Arthur Schwartz

Frostbitten but Still Warm

Despite the suffering Arthur Schwartz has endured, including having frozen toes fall off during a Death March days before the war’s end, his heart has always remained open and warm to those in need.

Arthur Schwartz, the eldest of four children, was born on May 31, 1923, in Kosice, Czechoslovakia. He attended day school and cheder and helped out at his father’s shop selling firewood and coal.

At 21, Arthur was drafted into a Jewish unit of forced labourers, where he witnessed heart-wrenching sights: on one occasion,

after spying his mother though the barbed wire fence that surrounded the brick factory that served as a makeshift ghetto, he waved to her helplessly; on another occasion, while working at the train station, he witnessed the overcrowded cattle cars filled with Jews to be transported to Auschwitz.

As the Allies approached near the end of the war, Arthur was forced to march many miles in the freezing cold without winter clothing or boots. Arthur’s feet froze. On Passover 1945, he heard bombs dropping and was liberated a few days later.

Several of his toes had fallen off from frostbite, and he was deathly ill. He recuperated in a hospital and then reunited with his cousins and two sisters who had survived Auschwitz.

Arthur arrived in Canada in 1948. He found a job in a factory and worked as a dress cutter until the age of 69. He married Estelle Sigler z”l in Montreal in 1957 and became a lifelong member of the Hebrew Sick Benefits Society.

Arthur has been a volunteer tour guide at the Montreal Holocaust Museum, helping educate others and sharing his painful stories, and until 89, has delivered care packages to the less fortunate. Arthur came to Canada as a refugee with a strong work ethic, a positive outlook, and Jewish values that the Nazis could not destroy.

Arthur is the proud parent of two children, Gloria and Allan, and grandfather to Jesse, Joshua, Eric, and Daniel.