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Name
Brenda and Colin Baskind
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
16 Jul. 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Brenda and Colin Baskind
Number
OH 423
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
16 Jul. 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
Adele and Alan Farber
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
13 Apr. 2016
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Adele and Alan Farber
Number
OH 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
OH 428 part 1: 18 min.
OH 428 part 2: 19 min.
OH 428 part 3: 22 min.
OH 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

Name
Avis and Robbie Osher
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
12 Jul. 2016
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Avis and Robbie Osher
Number
OH 436
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
12 Jul. 2016
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
OH 436 part 1: 12 min.
OH 436 part 2: 11 min.
OH 436 part 3: 22 min.
OH 436 part 4: 13 min.
Biography
Like many South Africans, Avis and Robbie are descendants of Latvian and Lithuanian immigrants to South Africa. Each had two siblings, attended public school, and went on to attend Wits University. Avis became an occupational therapist and Robbie a chartered accountant. They have three daughters.
Avis and Robbie began thinking about leaving South Africa as early as 1969, but a combination of family and financial considerations kept them there until 1996, the year they immigrated to Canada.
Robbie ran a successful accounting practice in South Africa for thirty years. On arriving in Canada, he decided he wanted a career change and eventually transitioned into the role of chief financial officer of a Toronto company. A competitive squash player in South Africa, he continued winning titles at the provincial and national levels in Canada. It was largely through squash that he integrated into Canadian society.
Avis worked in a variety of hospitals and schools, taught at Wits, and ran a successful practice in Johannesburg. She re-qualified to register in Canada and after occupying different positions now works in her own practice.
They are proud grandparents of nine grandchildren. They both agree that through their professional and personal dedication, they have given back to their adopted country.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Osher, Avis
Osher, Robbie, 1939-
Geographic Access
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
00:14 Avis was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Avis provides a brief family history. Her mother, Rae Mer, was born in Zamel, Lithuania. Her father, Sollie Burde, was born in Grodno, Belarus. She discusses the circumstances of various relatives.
01:45 Avis explains why her father came to South Africa in 1932.
02:55 Avis hypothesizes how her parents met and married in Johannesburg. Avis had one sister, Hessie, and one brother, David.
04:25 Avis describes her experience growing up.
06:38 Avis explains that she went to work in the family factory when she finished school. She discusses her mother's role in the business.
07:44 Avis discusses her family's involvement with the Jewish community and their practice of Judaism.
10:50 Avis describes the path she took to become an occupational therapist. She describes her first work placement.
Part 2:
00:00 Robbie was named Robert Percy Osher at birth. Robbie was born in Johannesburg in 1939.
01:02 Robbie discusses his childhood. He discusses his social life, interests, and education. Robbie graduated from accounting and qualified as a certified public accountant (CPA) in Israel. He received a degree in accounting in the United Kingdom and a certified management accountant (CMA) degree.
04:01 Robbie discusses the reasons for considering and then rejecting the idea of moving to Israel in 1969. Robbie discusses his Jewish education and his family's practice of Judaism.
05:34 Robbie provides a brief family history. His mother was born in 1912 in Latvia. She came to South Africa at age eight with her family. His father was born in 1911 in ?Killem, Lithuania. His father was a tailor.
07:40 Robbie explains that his family had Black servants. He discusses segregation.
Robbie discusses his reasons for deciding to leave South Africa in 1969. He discusses multiple applications for emigration: Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Israel. Their daughter, Dorit, immigrated to Canada in 1986. Robbie explains how he and Avis immigrated to Canada in 1990 after settling their business affairs.
Part 3:
00:17 Avis discusses the dilemmas she struggled with when she and Robbie considered leaving South Africa.
01:35 Avis describes the challenges her family encountered when they attempted a move to the United States in 1976.
03:50 Avis describes her response when her mother suffered a heart attack when Avis was aged eight. She explains how she was not inclined to leave her mother.
05:17 Avis discusses expectations for her daughters.
05:49 Robbie discusses the reasons for remaining in South Africa.
08:00 Robbie discusses his passion for and achievement in squash, including six medals at the Maccabiah Games in 1985, 1989, and 1993.
10:50 Robbie explains how playing competitive squash in Canada was a way of integrating into Canadian society. Robbie discusses his accomplishments in squash since he arrived in Canada.
12:03 Robbie discusses his work since he arrived in Canada.
12:50 Avis explains how they were able to get some money out of South Africa despite state financial restrictions.
15:00 Avis shares some stories from her experience working with Black African patients and staff. She discusses hierarchies and inequities in care and equipment.
18:33 Avis and Robbie provide examples to show racism and the separation of white, Black, and coloured individuals in South Africa.
21:20 Robbie relates an example from his own experience to highlight the practice of racism and injustice in South Africa.
Part 4:
00:00 Avis discusses her relationship with their family nanny.
02:30 Robbie describes what they brought with them from South Africa to Canada.
04:30 Robbie and Avis discuss the reaction of their friends and relationships when they decided to leave.
08:26 Avis discuss the life pursuits of their three daughters: Dorit, Shira, and Susan.
11:05 Robbie and Avis discuss factors that contribute to their feeling and identifying as Canadian.
Source
Oral Histories

