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Memories of the Second Generation - Part 2 - Phil Herman - As told to Susan Yellin

posted 5 Jul 2016, 11:31 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin

Memories of the Second Generation - Part 2 - Phil Herman - As told to Susan Yellin


Memories of the Second Generation Part 2   Phil Herman

Phil Herman was just four years old in 1951 when his parents Max and Rose brought the family to Canada from Sweden.

While both Phil’s parents had deep connections to Lodz (his father was born there and his mother raised there), they were separated during the Second World War and sent to different labour camps. After the fighting ended, Max Herman sought out his wife and found her in Stockholm where she had been sent by the Red Cross.  It was there that Phil was born.

One of Phil’s first memories in Toronto was the Lodzer Centre Mutual Benefit Society and the warm, inviting feeling his family received when they attended parties at the Society on Spadina and other gatherings at Jacksons Point, a small summer resort harbour on Lake Simcoe.

The Hermans came to the Society via Phil’s uncle who had arrived earlier in Canada and had met a number of landsmen who had either been born in Lodz or were together in the Lodz ghetto.

“All of us were like extended family,” says Phil. “One of the couples [the Ciechanowskis] was like a second family to me. They lived on Spadina across the street and I used to play in their house all the time while my parents were working. Their daughter was like the sister I never had.”

Max Herman was one of the founding members of the Lodzer Centre Congregation, which opened in 1981. He went to shul religiously every Saturday and took his young family to the Lodzer on the High Holidays.

Phil sat as a Lodzer board member in the 1990s and counts his time there as both informative and challenging.

He has always been left with the heartfelt feeling that the Lodzer was a welcoming home for both those who survived the Holocaust and those who came after them.