Ron Anderson is Crestwood student Andrew Gdanski’s grandfather. In October 2014 he sat down with Andrew and shared stories of his formative years in Toronto, describing how the city has changed so much in a short period of time. Mr. Anderson especially recalled the power of Hurricane Hazel, which tore through southern Ontario in the
Marion Brouse is Blair Stutz’s grandmother. Blair was in Mr. Masters’ History 10 class in 2008-9; Blair interviewed her grandmother about her experiences growing up in wartime England.
David Campbell is Corey Campbell’s grandfather. He was interviewed for this project in early 2008. During the war David worked in the aircraft industry; as an essential employee he was therefore exempted from military service, though he did try to enlist on two occasions. On the second try he ended up being injured in training,
Mark Charness was born May 18, 1923 in Montreal. He was raised in a loving, hard-working family, where he learned to give generously of himself. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on the first day he was eligible. With a keen gift for math, Mark trained as a navigator, earning the rank of
Beatrice Chu was born in the end of December, 1930 in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Before the war, she was middle class. She lived with her many sisters and brothers and her parents; she was the oldest sibling and had 9 younger siblings that she helped to care for. The Japanese came to attack Hong Kong
Rosa Cohen-Rubin is the grandmother of Crestwood student Sy Greenberg. She is a Holocaust survivor who was a hidden child during the war, along with her sister. Her parents Felix and Blima were able to save their daughters by leaving them in the care of a convent. Sy interviewed his grandmother about her experiences in
Lynne Conner was born on October 1st 1928, in the Cape Verde Islands. She had an older brother, Peter. Her parents are Adela and Richard Wharton. Her mother was Spanish, from the Canary Islands and her father was English. When she was eight, she was the last of her family to move to England, to
Barbara Cooper was born in 1930 and was nine years old when World War II began. Mrs. Cooper moved to Canada in 1954, after her marriage with Lou Cooper. Barbara lived in a town in England called Yorkshire and never experienced any difficult situations during the war. Lou Cooper was born in 1929 and was
Raffaella DeSimone was born in Italy in 1943, in the midst of the Second World War. As her parents were farmers, and there was no work, the family relocated to France, and then to Canada. The family arrived in Halifax, at Pier 21, and they began to adapt to their new country, reaching out to family
Jean-Marie Doan (nee Shoulds) was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia two months after the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. She shares her story of growing up during the Great Depression, as well as her experiences on the home front during World War 2. With two uncles fighting in the war, Jean was extremely aware
Dwight Drummond is originally from Jamaica, coming to Toronto when he was young. He grew up in the city’s Jane-Finch neighbourhood, where he excelled at basketball and developed an affinity for journalism, which he pursued at Ryerson. He obtained a degree and rose through the ranks at various Toronto media outlets after he graduated, rising
Joanna Eaves was born on February 17, 1943. She grew up with her mother, Nora, her sister, Liz, and her brother, Charles. Unfortunately for most of her toddler years, her father, John, was off fighting in World War II. John’s position in the war was a Maratha Light Infantry of the Indian army. During the war, Joanna’s father was
George Eichler was born in 1943 in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. His mom grew up in Bratislava and his dad grew up in Eastern Slovakia. George grew up with a lot of anti-Semitism but he still attended school and had a decent childhood. George has 2 brothers, Gabriel and Viktor, and also has 1 sister, Naomi. George
Moshe Elfassy was born in Fez, Morocco on July 25th, 1938. He was born as the war was starting – and on its periphery – so he was much less impacted by the events that would follow. His large Jewish family was living in Fez, an area that did not come under direct Nazi control,
Elaine Elliott was born in Kingston, Jamaica in. She is the second oldest out of 4 children, her older sister and herself were born in Jamaica, while the younger two were born in England. She lived in Jamaica with her grandmother until she was 15 yrs old. Then her parents decided to move her and
Edward Fisch grew up in wartime Hungary. Grandparent of Crestwood student Sidra Fisch, he learned to survive against the backdrop of Hungarian fascism and the 1944 occupation of Hungary by Nazi Germany, including time spent in the ghettoes and camps. Edward visited us for this interview in October 2013, where he was interviewed by Sidra
Before the war, Henry Gancman was living a comfortable life in a middle class Polish family. He had two sisters and a brother, was learning to be a carpenter, and he enjoyed playing soccer. All that came to a quick end after Sept. 1939 – like so many Polish Jews, Henry dealt with the restrictions
Norm Gardner was born February 13, 1938 in Toronto. He grew up in the city’s downtown core, attending public school and eventually Toronto Central Commerce high school. After school Norm worked at the Toronto Star, while on the side he was a member of the Queen’s Own Rifle reserve. Later Norm went into the pharmaceutical
When World War Two began in 1939 Abe and his family went to Warsaw for just two weeks as Germans took it over and then to Bialystok. After Abe and family left Bialystok they went to Lida. From there Zaida and his family spent the rest of the war in Siberia, safe from the Nazis.
