Submitted by Harry on Sep, 26
My Father and I
My father came here after surviving a concentration camp in World War II. He was a Jewish refugee, born in Poland. He escaped the Warsaw ghetto to Russian controlled Poland, where he was then sent to a forced labour camp near the arctic circle. He began his life in Canada in downtown Toronto where there was a hub of Jewish refugees after the war. I was born here. For a family, most of which were exterminated, it's like most of the branches of the tree were cut off and then some new buds grew in Toronto. I understand, before my father came here there were signs on beaches that read "no jews and dogs allowed". Luckily things are better here now. Now it's very multicultural, maybe the most multicultural city in North America. I remember during a Massey College lecture by Rosie Abella, now a supreme court of Canada judge and also a child of Jewish holocaust survivors from Poland, she contrasted the American credo "from one, many" and said the Canadian equivalent would be "from one, many". From one community of people many cultures are nurtured.
How is this object or story important to you?

A person, my father, whose family was pretty much exterminated because of their ethnicity, then came to this city where our religion and culture was allowed to flourish, without persecution. Without that, I wouldn't have the life I have now with my child.

What does it add to the story of Toronto?

Toronto has so much respect for people's lives and culture and their right to pursue them.