Mike Myers, Lotta Hitschmanova, and on being Canadian

Mike Myers, Shelagh Rogers, CBC radio photo

“What does it mean to be Canadian? Well, for one thing, if you’re of a certain age (Mike Myers is 53), it means you have stored away in your memory banks one of Canada’s most famous addresses, 55 Sparks Street, Ottawa 4 – or was it 56 Sparks?” Continue reading

A Christmas message from Lotta: friendship and love

Lotta Hitschmanova was a letter writer extraordinaire. So many times in my travels across the country, individuals have shared with me their joy at having received a personal, hand written note from Lotta, and some have even safe guarded these notes as keepsakes in treasured locations in their homes.

Here is a remarkable, touching letter that Lotta wrote to a friend in Moose Jaw in 1983: Continue reading

“Immigrants make the best Canadians”

Seldom has a newcomer to a country left such a nation-wide legacy as Lotta Hitschmanova has in her adopted land.

Indeed, I have argued that she was a refugee who literally changed Canada, for the better.

Peter Lockyer, who directed Soldier of Peace, Lotta’s film documentary, has reflected on the impact that Lotta and many other newcomers have had and concluded that “immigrants make the best Canadians.”

If you’d like to learn more, or hear Lotta’s voice again, have a viewing of Lockyer’s excellent video, Soldier of Peace.

David Rain

Little known Lotta facts for a Friday: her unique name

Lotta was born in Prague on November 28, 1909. She was raised as “Lotta Hitschmann” by two loving Jewish parents, Max Hitschmann and Else Theiner.

With the rise of the Nazis and the Munich Pact of September 1938, Lotta, an outspoken critic of the Nazis, began her perilous four year journey as a refugee. She first found a point of refugee in Brussels, where her life as “Lotta Hitschmanova” began in 1939.

Here is what Clyde Sanger has written in his biography of Lotta (page 20): Continue reading

How did a Jewish refugee to Canada become a Unitarian “saint”? Part I

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.” Continue reading

Sharing a Lotta story: “Immigrants make the best Canadians”

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. Continue reading

Human Rights a Day – Nov 28 is for Lotta

Stephen Hammond has posted a tribute to Lotta on her birthday today, Nov 28.

He has created a unique website. Here is how he describes it:

Join me every day for Human Rights a Day. It’s a journey through 365 Days of Human Rights Celebrations and Tragedies That Inspired Canada and the World. Continue reading

Happy Birthday Lotta! Though you won’t be printed on our $100 bills, you will always be etched in our hearts.

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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 short list of five women banknote candidates, there is still much cause for celebration, and indeed for reflection on the lasting impact that she has had on our Canadian society. Continue reading