In a recent Ottawa Chamberfest lecture at the National Gallery of Canada, noted CBC radio host Robert Harris traced the lines of a remarkable story: how five Jewish World War II refugees each ended up playing key roles in the development of music in Canada.
In many ways, their story echoes the story of Dr Lotta Hitschmanova, also a Jewish refugee who left a lasting impact on the social and humanitarian landscape of her adopted country.
The five musical icons were Helmut Kallmann, Helmut Blume, Franz Kraemer, John Newmark and Walter Homburger. Continue reading
“To be a refugee, to be without a home, to be without country, to be without friends … you have no more roots, you have no one to turn to.”
Lotta Hitschmanova (1909-1990) became one of Canada’s most beloved humanitarians and a role model and champion for women’s rights.
Before this, however, Lotta experienced the extreme pain of being uprooted, from her beloved Czech homeland, wandering across Western Europe as a refugee from 1938 to 1942. Continue reading
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 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
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