Overcrowding in Black Hospitals

What We Left Behind

An Icon at the Club

Name
Nicole Cohen
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
18 Nov. 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Nicole Cohen
Number
OH 422
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
18 Nov. 2015
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
OH 422 part 1: 22 min.
OH 422 part 2: 18 min.
OH 422 part 3: 4 min.
OH 422 part 4: 10 min.
Biography
Nicole “Nicky” Cohen moved to Canada from Johannesburg when she was five years old. Thereafter, her family went back several times. Her last trip back as a child was at age twelve. It is from these trips that she has her earliest memories of South Africa.
In 2008, Nicky returned to South Africa with her husband and children for a cousin’s wedding. While back, they visited the apartment where Nicky’s mother had grown up. As luck would have it, they made the acquaintance of the maid taking care of the apartment and who turned out to be the daughter of Nicky’s own nanny, Ruth. Ruth met with the family several times and the two sides stayed in touch for many years.
Ruth has since passed away, but Nicky hopes to return to South Africa with her husband and children in the near future.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Cohen, Nicole
Geographic Access
Cape Town (South Africa)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Soweto (South Africa)
Thornhill (Ont.)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
00:30 Nicole "Nicky" Cohen outlines her family history. Her great-grandparents came from Lithuania. Her paternal grandfather was born in Cape Town and her paternal grandmother was born in Johannesburg. Her maternal grandmother was born in Namibia. He maternal father and step-father were born in Germany and immigrated to South Africa in the 1930s.
01:40 Nicole discusses the birthplaces of her family. Her parents, Nicole, and her older brother were born in Johannesburg. Her younger brother was born in Toronto.
02:08 Nicole, aged five, immigrated to Canada with her parents on 19 March 1977.
02:23 Nicole recalls few memories from living in South Africa but shares some memories she gleaned from return trips and photographs.
03:37 Nicole recalls that her family would take four-to-six-week trips to South Africa every two years from 1977-1984.
04:52 Nicole's mother was a physiotherapist and her father was a travel agent.
05:30 Nicole explains why her parents decided to emigrate from South Africa.
06:58 Nicole discusses the maid (i.e., nanny), Ruth, from her childhood.
10:55 Nicole recalls other South African family friends they maintained when they moved to Toronto.
11:34 Nicole discusses living arrangements when her family came to Toronto. Her family settled in Thornhill.
13:15 Nicole discusses her education.
14:00 Nicole discusses the challenges of adjusting to a Toronto winter.
15:42 Nicole fondly recalls return visits to South Africa with her family.
16:45 Nicole describes attending a cousin's wedding to South Africa in 2008, twenty-four years after her last visit. She discusses the trip.
21:06 Nicole discusses the high crime rate in Johannesburg. She cites some specific examples.
Part 2:
00:00 Nicole continues to discuss the high rate of crime in Johannesburg. She discusses driving through shanty towns in Cape Town and Soweto.
02:05 Nicole recalls visiting the apartment where her grandmother had lived. She discusses some of the security enforced by gates and guards. She shares an anecdote involving her family's maid, Ruth. She describes how she reconnected with Ruth and her daughter while visiting her grandmother's former apartment.
13:00 Nicole expresses a desire to return to South Africa.
13:55 Nicole discusses relatives who remain in South Africa. She notes her father's first cousin and daughter who live in Johannesburg. She discusses where other relatives are currently living.
Part 3:
00:00 Nicole discusses the close relationship between her family and their maid, Ruth. She describes how her family supported Ruth and her family.
01:20 Nicole explains how her parents and grandmother remained in contact with Ruth even after her grandmother immigrated to Canada. She recalls an anecdote involving her family arranging for Ruth to visit Toronto when she was temporarily working with a South African family in New York in the late 1980s.
02:54 Nicole discusses the difficulty her father encouraged when he initially attempted to immigrate to Canada in 1976. She cites a fictitious letter of employment for her father that enabled her family to immigrate. The letter is on file in the archives.
Part 4:
00:00 Nicole describes photographs. Some of the photographs were taken during former and recent trips to South Africa. Some photographs include images from shanty towns, Soweto, Sun City, relatives, Nicole's grandmother's apartment, etc.
Source
Oral Histories

