Passover , My Great Aunt, and Death With Dignity

Alan J. Schwarz
6 min readApr 5, 2021

I would get very excited every Sunday. I knew my Aunt Jeannette was coming out to my Grandparents for a visit, and she was bringing some kind of special treat with her. One week there were donuts, one-week chocolate cupcakes, and always kosher liverwurst.

Aunty Jeannette could only be described in one word ‘’Lady’’. She was the epitome of a class act. She was kind and caring and loving and smart. She was generous and interesting and she loved her Brother (my Grandfather Philip and my Grandma Jenny) with her heart and soul.

My family came from Germany to Canada to escape the Nazis. They left on a chilly cold day. All their major possessions were in crates. As they got on the ship to leave they saw their boxes being carted away in a direction far from the ship, they had all been stolen including beautiful art work. On the Whitestar Cunard line crossing the Atlantic from Rotterdam to Halifax were my Grandmother and Grandfather, My Uncle Otto, my Aunt Claire, my Dad Joe, and his brother Carl.

My family knew the Nazis were a real threat. They knew they had to get out of Germany. My Dad was sent to school in England (Buxton College) and often went to London and Canada House to make our case. He provided all the documentation that was needed and Canada issued the papers allowing us to migrate.

While in England, my Grandpa and Uncles were rounded up by the local Nazis on Kristallnacht. My Grandma went to the local Police station and paid for their release. A couple of months later we left Germany forever. After hundreds of years, it was no longer our home.

My Aunt Jeannette was married to Solly Kaufman and they went to Holland with my Great Grandmother, Sarah Schwarz. They found a place in Amsterdam to hide out and felt relatively safe. With them in Holland were my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Max and their very young daughter, Marianna.

Neighbours discovered my family in hiding and reported them to the Nazis. I pray those people ended up in hell. Many Dutch often say they were brave and supportive of the Jews during the Second World War, I often question that.

Upon capture, they were sent to Westerbork Transit Camp and then to Bergen Belsen. My Great Grandmother Sarah was murdered in Bergen Belsen. My…

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Alan J. Schwarz

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.