Canadian Holocaust refugees meet

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Oct 28 22:05:50 UTC 2008

Canadian Holocaust refugees meet

Published: 10/28/2008

Orphaned Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Canada despite a
closed-door policy held a reunion in Montreal. About 20 of the
orphaned survivors met Sunday to reminisce about the new life Canada
offered after the Holocaust and to mark the 60th anniversary of their
arrival. Canada's immigration policy during the war years was marked
by a now-infamous "none is too many" stance. During the Holocaust,
Canada admitted a total of only about 5,000 Jews - one of the worst
records among Western countries - but it was also one of the first
countries to cautiously open its doors to Jewish refugees.

In 1947, Ottawa issued just over 1,000 visas for orphaned Holocaust
survivors. The Canadian Jewish Congress was charged with finding them
homes, jobs and educations.

The vast majority were teenagers; only 37 of the young refugees were
under 10 years of age. Most of the orphans settled in Toronto and
Montreal, while a few hundred were scattered across Western Canada.

Despite language difficulties and virtually no money, they went on to
prosper and to have families. According to one study, practically none
fell into juvenile delinquency or crime.

The orphans, now in their late 70s, swapped stories of war-time horror
and the hope Canada offered.

"We tried to make a living; we had no English, nothing," said Eva
Shainblum, who was 19 when she arrived. "But we evolved."
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