Lotta in Ottawa, 1943.
Lotta Hitschmanova is revered by many as a kind of “saint”, but she was as human as the rest of us, had a great sense of humour, and apparently in her early days, loved to party!
Here is a Lotta story shared by Heather Haas Barclay of London, Ontario, as she recalls the remarkable personal connection her parents had with Lotta.
Czechoslovakia, Humour, London, Lotta stories & reminiscences, Ontario, Ottawa, Portage la Prairie, Prague, Quebec, Unitarian connections, USC Canada |
What do Lotta Hitschmanova, Jimmy Carter, Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II all have in common?
Why is it that so many visitors come to Ottawa from across Canada, and after taking a tour of Parliament Hill, they find themselves strolling down the Sparks Street Mall, when all of a sudden, they catch sight of a big door with the number 56 on top of it, their eyes pop out with incredulity, they come to a quick stop and then they start taking souvenir snapshots – to show the folks back home – to prove that there really was, and is, a 56 Sparks Street?
How did a World War II refugee, born into a Jewish family in Prague, Czechoslovakia, become a revered figure for
? Unitarians, a small liberal religious faith in Canada
The following is a brief response to this question, taken from Clyde Sanger’s 1986 biography, “Lotta and the USC Story.”
Bermuda, Boston, British Columbia, Casablanca, Clyde Sanger, Czechoslovakia, France, Hamilton, Jewish roots, Lisbon, Manitoba, Marseilles, Montreal, Morocco, New York, Ontario, Ottawa, Portugal, Prague, Quebec, Refugees & Immigrants, Toronto, Unitarian connections, Unitarian Service Committee, United States, Vancouver, Winnipeg, WW II |
Lotta and her iconic uniform were inseparable. She wore it everywhere. It became part of her public persona.
And it inevitably led to some misunderstandings and amusing stories that she herself would enjoy relating.
Here is what her biographer, Clyde Sanger, has written on page 150 of his book,
“Lotta and the Unitarian Service Committee Story.”
“Dr Lotta’s sense of humour made her collect stories of misunderstandings about her uniform:
A special note from Peter Lockyer, producer of Lotta’s documentary,
: Soldier of Peace
“I think it’s a wonderful site and thanks so much for thinking of me and the documentary program we did on Lotta Hitschmanova of the USC so many years ago.
“Lotta was an amazing individual and there will never be another person like her.
Welcome to the launching of Lotta56sparks.ca – on this, the 107th anniversary of one of Canada’s most beloved humanitarians!
Though Dr. Lotta did not make it onto the Bank of Canada’s
, there is still much cause for celebration, and indeed for reflection on the lasting impact that she has had on our Canadian society. short list of five women banknote candidates Continue reading