[Photograph of Jennie, Sender and four unidentified people]
Resource TypeStill Images
Date of Creation[between 1952 and 1953]
Administrative/Biographical HistorySender Mines (b. March 18, 1909, in Skuodas, Lithuania), a Lithuanian Jew and Holocaust survivor, was born to Mayer Mines and Rachel Aizen. He was the youngest of nine children. The family was poor and Sender left school at age eight to work on the family farm. He eventually learned to be a shoemaker, or bootleg maker. In 1936, Sender moved to Kaunas (Kovno), which was, at the time, the capital city of Lithuania. In 1937, he married his Uncle Yossel’s daughter, Chaja Mines (b. 1904), who had a daughter, Miriam (b. 1932; d. 1944). Sender and Chaja had a son, Emanuel Mines (b. 1938; d. 1944).
On June 22, 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. When they entered Kaunas on June 24, the city’s Jews were forced into the Kaunas ghetto. Sender was separated from his family when, in the winter of 1941, he was deported to the Riga ghetto in Latvia. Chaja, Miriam, and Emanuel remained in the Kaunas ghetto. On March 27 and 28, 1944, the “Children’s Action” took place. German troops and Ukrainian auxiliaries rounded up the ghetto’s children under the age of twelve, as well as the elderly and disabled. Around 1,200 victims were either taken to the Ninth Fort in Kaunas and executed or sent to Auschwitz and gassed. Miriam and Emanuel were among those taken and murdered.
In November 1943, the Riga ghetto was liquidated and Sender was transferred to Kaiserwald concentration camp. In August 1944, Kaiserwald was evacuated because of the approaching Soviet Army and prisoners were transported to Stutthof concentration camp, near Danzig, now Gdańsk, Poland. On April 25, 1945, the Soviets were again approaching and Sender and his fellow prisoners were evacuated by barge to Neustadt in Holstein, Schlesweig, Germany. In May 1945, they were liberated by the British Army. Sender remained at the displaced persons camp in Neustadt in Holstein until 1949.
Sender arrived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in January 1952. He found work at a shoe factory. While he was engaged to be married to Jennie Lifschitz (b. 1924; d. 2005), he discovered that his first wife, Chaja, had survived the war and, thinking that Sender had not survived, had remarried and also immigrated to Montreal. Sender and Chaja divorced in 1952. Sender and Jennie married in a synagogue on March 22, 1953.
In February 1954, Sender, Jennie, and Jennie’s daughter, Paula, moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they established a successful restaurant business and joined the Communist Party. They had three more children: a son who died at three days old; a daughter, Rachel; and a son, Michael. In 1967, Sender and Jennie separated. They divorced in 1981.
Sender Mines died August 26, 1982, in Vancouver.:Jennie Phillips (birth name Jennie Lifschitz, b. July 8, 1924, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada) was perhaps the only Canadian-born Holocaust survivor. Jennie was born to Abraham Lifschitz (b. 1899; d. 1970) and Paula Blumberg (b. 1897; d. 1941), Jewish immigrants from Liepāja (Libau), Latvia. Their eldest son, Ruben, was born in Liepāja in 1920. Jennie and her older sister, Dora (b. 1922; d. 2005), were born in Montreal. Shortly after Jennie was born, Abraham and Paula separated and Paula and the children left Montreal for Liepāja in November 1924. In Liepāja, Paula and the children lived in poverty. Jennie and her siblings were separated so that their mother could work. In 1931, Abraham sent for the two oldest children, Ruben and Dora, and they returned to Montreal to live with him. Jennie lived with her mother in Liepāja until her mother remarried in 1937 and moved to Telz, now Telšiai, Lithuania. Jennie went to live with her grandmother, Malke Blumberg (b. 1863; d. 1941).
The Germans entered Liepāja on June 29, 1941. Mass shootings and massacres of Jews began almost immediately. On July 24, 1941, Jennie’s uncle, Hessel Blumberg, was shot and his wife and three children moved in with Malke and Jennie. Because Liepāja was a naval base and international port, it fell under the command of the Kriegsmarine, or the German navy. Jennie worked for the Marine Nachrichten Mittelbetrieb (Marine News Media Operations), a private home for officers and soldiers, as a domestic servant. On the night of December 13, 1941, Latvian policemen came to Malke’s apartment and arrested the entire family except for Jennie and her fourteen-year-old cousin, Bella, who was Hessel’s daughter. Jennie and Bella were spared the fate of their relatives, who were shot on the beach at Šķēde, near Liepāja, as part of the “Big Action,” the largest of what was later called the Liepāja massacres. The “Big Action” occurred over three days, from December 15 to 17. Paula died December 22, 1941.
Jennie and Bella lived in their grandmother’s apartment until they were forced to relocate to the Liepāja ghetto on July 1, 1942, along with around 800 of the city’s remaining Jews. On October 8, 1943, the ghetto was liquidated and Jews were transported to Kaiserwald concentration camp in Riga, Latvia. There, Jennie’s Canadian birth certificate was confiscated. In March 1944, Jennie was transported to Reichsbahn (German Railroad) camp, a satellite camp of Kaiserwald. In August 1944, with the Soviets nearing Riga, Kaiserwald’s prisoners were transported to Stutthof concentration camp, near Danzig, now Gdańsk, Poland. While Jennie was waiting in the lineup for the gas chamber, there was a call for railway workers for Stolp, a satellite camp of Stuttholf. Jennie volunteered and was transferred there on August 26, 1944. On March 6, 1945, Jennie was transferred to another satellite camp, Danzig-Burggraben. The camp was evacuated and Jennie returned to Stutthof on March 22. After being evacuated by barge to Neustadt in Holstein, Germany, in May 1945, Jennie and her fellow prisoners were liberated by the British Army.
After recovering from typhus and living for a time in a displaced persons camp in Neustadt in Holstein, Jennie decided to return to Canada. Her repatriation was authorized in September 1945 and she arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on March 2, 1946, as a “returned Canadian.” She was reunited with her father and siblings in Montreal. In November 1946, Jennie started working, first in a bakery and then in one of her father’s restaurants, eventually owning a restaurant of her own in Val-Morin. In 1947 Jennie had a daughter, Paula, named after Jennie's mother.
In 1952, Jennie proposed marriage to Sender Mines (b. 1909; d. 1982), whom she had met on her first day at Kaiserwald, and the two married in a synagogue on March 22, 1953. In February 1954, Sender and Jennie moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they established a successful restaurant business and joined the Communist Party. They had three more children: a son who died at three days old; a daughter, Rachel; and a son, Michael. In 1967, Sender and Jennie separated. They divorced in 1981. In 1984, Jennie married John “Jack” Phillips (b. 1913; d. 2005) and the two lived in Prague and Moscow from 1981 to 1986 before returning to British Columbia.
Jennie Phillips died August 9, 2005, in Vancouver.
Extent & Medium1 photograph : black and white ; 8 x 11 cm
Scope & ContentPhotograph of Jennie Phillips; her first husband, Sender Mines and four unidentified people standing on road. Photo likely taken in Val-Morin, Quebec.