven (1980), and Sherry (1983).
05:34 Alan warmly describes raising his children.
06:31 Adele discusses their family's Jewish life when they first arrived in Toronto: the neighbourhood, Shabbat observance, and synagogue attendance. Adele and Alan explain that, for financial reasons, they sent their children to public school, with the exception of Sherry who attended the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT).
09:29 Alan and Adele discuss how they established social connections when they first arrived in Canada, welcomed by distant cousins and with other young Jewish couples who had recently immigrated from South Africa.
11:13 Adele and Alan discuss how they were received by Canadians.
12:26 Alan describes their efforts to help other immigrants including sponsoring a family from Vietnam in 1981, sponsoring a Russian Jew through Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS), and helping sponsor Syrian refugees through their synagogue.
14:29 Adele discusses the supports offered by South African Jews in Canada to South African immigrants, specifically through the Southern African Jewish Association of Canada (SAJAC).
15:57 Alan explains how he served as a contact person for other South African accountants when they arrived in Canada. Also, many of his business employees are from South Africa.
18:03 Alan and Adele belong to Kehillah Shaarei Torah.
18:48 Adele and Alan discuss their grown children. Their oldest son, Jonathon (Israel) is a rabbi in Bet Shemesh, Israel. Steven is a professor of urban geography at the University of Toronto. Sherry, who studied medicine at Ben-Gurion University, returned to Canada to practice medicine.
20:37 Alan shares his hopes for the future.
Part 4:
00:39 Adele expounds on her appreciation of living in Canada.
Source
Oral Histories

The Kensington of Johannesburg

Maybe Canada?

Immigrants Sponsoring Immigrants

Kiss the Ground

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