A Big Part of my Life

Name
Karrie Weinstock
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
11 Jul. 2016
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Karrie Weinstock
Number
OH 435
Subject
Immigrants--Canada
Interview Date
11 Jul. 2016
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
OH 435 part 1: 22 min.
OH 435 part 2: 11 min.
OH 435 part 3: 22 min.
OH 435 part 4: 5 min.
Biography
Karrie’s life has long been characterized by both privilege and an acute sensitivity to the challenges facing those less fortunate than herself. Although she grew up in a happy professional family, her childhood was marked by uncertainty. Her father, Jack Unterhalter, was a civil rights lawyer in the Apartheid era, active in left-wing politics, and Karrie recalls him keeping a packed briefcase by the door during the state of emergency in case the authorities should come for him.
As a young woman, Karrie studied to be an English teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge. She then returned to South Africa, where she taught for two years, before moving to Boston to pursue a master’s degree in educational administration, planning and social policy at Harvard. Upon graduating, she took a position at Milton OHademy, an independent school in Boston. She enjoyed her time there but chose to relocate to Toronto, where she had an aunt. For over three decades, she has worked at Branksome Hall, first as an English teacher, then as an administrator, and now in her current role as deputy principal.
In 1985, Karrie married Michael Weinstock, a native Torontonian, whose family embraced her as one of their own. Both Karrie and Michael had been married previously and through her marriage to Michael, she inherited three beautiful stepdaughters. Karrie and Michael had a child of their own, a son who shares his mother’s love of South Africa, visiting the country each year.
Recognizing her great fortune in life, Karrie gives back through her volunteer work with the Stephen Leacock Foundation, which, among other initiatives, supports low-fee independent schools in South Africa that are connected to independent and public schools in Canada so as to form a unique Triangle of Hope.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Weinstock, Karen
Geographic Access
Boston (Mass.)
Cambridge (England)
Jamestown (South Africa)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
00:00 Karrie outlines her immediate family. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.
01:28 Karrie discusses her family history. Her maternal grandfather was born in 1891 in Lithuania. He came to South Africa in 1914 to escape the military. Her maternal grandmother was born in 1903 in Lithuania. Her paternal grandfather was born in 1888 in Poland. Her paternal grandmother, whose parents came from Lithuania, was born in London in 1893.
03:54 Karrie discusses her father's career as a civil rights lawyer. She discusses her father's role as a founding member of the Liberal Party in South Africa.
06:35 Karrie discusses the impOHt her father's political OHtivism had on her family. She offers examples to illustrate the unique situation in her home while growing up (e.g. political meetings, fear of her father's imminent arrest, visits from political prisoners).
08:26 Karrie offers her impressions of the position taken by the greater Jewish community in South Africa.
09:27 Karrie explains why she and her siblings attended independent schools.
11:00 Karrie discusses her family's involvement in the Jewish community and Jewish prOHtice.
13:15 Karrie discusses how her parents stressed the importance of education and viewed education as a means of leaving South Africa. She discusses the education paths of her siblings as well as her own. Karrie received her teaching qualifications at Cambridge and earned a master's degree in administration planning and social policy at Harvard.
15:34 Karrie lives in Canada. Her sister lives in London. Her brother opted to return to South Africa.
16:38 Karrie relates an anecdote that compares her current situation of seeing her mother once a year with Black workers in South Africa who saw their children once a year.
17:48 Karrie explains that both her sister and brother were unable to return to South Africa for a period of time. In her sister's case it was due to her political activity; in her brother's case, it was due to his refusal to serve in the military.
18:55 Karrie discusses her "charmed" life growing up.
20:54 Karrie discusses her teaching qualifications and first teaching position at an independent school for mixed-race students.
Part 2:
00:56 Karrie discusses her experience at Harvard. Specifically, she mentions a friendship.
06:09 Karrie explains why her parents preferred that she not return to South Africa.
07:09 Karrie relates the story of finding a job at Milton Academy in Boston following graduation.
Part 3:
00:00 Karrie explains how she decided to move to Toronto.
03:45 Karrie explains how she became engaged and married to Clive Lovett in 1979. She explains the factors that contributed to the end of their four-year marriage.
05:16 Karrie discusses her teaching and administrative responsibilities at Branksome Hall.
12:59 Karrie describes meeting and marrying Michael Weinstock. Michael has three children from a previous marriage. Karrie and Michael have one son together.
15:20 Karrie explains how Peter Oliver, a prominent South African-born Toronto philanthropist and businessman, arranged to fund and build an independent school, the Get-Ahead Project School in rural South Africa. She explains her involvement with the project and the connection with Branksome Hall, Rose Avenue Public School, a high-needs school in Toronto, and the Get-Ahead Project School in South Africa.
Part 4:
00:00 Karrie continues to describe the inter-school program that has been set up for students at Branksome Hall, a school in Jamestown; Toronto, and the Get-Ahead school.
02:26 Karrie discusses her role on the board of the Leacock Foundation and her opportunity to further the inter-school program. She cites an example of how they contributed to the Get-Ahead school.
04:17 Karrie reminisces about times when she felt Canadian.
Source
Oral Histories

