Arrival in Regina as War Orphan

In this video, Leon Hirsch talks about his arrival in Regina as a war orphan and the help he received from the Canadian Jewish Congress. He lived with his friend at a Jewish family's home for a year and a half. Source: Montreal Holocaust Museum, 2003



Video begins with inter-title in white text on black screen while instrumental music plays and fades into the next frame: Leon Hirsch and his friend Joe Adler arrived in Regina through the War Orphans Project in December 1948.



Cut to black-and-white copy of a newspaper clipping that features the photograph of two young men, one sitting and one standing, looking at each other. The boys hold fruit in their hands. The photo caption appears in white text in the top-left corner, “Leon Hirsch and Joe Adler, Regina, 1948”.

>> Leon Hirsch: My friend and myself, Joe Adler, us two, they sent us at the end…



Cut to Holocaust survivor Leon Hirsch, 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 Montreal in 2003.

>> … to Regina, Saskatchewan.



The name “Leon Hirsch” and the location of the filmed interview, “Montreal”, appear in white text above Leon's right shoulder.

>> Someone met you there? Pardon? Did somebody meet you? The people from the Jewish Congress. They met us and they were very nice to us. Where did you go? They took us in, because they arranged already the places.  Where did they take you? To a house, to a hotel? To a house, to people's homes. Who were the people? They were Jewish people– Mr. and Mrs.? Gold. Mr. and Mrs. Gold. Do you remember the first name? Well, to be honest, I have it marked down. We are going back 52 years. But I know I never called them by their first name. It was always Mrs. Gold and Mr. Gold. They had children? They had children, yes. One was a daughter, was Goldie, and the son was Nathan. So it was Nathan and Goldie? Yes. So I stayed there for about a year, over a year…



Cut to black-and-white photograph of a busy commercial street. The streetcar line can be seen down the middle of the road, with a few streetcars in service. The photo caption appears in white text in the top-right corner, “Regina, 1940s”.

>> and Joe lived there too. The two of us. They gave us the house, they took us in to people's stores, they were Jewish owners…



Cut to black-and-white photograph of a young man sitting and smiling at the camera. He wears a jacket over his suit and tie. The photo caption appears in white text in the bottom-left corner, “Leon Hirsch, ca. 1947”.

>> …and they gave us clothing, coats, and shoes, and boots, and shirts. They were very, very nice to us. We went to school at first to learn English.



Cut to Leon Hirsch in front of the camera.

>> Interviewer: Did you go to any synagogues when you were there?

>> Leon: Yes, we went. There was a Jewish centre, so of course they gave us memberships to the Jewish centre, for five years free. And there were movies, theatres, so they also gave us passes for a whole year to go whenever we wanted. So you stayed there for only one year and then you– No, I stayed there for about a year and a half.



Music plays for the remainder of the video. Three credit pages appear in white text on black screen: Interview conducted by Elsa Kisber, Witness to History Program, Montreal, 2003, Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre

Images: Leon Hirsch Family Collection; Courtesy of Peel's Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries

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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