World Refugee Day: she made a lasting impact on her adopted society

World Refugee Day (June 20) has been established to help commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees around the world.

In 1942, a young Czech woman arrived in Montreal as a refugee from war-torn Europe. As she put it:

“[I was] exhausted with a feeling of absolute solitude in an entirely strange country…I had an unpronounceable name. I weighed less than 100 lbs, and I was completely lost.”

And thus, from such humble roots did Lotta Hitschmanova emerge to become of one Canada’s most honoured and revered citizens.

She also helped bring fundamental change to her adopted country, planting the seeds of compassion in our Canadian society that continue to sprout to this very day.

Thank you Lotta, and thanks to all newcomers to Canada who so enrich our social fabric with their contributions!

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