After 20 years of searching, I recently found the life-saving legal documents which officially admitted eight of my relatives, all members of the Gluck and Goldstein families, to Canada in the 1930s.
As the 1930s saw the rise of Hitler, Jews all over Europe scrambled to secure exit visas from their home countries and entry visas to any country that would take them. Many saw the writing on the wall even though they did not yet know the full extent of the cruel fate that awaited them if they remained in Europe and came under Hitler’s dictates. Most wanted to go to the United States or gain admittance to Palestine where the British maintained a strict mandate over the country established under the terms of the Versailles Treaty, which ended the First World War.
The United States had virtually unlimited immigration from the 1880s until 1924. Approximately two million Jews from Eastern Europe flooded into the U.S. during that time, but increasing anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic feelings closed the door in 1924. That left Canada as an alternative and from 1924 to 1930 Jews had relatively free access to immigrate to Canada, and many did, including my mother, Rose Goldstein.
Rose Goldstein Rappaport and Her Brother Sam Goldstein;
New York; 1934
Rose left her home in Uszhorod, Czechoslovakia, and arrived in Canada on January 23, 1927, at the age of 18. She was followed by her brother Sam Goldstein, who arrived on December 18, 1927 at the age of 16. They were the lucky ones because beginning in 1930 Canada would close its doors as well, instituting an all-encompassing law which banned the immigration of Asians, Jews, and any other group deemed undesirable by Canadian authorities. After 1930, the only way an immigrant could gain entry to Canada was through a law issued by Parliament called an “Order-In-Council.” From 1933 to 1939, the rest of the Goldstein siblings, Hershl (Harry), Sari, Lazar (Louis), Leopold (Leo/Lipu), Theresa (Rella), Henach (Henry), and their mother Bella (my grandmother) all entered via an Order-In-Council. My question all along was how did this happen?
My grandmother, Bella Gluck Goldstein, was fortunate to have a younger brother, Samuel Gluck, born November 20, 1886, who had immigrated to New York around 1900 and eventually wound up in Ottawa around 1910. He worked his way up and eventually became a prosperous businessman in Ottawa, founding a chain of men’s hat shops known as the Premier Hat Shops in Ottawa in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
Goldstein Family; Uszhorod, Czechoslovakia; 1922. Click here to see enlargement
and names of individuals.
In April 1931, Bella’s husband, my grandfather Moishe Goldstein, passed away of tuberculosis at the young age of 49. This left Bella a widow with six children, living in Uszhorod, Czechoslovakia. Samuel Gluck encouraged his nephews and nieces to immigrate to Canada. The first to take him up on this was Harry Goldstein (Ehnrick/Herman on the 1933 document) who arrived in Canada on November 21, 1933 at the port of Quebec City. He was 16 on arrival.
Harry was followed in 1936 by his sister, Shari (22) and his brothers Leo (16) and Louis (15). They travelled together by ship and arrived at the port of Quebec City on October 25, 1936. The next and last arrival was his mother, my grandmother Bella, age 56, and her two remaining children, Rella (19) and her brother Henach (Henry) (29), who travelled together by ship and arrived at the port of Quebec City on July 2, 1939, only two months before the start of World War II in Europe.
By 1939 Bella and all of her children had made it safely to Canada. Samuel Gluck still had a sister, Sjofe, and brothers Vilmos and Leopold living in Europe. He pleaded with them to immigrate to Canada as war clouds swirled around Europe in the late 1930s; unfortunately, all to no avail. Sjofe and her husband had business interests they could not leave and sadly were both transported to Auschwitz and murdered there during WWII. Vilmos was religious and Orthodox. He lived with his wife Sara and their four children in Budapest. He could not conceive of being Jewish in Canada and refused to emigrate. He and his wife and the oldest of their four children, who was married and had two small children of her own, were rounded up by the Nazis in 1944 and shipped to Auschwitz where they were all murdered. Vilmos had three other children. Matild was taken to a Concentration Camp but survived the war and in 1947 was brought to Canada by Samuel Gluck under an Order-In-Council along with her husband and his son who had all survived the terrors of the Nazis. Matild’s two brothers, Shimi (Simon) and Mendy spent the war in Labor Camps and survived, and later followed Matild to Canada where they settled in Montreal.
Gluck Siblings Sam, Sjofe, Bella and Leopold;
Samuel Gluck’s other brother, Leopold, and his wife Aranka and their youngest child Eliahu, escaped Czechoslovakia to Hungary in 1943 and eventually made their way in 1944 to Budapest to try to convince Leopold’s brother Vilmos to come with them as they escaped Europe and made their way to Palestine, where two of their oldest children Rudy and Vera had already settled. Vilmos refused. Leopold left. The Nazis marched into Budapest six days later.
