Arrival in Halifax as a War Orphan

In this video, David Mark tells the story of how he ended up with a job in Halifax so soon after arriving in Canada through the War Orphans Project. Source: Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives, 1981



Video begins with inter-title in white text on black screen while instrumental music plays and fades into the next frame: After the war, David Mark stayed with his sister in Czechoslovakia and took up watchmaking as a trade.



Cut to Holocaust survivor David Mark, sitting in front of a grey background, and looking to the left of the camera. The camera shows his face and shoulders as he speaks during an interview conducted in Halifax in 1981.

>> David Mark: And as I was an orphan, I didn't have anybody, just my sister.



The name “David Mark” and the location of the filmed interview, “Halifax”, appear in white text above David's right shoulder.

>> I went to school, and one day they called my sister. As I was registered as an orphan, they asked me if I wanted to go to Canada. Because the Canadian government at that time was taking in orphans, so many orphans. They had to be under 18, which I was.



Cut to black-and-white photograph of a young man in a suit, smiling at the camera. The photo caption appears in white text in the left side of the frame, “David in Halifax, 1948”.

>>I think it was called Canadian Jewish Congress…



Cut to David Mark in front of the camera.

>>… at that time, and they sponsored me coming over to Canada as an orphan. But when they told me in Czechoslovakia, while at that time I was going to school there, to go to Canada, I didn't know where Canada was. I knew it was somewhere close to America. But I didn't know what the country was like and the environment of Canada or anything. And I arrived —from Czechoslovakia I went as far as Liverpool, England, and from Liverpool they put me on a boat, it was called Aquitania.



Cut to colour copy of a travel identity document with the black-and-white identity picture of a young man in the bottom-left corner of the paper. The document has several red stamps and hand-written information filled into the form. The photo caption appears in white text in the top-right corner of the frame, “Travel identity document, 1948”.

>>And I arrived in Halifax on February the 14th, 1948.


[01:13- 02:21]

Cut to David Mark in front of the camera.

>>I met two brothers, watchmakers here in Halifax. I came on a Thursday, and where it was close to Shabbat, they wouldn't transport us on Shabbat. So they billeted us into the different families. We were young kids. And I stayed with one family. And on Sunday, they took us out on an outing, myself and another fellow that was with me, who was also an orphan and was much younger than I was. His name was Michel. He didn't stay here in Halifax. And I met these people that had a jewellery store, their name was Roza, Barnie and Lou Roza. And we started to talk there and they asked me, because you know I was a newcomer and a child, they asked me what I do. They asked me, and I told them I was a watchmaker. They asked me if I wanted to come to work for them, if I wanted to come to work. And I didn't know anything, I said, “Yes!” I had a trade, I worked at it for two years in Czechoslovakia and they asked me if I wanted to continue my trade. And they were very, very fine men. As a matter of fact they are both living in Halifax and I am grateful to them.



Music plays for the remainder of the video. Three credit pages appear in white text on black screen: Interview conducted by Josh Freed, Holocaust Documentation Project, Halifax, 1981, Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives

Images:  USC Shoah Foundation; David Mark Family Collection

Directing: Helgi Piccinin; Editing and Colorization: Michaël Gravel, Helgi Piccinin; Audio Mix and Original Music: Pierre-Luc Lecours. [Logo for Chaire de recherche du Canada en patrimoine ethnologique]

Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, copyright 2017.



End of transcript.

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