In general terms, the majority of Jewish immigrants arrived from Eastern Europe during the inter-war years settling primarily in the Kensington Market area working mainly as laborers in the garment industry or as peddlers. Immigrants sought the aid of the Folks Farein for financial assistance by helping to reduce fees for hospital stays, physicians, pharmaceuticals, dentists, vision care, medical appliances, home care, rent, food relief and specifically Passover relief, and legal fees. The Folks Farein would also provide interpretation services when necessary, such as at Toronto hospitals and when dealing with legal services or city officials, as the majority of their clients spoke only Yiddish. The Folks Farein worked in conjunction with a number of medical and mental health institutions such as the Toronto Hospital, the Ontario Hospital Whitby, Mt. Sinai, the Sick Children's Hospital and the Hospital for Incurables. Case workers would often make site visits to client homes in order to assess and/or remedy their living situation.
Scope and Content
Series consists of case files of individuals or families seeking financial, medical and legal aid. The files include intake forms, remarks, medical reports, legal documents, correspondence with hospitals, physicians, charitable organizations, social service agencies, and the department of immigration. In most cases, multiple people are mentioned in the file, such as spouses and children, or close relatives.
Intake forms are divided into two sections: one that captures general biographical information about the client at first contact, such as the client name, age, current address, telephone number, occupation, employer, birthplace, citizenship, length of time in Canada and Toronto, names and number of children, and name of spouse and relatives; and one section that captures ongoing general remarks about the individual's situation as recorded by the case worker.
Medical reports include the nature of the client's illness and record of ongoing care, health care provider correspondence, administration of fees for service, prescriptions, date and cause of death.
Correspondence includes letters to and from social service agencies, government departments, medical institutions, legal services and religious institutions. Also included are client letters of thanks to the Folks Farein. Most client letters are written in Yiddish.
Legal documents include original passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, military records, landing papers, naturalization certificates, and medical certificates. Documents have often been translated from language of origin into English by case workers.
There are several different blocks of clients evident in the records: those who arrived during the inter-war years; post-Second World War refugees including those from DP camps brought over through the tailor's project, and those who were sponsored by relatives and businesses; those who came after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; and in the later years, first-born Canadians in need of assistance and those having lived in Canada for a considerable time applying for old age security and mother's allowance.
Researchers should consult the Folks Farein case file database for information on individual files.
ACCESS RESTRICTION NOTE: Case files are closed until 120 years after date of creation or 50 years after death. In some cases the death of the individual is noted in the file, but in many of these instances there are other family members mentioned and so this information will require redaction.
The series was formerly known as MG2 O1N
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
Case numbers are based upon the date a case was first opened. The title of each file contains the client name, address and case number. This arrangement has been maintained.