Finding the Orders-In-Council
How did my grand-uncle Samuel Gluck (who had by this time his own family of six children living in Ottawa) manage to get his sister and her children to Canada? Because his men’s hat business was located near the Parliament Buildings and the custom of the time was for all men to wear hats, he developed a clientele of Members of Parliament who would shop for hats at his stores. He hobnobbed with them and eventually extracted favors from those with whom he was most friendly. He knew that the Order-In-Council was the only way to get his relatives in and so he paid his friends to get his relatives on the list. Orders-In-Council were expensive, and I recall having heard the figure $5000 bandied about within the family. That was a small fortune in those days. The times demanded it and Samuel Gluck stepped up to the plate. Without his actions, everyone who might have arrived in Canada after 1930 would have been consigned to the ovens at Auschwitz.
Cover Page to the 1933 Order by the Privy Council.
How did I come to obtain copies of the Orders-In-Council for which I had been searching for the last 20 years? I knew of their existence because Harry had told some family members that he had been admitted to Canada in 1933 in this way. Some of the Glucks also knew because Samuel Gluck had told them. My cousin Adele of Ottawa and I attempted to obtain copies of these documents by searching in the National Archives in Ottawa to no avail. They simply could not be physically found in the archives. So though it was common family knowledge about how these individuals had entered Canada, no record of the original documents or other primary sources could be found to support the family history.
Fast forward to December 2014 when an article appeared in the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) stating that Joanna Crandell, a clerk in the Reference Division of Library and Archives Canada (LAC), had discovered boxes of files which contained about 850 Orders-In-Council documents covering the period 1930 to 1954. My cousin, Dr. Henny Rappaport of Toronto, saw the article in the CJN and sent it to me. [See a copy of the CJN article here.] These documents were not alphabetized nor were they indexed or otherwise accessible in any way. The documents had been boxed and stored at LAC and had been essentially untouched for almost 80 years. For three years Joanna and her sister worked to digitize and alphabetically arrange the documents, then created a website so that the world could have access to these documents and the very valuable genealogical information they contain.
I immediately went to the website noted in the article and found two columns, one listing the names of the immigrants and the other showing the names of those who had sponsored them. I found seven Goldstein listings and one Gluck listing but, interestingly enough, none of them were sponsored by Samuel Gluck—Samuel Gluck’s name appeared nowhere on any of the documents. The sponsor for all the Goldsteins was Sam Goldstein (my uncle), who, at the time of issuance of the first Order-In-Council in 1933, had already been in Canada for five years and had become a naturalized Canadian Citizen. The sponsor for Matild Gluck, who came to Canada in 1947, was the Brockville Hebrew Center, arranged by Samuel Gluck who had moved to Brockville when he retired in the early 1940s. [Click here to see excerpts from the Order authorizing Bella and her children entry into Canada and click here to see excerpts from the Order authorizing Rabbi Josef Gluck, Matild Gluck, and son Sandor entry to Canada in 1947.]
These reproduced documents came in three pages, the first listing the Members of Parliament (The Privy Council) authorizing the Order, the second giving the authorization for the waiver from Canada’s Immigration law that would allow the listed individuals to enter, and the third was a continuation of the story of the immigrant selected to enter. How do we know that Samuel Gluck was behind all of this other than the oral stories in the family? His name appears nowhere in the official record, but on page three of the 1933 Order for Herman (Harry) Goldstein, at the top of the page under Item #4, it says that this case was submitted by Samuel Lepovsky, Ottawa Barrister. Sam Lepovsky was Samuel Gluck’s personal attorney and very good friend. Also there is a reference to one of the Senators who I believe must have been a friend of Samuel Gluck or the attorney. [Click here to see excerpts from the Order authorizing Herman (Harry) Goldstein entry to Canada in 1933.]
My grandmother, Bella Gluck Goldstein, had 20 grandchildren of whom I’m the eldest. I have tremendous feelings of debt and gratitude to Samuel Gluck, the man who had the vision and the will to take action at a time when hope was fading. As a family, we all consider ourselves very lucky that this historical tale played out as well as it did for our ancestors. As a boy in Ottawa, I knew Samuel Gluck. Samuel passed away of a heart attack in Brockville in 1952, but I remember him often in my prayers.
And so there you have it. The history and happenstance that led to a tremendously satisfying moment when I finally found the documents I had long been searching for.
If you or anyone you know is in the midst of a genealogical project and have non-British ancestors who immigrated or may have immigrated to Canada under Orders-In-Council, Joanna Crandell’s website (http://www.orderincouncillists.com/ ) is an incredible resource. It lists the names of 25,000 immigrants and their sponsors during this 24 year period. If you find your ancestor’s name on the list you can request a reproduction of the original document through the website.
Los Angeles, California, USA
A slightly different version of this story was originally posted to the Facebook Page of the Ottawa Jewish Archives on April 21, 2015. Reprint permission granted.
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