Sorrell Gwartzman’s father Harold Rubin fought in the Canadian forces during WW2, and this interview is a record both of her experiences growing up in Canada during the war, and of his actions overseas. While her father enlisted and went on to be a member of the RCAF’s Precision Squad who was awarded the DFC,
Judith Hamburger was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia on January 12th1935. She was split from her mother around 1942 and spent her time in living with her grandparents, in ghettoescamps and in hiding until April 1st1945. In 1945 she was re-united with her mother, who was released from the worst of the Concentration Camps, Auschwitz. In
Marvin Hertzman was a child in wartime Toronto. In this interview, conducted by his grandson Russell Silver in early 2008, he shares his memories of the time, including the air raid wardens, the rationing, the entry of the U.S., and of the economic conditions Canadians confronted after the war.
Yitzchak Kalev was born in Jerusalem, Palestine. He has lived there for all his life. During WW2 he served in the Royal Navy on a minesweeper. He remembers seeing the German paratroopers land in Crete and the bombers on D-Day. He also fought in the IDF for many years in the War for Independence. He
Born in the 1920’s in the city of Sighet, Romania to a family of seven children, my grandmother, Adrian Karp was a member of a large, comfortable, religious home. In 1939 Romania was taken over by Hungarian forces. Soon normal life became impossible. Under the command of Germany, these forces began to treat their Jewish
Joseph Konarek escaped across the Iron Curtain into democratic Western Europe in order to come to Canada. His story is an interesting one, and is a vital part of the Konarek family history. The story of my his escape across the Iron Curtain demonstrates the risks people are willing to take to escape either physical
Sumiko Koshida is the grandmother of Crestwood student Justin Yeung. Sumiko grew up in Tashme, one of the WW2 relocation centres into which Japanese-Canadians were forced early in WW2. When the war concluded, she and her family were sent back to Japan. Here she shares her childhood memories of the family’s experiences.
Joyce joined the Royal Canadian Air Force Woman’s Division. She requested to go to England because she had never traveled the world and this was an once in a lifetime opportunity. She was trained at Rockcliffe to become a stenographer in the Orderly Room. She went over to England on Aug. 14, 1942. Her air
Helene Kravitz is Crestwood student Sy Greenberg’s great-aunt. She was a hidden child in Belgium during the Second World War, along with her sister Rosa, whose story can also be found in this project. She was interviewed by Sy in the fall of 2009.
George Kutas survived the Holocaust in Hungary. In this brief video segment he discusses the evolution of antisemitism in Hungary during the war years, prior to the 1944 deportations. While most Hungarian Jews who were deported were sent directly to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be murdered – including much of George’s extended family – George was put
Athena Lampracos was born on the 18th of October 1938. She was raised in a small village with a large family, she grew up with five sibling, her two parents, and her grandparents. Athena never experienced a normal child hood because she was raised into the war, and fear. The Germans invaded and took away
Santino Lettieri was born in Calabria, Italy in the middle of World War 2. Like many Italians of this time period, his family sought a better life in North America after the conclusion of the war, settling in Chicago. In the early 1960s, Santino and a group of high school friends enlisted in the United
Evelyn Levine was born on June 25, 1917 in Hamilton, Ontario. Growing up Jewish during that time meant dealing with a lot of anti-Semitism. Evelyn was unable to get an appointment at a hospital; she had to leave Canada to go to Boston just to get into a nursing school. Evelyn grew up in the interwar period,
Li ChunShan is the grandfather of Crestwood student Tommy Li. He was born in in 1942 in Shenyang, China. He is the youngest of three siblings. He attended school before the age of 15 years old and also helped his parents on the farm. During the Great famine, he was working in a train station.
Mr. Su Jianye and Mrs. Ma Jiexian have lived through some of the most monumental changes in 20th century history. As residents of Mao’s China, they were firsthand witnesses to the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the economic reform that has transformed communist China into one of the central nations in the 21st
Lyman MacInnis was born on September 27, 1938 in a small community called St. Peters Bay in Prince Edward Island. He had two brothers that fought and survived WWII. Lyman is currently 80 years old and living in Toronto. He was interviewed for this project by Liam MacInnis, his grandson.
Noelle Meyer was born in Paris to parents of Ukrainian Jewish ancestry. She was 2 and a half years old at the time of the Nazi occupation of France, and for one and a half years, until ‘44, we do not know who took care of her. She was then taken in by the orphanage,
Ruth Miller is Daniel Troster’s grandmother. Her parents emigrated to Canada from Europe in the World War One period, and Ruth grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression in Montreal. Here she shares her memories of what Canada was like in the early 20th century.
Gerald Morello was a man born to humble roots, in an Italian neighbourhood of Toronto. He did not enlist in the army during World War II, which gave him a unique perspective on the events happening in the Home Front, and the attitudes of the Canadian people during this time period. His parents were recent
Dr. Stephen O’Rourke is the grandfather of Crestwood student Ella Lee-O’Rourke. Dr. O’Rourke originally hails from Ireland, where he grew up on a farm during the wartime years. Blessed with academic ability, his parents made sure he attended school, and Dr. O’Rourke’s education in both public and high school came courtesy of the Christian Brothers.
Asta Piil was born in 1935 in northern Estonia. When the Soviet occupation began, she and her family were able to relocate to Sweden. Eventually they made their way to Canada, on board the British ship The Walnut. After an arduous journey, they arrived at Pier 21, in Halifax. Asta and her family came to
Peter Rival was born in Bratislava in modern day Slovakia in the earliest days of World War Two. For almost 5 years, Peter and his mother lived as Roman Catholics, hiding their true identity from the Nazis. In April of 1944, he was sent to Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. While Peter’s extremely young age at the
Paul Rosner was born into a Jewish family in Bucharest, Romania in the interwar years. His family was leading a comfortable life, something that changed with the arrival of the Nazis and WW2. As the discrimination and violence escalated, Paul’s parents made the decision to leave Romania. Two efforts to go to France were unsuccessful,
Rino Sacilotto is Matt Crocker’s grandfather. He was born in small town in northeast Italy called Chions on October 6th, 1927. He was the youngest of six brothers and three sisters. His father, Atillio, was a farmer and the whole family worked on the farm. Rino lived in Chions until he was 24 years old,
Paul Seiler is the grandfather of Crestwood student Ben Sharer, who interviewed him for this project in February 2014. Paul grew up against the backdrop of wartime Romania, where he and his family were fortunate to survive the Holocaust. Paul remembers wearing the yellow star, and the deportation of many family and friends to the
