BiographyGerry Waldston (né Gerd Waldstein) was born in 1923 in Berlin, Germany to an upper-middle class Jewish family. His father was a decorated First World War officer. Because of this, and the fact that he was a star athlete, Waldston was the last Jewish student allowed by the Nazis to remain in his school until 1936. He transferred to a private Jewish school that taught a British curriculum and studied commercial art after school. To escape the Nazi roundup of Jewish men in after Kristallnacht in November 1938, he and his father spent a week hiding in the Berlin Zoo.
Waldston and his family fled to Cardiff, South Wales in June 1939, where they opened a factory that was destroyed by the first bomb dropped by the German Luftwaffe on the Bute Docks. He worked as a private language tutor and later as a commercial artist until he and his father were arrested on June 25, 1940 and interned in Huyton, near Liverpool.
After being deported aboard the S.S. Ettrick, Waldston was interned in Camp Q (Monteith, Ontario), Camp B (Ripples, New Brunswick) and Camp N (Sherbrooke, Quebec). While interned, he learned to play bridge, speak Spanish and honed his artistic talents, producing sketches of people, situations and his surroundings. In Camp B, he worked at the Acadia Forest Experimental Station, cutting trees and mapping roads.
After his release in October 1941 as a sponsored art student in Montreal, he worked in advertising agencies in Montreal and produced hundreds of caricatures of local artists. Well-known in the trade as Gerry Wal, he opened his design studio in 1956 and moved it to Toronto in 1978, specializing in creative design, from concept to total production for national and international clients. He retired after 50 years and lived in Toronto, surrounded by his wife, three children, eight grandchildren and many wonderful memories.