Hands belong to granddaughter Danielle Braitman.
Born December 24, 1927 | Lodz (Lodzh), Poland
Died February 6, 2011 | Markham, Ontario
My zaidie was a kind, soft–spoken and patient man who told wonderful stories. He viewed everyone as an equal, loved his family fiercely, told terrible jokes, and always had a smile on his face.
William’s father Baruch owned a plant that produced soaps and perfumes. His family spent summers at a lakeside villa and winters on ski vacations. Well educated, his mother Esther spoke five languages. When Germany occupied Poland, William’s father was in Uruguay, visiting family. William, his sister and their mother were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Risking instant execution, his mother bartered valuables with nearby Poles in exchange for meagre supplies of food. Forced to peel potatoes for the guards, she smuggled the skins to make soup. When the ghetto was liquidated, William was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and then a forced-labour satellite camp at Konigs-Wusterhausen. Passing through Berlin on a work detail, he daringly escaped from an underground railway station during an air raid. Listening at the doors of nearby apartments for non-German speakers, William found refuge with Belgian workers; they hired him as their housekeeper, protecting “Charles Anton” even after they discovered he was Jewish.
Following liberation, William reunited with his mother and sister Tanya in Lodz. The trio spent time at a Displaced Persons camp in Vienna and then in Linz, Austria. Esther and Tanya received visas for Canada; William followed on May 8, 1945, spending two years in Montreal before settling in Toronto. He drove taxi, delivered chickens and worked as a salesman. Though his education had been cut short by the war, William attended George Brown College where he earned certificates in accounting and business. He taught there for seven years after earning a teaching certificate at the University of Toronto. William and his wife Jackie operated a series of retail businesses where their children Adrienne and Barry pitched in. Their family grew to include four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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