A Triangle of Hope

A Packed Suitcase by the Door

A Charmed Existence

Name
Anthony Melman, 1947-
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
27 Sept. 2017
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Anthony Melman, 1947-
Number
OH 447
Subject
Immigrants--Canada
Businessmen
Capitalists and financiers
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
27 Sept. 2017
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
1 hr., 19 min.
Biography
Anthony “Tony” Melman was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 1 June 1947 to Frances and Jack Melman. He was Frances and Jack’s second child, their first being Tony’s older sister, Lillian. Both of Tony’s parents were second-generation South Africans, his father’s family originating from Lithuania and his mother’s from Poland.
Tony describes himself as having been “quite naughty” as a child, which, among other things, resulted in him being sent to a Methodist boarding school. The experience was not entirely negative as Tony forged close friendships with other Jewish boys at the school. Prefiguring his lifelong passion for music, he even formed a rock ‘n’ roll band while he was there.
After high school, Tony enrolled in the army, eventually becoming a major. His rebellious streak alive and well, he would sometimes go AWOL in order to play music at different nightclubs around town.
Tony’s postsecondary education spanned several institutions: He holds a bachelor of science degree from Wits University, a master of business administration degree (gold medalist) from the University of Cape Town, and a doctor of philosophy degree (also from Wits). At the time, Tony thought of his PhD as a kind of “ticket” for leaving South Africa.
Tony and his wife came to Toronto in February 1977 and fell in love with the city. In July, Tony took up a position at CIBC, where he rose to the position of senior vice president. In 1984, he left CIBC to co-found Onex Corporation, where he stayed until 2006. Upon leaving Onex, he enjoyed a brief retirement before returning to the world of finance, co-founding Acasta Capital in 2012 and Acasta Enterprises in 2015.
In addition to music, Tony is passionate about health and fitness. He and his wife Valerie have three children.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Melman, Anthony
Geographic Access
Cape Town (South Africa)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:15 Anthony introduces himself. He states his date and place of birth and describes his immediate family. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 1 June 1947. Growing up, he had an older sister, Lillian. His parents were Frances and Jack Melman.
00:50 Anthony discusses his family history. His parents were born in South Africa and were second-generation South Africans. His father's family was from Lithuania originally while his mother's family was from Poland.
01:15 Anthony talks about his sister. He relates a story about her marking up his face when they were little. They weren't close. Today, she lives in Los Angeles with her family.
02:40 Anthony talks about himself as a child. He describes himself as "quite naughty." His naughty behaviour led his father to send him to boarding school.
03:55 Anthony discusses Jewish observance at home. They were Orthodox but did not run an Orthodox home. He shares memories of synagogue attendance.
05:13 Anthony discusses his father's relationship to Judaism. He describes his father as "a proud Jew." He was not, however, an especially religious man.
06:05 Anthony discusses his father's profession. Jack Melman was a lawyer who ran a family practice. He did not encourage Anthony to follow in his footsteps, professionally-speaking.