Huguette Sellen nee Musso grew up in the Lorraine region of France. When the war began, her father would not collaborate, and as a result she and her family were deported to Silesia and forced to work in German-run factories. They were kept in the camps under very difficult conditions, and they were on the
Roshan Shafai was born in Tehran, Iran, on September 21 1964. She was the daughter of Habib Shafai and Noshin Shafai, who in the next 2 years would have 2 sons, making her the eldest child and the only daughter in the family. Her father worked with the Shah’s government and her mother stayed at
Chava Sloma was born in Otwock, Poland in 1925. Though she recalled incidents of anti-Semitism, she said her prewar life was for the most part good. All that changed dramatically in September 1939 though; the family initially fled to Warsaw, but as the German army advanced, the decision was made to separate, and Chava and
Esther Steiman immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1935- a move that would forever alter her life and the life of her family. Arriving in Toronto, Esther and her family experienced many of the traditional hardships of the immigrant experience. Estherís story also gives a glimpse as to what it was like to learn about
Private William Stewart served as a “bat man”, or officer’s aide, with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (British) during World War 1. Crestwood Grade 9 student Katie Stewart sat down with her father, Alan Stewart, to learn more about her great-grandfather’s wartime experience. Pte. Stewart, like many soldiers of his generation, was reluctant to talk
William Stewart was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1944. In 1952, William and his family left Northern Ireland to avoid the growing unrest associated with “The Troubles”. William’s interview discusses his early life in Ireland, his journey to Canada on the Georgic, and his family’s resettlement in Winnipeg. He contrasts his schooling in a
Zin Svirsky is the grandfather of Crestwood student Jake Elin. Zin Svirsky lived in the Soviet Union for 40 years, from 1935 to 1975. Through events such as World War Two, the Cold War and Stalin’s reign, Zin went from growing up in a poor area of the Ukraine to getting an education and becoming
Hatsuna Tagaki is the grandmother of Crestwood student Marina Morris. Marina interviewed her in September 2013, when Hatsuna was visiting Toronto from Japan. Hatsuno was born against the backdrop of World War Two, and she grew up during the difficult postwar years. Hatsuno shares here her memories of family and Japan’s changing culture in the
Flora Temou was born in Statitsa, Greece in 1936. She witnessed first hand the civil war that spread through Greece in the aftermath of World War 2. She describes the impact of witnessing the combat with her region, and her harrowing evacuation to Poland, along with other local children. In her interview, she describes the
Adrien Tuns was born on June 11, 1944, in Holland. He has 3 siblings, including 2 older sibling that were born in the Netherlands, and a younger brother who was born in Canada. At age 8 his family emigrated from a little island village in the Netherlands to Canada. His older sister Ann was born in Holland,
Penny Vasilopolous Haramis was born on June 20, 1940 in a small village in the province of Arcadia Greece. The village is called Colina which is 40km away from the town of Tripoli. She is the youngest of 2 other siblings. She attended school after the Germans left and remembers feeling more safe walking to
Sophie Vermes was born into a successful middle-class family in Mezocsat, Hungary. Although her father died in 1938, she describes her childhood as comfortable and filled with interactions with non-Jewish residents of her town. In March of 1944, her life was thrown into disarray by the Nazi-occupation of Hungary. In 2014, Sophie sat down with
John Walker was young when the war broke out. When he was eligible to enlist, he did so with the 7th Armoured Division, a.k.a. the Desert Rats, a renowned tank regiment of World War II. The War took him all over Europe, from Italy to Holland. By D-Day, he was a tank commander, arriving at
Wang Rui Lin is a member of Crestwood student David Huang’s extended family. While home in China during the summer of 2017, David had the occasion to interview him about his memories of the War of Japanese Aggression, as well as the time of China’s Civil War. Mr. Wang recalled intense memories of his own
Donald Williams is Olivia Kassardjians’s grandfather. Olivia was in Mr. Masters’ class in 2008-9; she interviewed her grandfather about his experiences growing up in wartime Jamaica and about his life after emigrating to Canada.
Sofia Yousafzai was born in 1967 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her family is made up of her 3 brothers, 2 sisters and parents. She lived a normal, but risky life. It was ormal as in she did everything anyone else would do, like going to school and going to interesting places and hanging out with friends.