Gerry W. testimony 2011 [video recording]
Date of Recording19 & 20 March 2011, 11 July 2011
Duration7h 41m 0.0s
SynopsisGerry W. was born in Berlin, Germany in August 1923. He describes his upper-middle class Jewish family. He recalls that his father was a military officer. He explains that he was the last Jewish student allowed at his school before being transferred to a private Jewish school in 1936. He recalls antisemitic comments and restrictions. He explains how he and his father hid in the Berlin zoo. He discusses his family’s attempts to leave Germany. He recalls travelling through Holland and how his father assumed a Polish identity to obtain an English visa. He describes how his family established a factory in Cardiff, which was destroyed by German Luftwaffe bombing. Gerry explains that a British edict then prohibited foreigners and Enemy Aliens from living near the waterfront. His family then moved to Aberdare before he and his father were interned in Huyton. He describes being separated from his father and being deported to Canada. He describes voyage by ship. Gerry was interned in Camp Q (Monteith, Ontario), Camp B (Ripples, New Brunswick) and Camp N (Sherbrooke, Quebec). He describes his friendships in the camps, including a friend name Bernie. Gerry explains how he would later receive Bernie’s diary from their time in the camps. He describes interactions with the guards and soldiers. He describes the living conditions of various camps. He discusses homosexuality in the camps. He describes work in the camp. He describes food in the camp and how Camp B was kosher. Gerry describes various pranks he played. He recalls learning to play bridge and practicing his artistic skills. He explains how he was released with the financial help of an uncle, who became his sponsor. He discusses changing his name to find employment. He discusses identifying himself as Jewish but not German when in Montreal. Gerry discusses his negative feelings on some aspects of Canadian immigration policy. He discusses his reasons for sharing his experiences. He reflects on the Holocaust. He describes his wife and children. Gerry shows artefacts, drawings, and documents.
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.