Today we welcome guest blogger Calla Fireman, who shares her story (originally published in the Ottawa Citizen) about her family connection with celebrated humanitarian, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova (1909-1990).
The story concerns her father, Dr. Harold H. Fireman (1919-2020).
Dr. Fireman was born and raised in Toronto, graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School in 1942, spent over 4 years with the Canadian Air Force as a medical advisor mostly in Newfoundland, before returning to a long and successful career in Internal Medicine in Ottawa.
“I’ve enjoyed reading about Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova as I have a family connection to her. My father, Dr. Harold H. Fireman, was Lotta’s physician in Ottawa for many years.
“She was one of a few illustrious patients of his, including Romeo LeBlanc, Flora McDonald and Ralph Burton, who once gifted him with a painting.
“Dr. Hitschmanova spent six months of the year raising money for the needy and the poor, and the other six months travelling the world delivering the funds.
“She’d cause a stir in my father’s 334 Kent Street office for her checkups when she visited, always dressed in a military type uniform like they wear at the Salvation Army.
“She was a strict disciplinarian, as a friend who worked for her once told me: she rang a bell to let employees know it was break time and another bell rang once break time was over.
“When Dr. Lotta returned from these annual visits to her doctor, she’d say, ‘Dr. Fireman just gave me a clean bill of health and I’m good for another 50,000 miles (of travelling).’”
Calla Fireman, Ottawa