07:47 Anthony explains his decision-making process around leaving South Africa. He then talks about his family's reaction when he informed them of his decision. They were supportive.
09:25 Anthony talks about his schooling. He attended a Methodist boarding school, where he formed a rock 'n' roll band. The Jewish boys at the school bonded over their outsider status. His education was in English, although he did learn Afrikaans.
13:05 Anthony remembers his bar mitzvah. It was a fun event.
14:25 Anthony talks about his time in the army. Conscription was not mandatory at the time. His father felt it was important for Anthony to serve his country. Anthony became a major in the army. He also relates stories of going AWOL to play music at different nightclubs.
20:05 Anthony talks about his mother, who was very musical. Neither Anthony's father nor his sister were musical. Anthony concludes his love of music comes from his mother. On the whole, Anthony's family was indifferent to his musical interests. His mother-in-law appreciated his music.
23:18 Anthony elaborates upon the continuing importance of music in his life. He wrote music for each of his daughter's weddings as well as for his son's bar mitzvah. He considers his music spiritual as well as philosophical.
25:44 Anthony discusses his postsecondary education at the University of Witswatersrand, where he studied chemical engineering. He did not want to become a chemical engineer, so he went to Cape Town to attend business school. Following that, he went into the workforce only to decide to do a PhD. He saw the PhD as a "ticket" to exit South Africa.
28:57 Anthony explains how he came to North America upon completing his PhD in December 1976.
30:10 Anthony describes falling in love with Toronto. He and his wife came in February 1977. They had never experienced snow before. He began working at CIBC in July 1977.
32:20 Anthony talks about friends in Toronto who helped him and his wife get set-up.
34:45 Anthony discusses how he came to co-found Onex. It became a launching pad for his "evolution" in finance.
43:30 Anthony talks about what he means by "evolution." He talks about his early forays into business (such as selling his mother's sandwiches at school) and his later entrepreneurial endeavours. He believes it is necessary to be both tough and fair in business.
46:00 Anthony discusses a Financial Post article that profiled him. He considers himself to have been instrumental in Onex's success. He cites Celestica as an example. He speaks at length about the Labatt takeover.
50:45 Anthony returns to the theme of evolution. He considers himself to have been at grade one when he came to Canada. Now he is "as far as . . . most people can go."
52:20 Anthony talks about his decision to leave Onex after twenty-one years. He felt that the culture changed. It was not a culture that he felt comfortable with.
52:55 Anthony talks about his short-lived retirement, during which time he was the chair of Baycrest. He also devoted himself to his hobbies, including guitar and photography.
54:50 Anthony recalls his experience being approached by Belinda Stronach regarding a business opportunity. Together, they started Acasta Capital.
57:30 Anthony talks about his passion for and commitment to fitness.
1:02:05 Anthony discusses fainting in a Four Seasons hotel in New York and hitting his head on the way down. At the time, he attributed it to low blood sugar. Anthony goes on to relate his prior and subsequent health history.
1:11:00 Anthony talks about his life today, including his health, the significance of the number eleven for him, his family, and Acasta Capital/Acasta Enterprises. Anthony closes on the theme of people and the importance of people to business.
Source
Oral Histories

