In 1995, award-winning singer-songwriter, activist and humanitarian, Bruce Cockburn recalled how he first came to know and admire Dr Lotta in Ottawa:
“When I was a child, maybe ten years old, in the era when air raid drills were a regular part of the public school curriculum … I first met Lotta Hitschmanova.
“She came to my classroom and told us about refugee children. She wore an old uniform, like an army nurse, and she radiated love and concern.
“When I was twenty-five, I received my first significant amount of money I’d earned in my life – royalties from radio play of my first album.
“It felt like such a godsend that it seemed appropriate to share it with those less lucky. My wife said that her mother had a good friend who spent her time helping those in need – who ran an organization called the Unitarian Service Committee.
“This was an agency devoted to helping victims of war and natural disaster in many parts of the world….one which was committed to ensuring that people’s donations were spent on the work at hand and not to support a swollen bureaucracy or large ad campaigns.
“This sounded good to me so I became a donor. Before long I met my then mother-in-law’s friend – a short woman, in a uniform reminiscent of an army nurse’s, who radiated love and concern. It was Lotta.”
From USC Canada’s 1995 Annual Report. And to hear a public service announcement about Lotta and USC that Bruce Cockburn narrated in 2005, click here: