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7 records – page 1 of 1.
Name
Darrel Hotz
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
25 Jun. 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Darrel Hotz
Number
OH 417
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
25 Jun. 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
Hilton and Shirley Silberg
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
3 Sep. 2015
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Hilton and Shirley Silberg
Number
OH 419
Subject
Business
Immigrants--Canada
Families
Occupations
Interview Date
3 Sep. 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
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
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
Elfreda and Alec Levine
Material Format
moving images
Interview Date
9 Feb. 2017
Source
Oral Histories
Name
Elfreda and Alec Levine
Number
OH 442
Subject
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
9 Feb. 2017
Interviewer
Miriam Borden
Total Running Time
OH 422 part 1: 37 min.
OH 422 part 2: 9 min.
Biography
Alec and Elfreda met when they were young teenagers. Elfreda was friends with Alec’s sister and the two would play tennis together. Despite meeting at a young age, Alec and Elfreda did not begin dating until they were in their early twenties. They married in 1958 and subsequently had three children. It was largely on account of their two eldest children that they emigrated. Their eldest son had emigrated first, initially settling in Saskatchewan, while their daughter emigrated shortly thereafter, making a home in the United Kingdom. Their youngest son chose to remain in South Africa.
Following the birth of their granddaughter in Saskatoon, Alec and Elfreda began making regular trips to Canada. As time went on and crime continued to rise in South Africa, Alec and Elfreda’s children started to encourage their parents to move to Canada. This they did in 1999, arriving in Toronto in the cold month of October. While the ice and snow initially made for a new and exciting experience, they quickly got over it.
Arriving in their sixties, Alec and Elfreda initially struggled in their new country, but soon found work and made friends. Making this process somewhat easier was the fact that the two enjoyed exploring the different areas of the city via subway, an activity they keep up to this day. Alec and Elfreda also continue to follow developments in South Africa—in part because one of their sons lives there—but now think of themselves as Canadians.
Material Format
moving images
Language
English
Name Access
Levine, Alec
Levine, Elfreda
Geographic Access
Cape Town (South Africa)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Saskatchewan
Toronto (Ont.)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Transcript
00:40 Elfreda discusses her family's immigration to South Africa. Her maternal grandparents came to Cape Town from Riga, Latvia via London. Her paternal grandfather came to South Africa in his teens and settled in ?Aliwal North.
02:14 Alec discusses his family's immigration to South Africa. His parents were married in Riga, Latvia. His maternal grandfather came to South Africa. During the period of 1930-1936, he brought his five daughters and their husbands to South Africa.
03:30 Elfreda describes Jewish life in Aliwal North. She explains why the Jewish population declined over time.
05:08 Elfreda recalls travelling by train to cities for holidays and how she and Alec met during holiday.
06:41 Alec describes his Jewish life growing up in Johannesburg.
07:48 Elfreda continues to discuss Jewish life while growing up in a small community.
09:13 Alec and Elfreda discuss Jewish youth groups and camps.
10:35 Elfreda discusses her academic path: two years of nursing in Cape Town and commercial bookkeeping in Johannesburg.
12:13 Alec discusses his career path: architecture for two years then joining the family plumbing business.
13:00 Alec and Elfreda married in 1958.
13:24 Alec describes his limited involvement in politics in South Africa. Their daughter became involved with the African National Congress (ANC) while she attended university.
14:55 Elfreda shares her memories from her childhood. She recalls the impact of apartheid following the rise of the nationalists in 1948.
16:13 Alec and Elfreda discuss having household staff in their homes while growing up and after they were married.
19:50 Elfreda describes a party she held for her family's maid when she retired.
21:17 Alec and Elfreda explain when and why their two older children emigrated from South Africa. Their youngest son remained in South Africa.
22:49 Alec and Elfreda discuss the factors that contributed to their decision to immigrate to Canada.
25:13 Alec describes some incidents of violence he personally experienced in Johannesburg.
25:58 Alec and Elfreda describe their feeling about leaving South Africa and the challenges of immigrating at a later stage of life (e.g. upgrading their work skills, finding work, making new friends).
28:33 Alec and Elfreda share some of their earliest memories of moving to Canada.
30:35 Alec discusses his early efforts to find work in Canada.
33:52 Elfreda discusses her involvement with the Jewish community, notably the South African Jewish community since their arrival in Canada.
35:49 Elfreda discusses how their willingness to explore Toronto has helped with their integration.
Part 2:
00:34 Alec and Elfreda describe the response from family and friends in South Africa to their decision to leave.
02:25 Alec and Elfreda came to Canada in October 1999. Their son, Mark, came in 1986.
02:50 Alec and Elfreda discuss the easier experience of integration by their son's family compared to their own.
03:49 Elfreda relates a family story. Mark settled in a small town in Saskatchewan when he arrived in Canada. He discovered that relatives of Elfreda had settled in a small neighbouring community in 1906.
5:00 Elfreda discusses their identity as Canadians.
Elfreda discusses their ongoing connections with South Africa.
07:30 Elfreda notes that they did not experience culture shock as they settled in Canada.
Source
Oral Histories

Not the Way to Live

Afrikaners Dominated Politics

Leaving your Heart in South Africa

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

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