Methodist Boarding School

Family Reactions

Getting Started

Dealmaker of the Year

Name
Colleen "Chips" Klein and Paul Klein
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
03/13/2017
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Colleen "Chips" Klein and Paul Klein
Number
OH 444
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
03/13/2017
Interviewer
Lisa Newman
Total Running Time
OH 444 part 1: 7 min.
OH 444 part 2: 7 min.
OH 444 part 3: 37 min.
OH 444 part 4: 2 min.
Biography
Although they both grew up in Jewish neighbourhoods, Chips and Paul met for the first time at Margate, a decidedly non-Jewish seaside resort on South Africa’s southern coast. Chips’ grandmother, who was with Chips at the time, scouted the area for Jewish men, which is when she spotted Paul. Convinced the two were bashert, she indulged in a little matchmaking, with the result that Paul phoned Chips when he returned home. While they did break up at one point, Chips’ grandmother’s judgment was vindicated when the two married at Cyrildene Shul in Johannesburg a few years later.
When their children were three and five years old, the couple made the decision to immigrate to Canada. Paul, an engineer by training, was transferred to Guelph. There, the family joined the local synagogue and enrolled their children in public education. It was while living in Guelph that Chips and Paul became involved in work combating antisemitism. Growing up in Jewish communities, neither had encountered much antisemitism, but living in a small town they were forced to come to terms with being different.
Once their children were grown up, Chips and Paul moved to Toronto, purchasing a house in Thornhill in order to be close to the South African community. Both Chips and Paul are involved in Jewish education through their local synagogue and remain active in a variety of sports. In addition to their faith, sport is one of the ways they stay in touch with their grandchildren, which is why Chips says, “As long as we’re able, we’re going to keep doing it.”
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Klein, Colleen
Klein, Paul
Geographic Access
Guelph (Ont.)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Thornhill (Ont.)
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
Part 1:
00:00 Chips discusses the areas in Johannesburg where she was born and raised.
01:30 Chips discusses her education. She attended King David School. She notes that her parents may have been founding members of King David.
02:37 Chips discusses her career in dance as a dancer and as a teacher in her own dance school.
05:22 Chips describes growing up in South Africa. She discusses her family's warm relationship with their servants.
06:20 Chips mentions her own political involvement as a teenager in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She explains why and her husband decided to leave South Africa.
Part 2:
00:00 Paul discusses his parents' arrival to South Africa. His father fled from Berlin in 1937. His mother fled from Frankfurt, Germany in 1936. His father served in the British army during the war.
01:34 Paul explains why his father did not join a synagogue. Paul did not have a bar mitzvah. He recounts an incident that he attributes to his connection to Judaism.
02:55 Paul explains that having Jewish friends only became an issue for him when he started dating.
03:20 Paul explains that his father's fellow workers were secular German Jews.
03:40 Paul discusses his limited Jew upbringing. He discusses how and why he started to learn about and practice Judaism.
05:02 Paul has one sister living in Montreal. He discusses other relatives, some of whom survived the Holocaust.
06:30 Paul discusses how he met Chips.
Part 3:
00:00 Chips discusses how she met Paul.
00:48 Chips and Paul describe how they reconnected with Chips when Paul graduated from engineering.
03:49 Paul discusses their early marriage. He explains the factors that contributed to his decision to leave South Africa and immigrate to Canada. He expresses satisfaction with their decision to come to Canada.
05:25 Chips notes their children's positive comments about growing up and living in Canada.
05:56 Paul discusses his professional career.
07:30 Chips discusses their friends' and relatives' reactions to their decision to leave South Africa. They left in 1975. Chips' and Paul's parents immigrated to Canada around 1981.
09:18 Paul describes his parents' reaction to their decision to emigrate.
10:14 Chips discusses her parents' comments about leaving South Africa.
10:49 Chips and Paul discuss their return visits to South Africa. Chips describes her children's impressions of South Africa.
12:45 Chips discusses their early time in Canada. They first came to Guelph. She discusses establishing a Jewish home/environment for their children.
13:42 Paul recounts antisemitic incidents while living in Guelph.
15:20 Paul discusses their involvement with a program out of Lipa Green focused on assisting small Jewish communities. He comments on the program's success. Paul served as vice-chair.
16:50 Paul discusses the impact of the program on his children. He describes their strong connection to Israel.
17:37 Chips and Paul explain the program and how it was implemented.
18:46 Paul discusses his involvement with the synagogue in Guelph and in Toronto.
20:39 Paul explains why they decided to move to Thornhill in 1991. They belong to a synagogue on Green Lane.
21:33 Paul explains that the company he worked for in South Africa transferred him to Canada.
22:32 Chips discusses her community involvement including participation in Hadassah-WIZO and participation in the synagogue.
23:26 Chips discusses the creation of a business. She discusses her involvement in a women's inventors project. Chips mentions that she and Paul run a business together.
25:47 Chips describes her involvement in the development of a book to assist women with the patenting and marketing of products. She describes a federal government initiative that she was involved in to develop a book for the government to help women entrepreneurs. She also assisted with the development of a books for teachers and Girl Guides geared toward female inventions.
27:52 Paul discusses an acclaimed dance program that Chips was involved with South Africa.
30:22 Chips and Paul discuss their involvement in Jewish education. Chips spearheaded an adult education program for women and men. Paul discusses his involvement teaching Parshat HaShavuah.
35:45 Chips discusses her family's involvement in sport, including marathons and skiing.
36:47 Paul ponders the question of feeling Canadian.
Part 4:
00:34 Chips comments on when she first considered herself Canadian.
02:02 Paul mentions a National Film Board documentary about Jews in small communities and their inclusion in the film.
Source
Oral Histories

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

Always a Stranger

Anti-Semitism in Canada

Small Town Life

7 records – page 1 of 1.