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Remembering Sister Margaret

Jackie Eisen

Jackie Eisen (née Solski) arrived at Pier 21 in March of 1950 aboard the General Langfitt with her parents, sister and brother at 11 years of age. The family were Polish Jews that fled Poland for Russia after Hitler's invasion of the country. After the war, the family spent time in displaced persons camps in Germany prior to their immigration. After arriving in Canada, the family was detained at Pier 21 for three months because the uncle sponsoring their immigration had loose ties to the Communist party.

Click below to hear Polish immigrant Jackie Eisen share her memories of Sister Margaret, a volunteer with the Sisters of Service at Pier 21 who showed great kindness to the family while they were detained at Pier 21 for three months.

Transcript:

Jackie: And the Sisters would come [to see us] everyday, the nuns.

And they took a liking to our family and [Sister Margaret] got permission from whomever was in charge to take us out on daily walks. So every day, after breakfast, she would come and we would go in a — not a taxi, almost like a carriage.

That’s what I remember is a carriage. And she would take us to the park and we would play and she would bring books and she would read stories to us and little by little — she didn’t speak German or any of our languages, but the kindness and, you know, charades and pointing pictures we communicated. And I’d loved to have seen her and give her a hug and—but she’s gone. And that’s what I re — and the people here were so wonderful, even though we were detained for three months, the staff was unbelievable.

They were so kind, very understanding, and I’d like to give something back, but I don’t know what. So I kept my promise, I came back.

Source:

Oral History with Jackie Eisen, 17 July 2003 (03.07.16JE)