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Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
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Sarah Engelhard

A Passover meal

Sarah Engelhard was 12 years old when the following photograph was taken during the meal on the first night of Passover in 1944. She had just arrived in Canada with her family. They had crossed the Atlantic aboard the famous Serpa Pinto and continued the voyage by train from Philadelphia to Montreal. Sarah recalls this moment with feelings of wonder and comfort. She also fondly remembers the second night of Passover which they spent with their host family: “We smelled the chicken soup and it was like being at home. There were white candles and it was marvellous.”

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The first Passover meal, I don’t know where we were taken, it must have been in Canada somewhere. I
don’t know where we ended up here but it must have been the first evening upon landing. We landed
the first night of Passover 1944 in Philadelphia. We were all hustled into a train. We ended up in
Montreal at Windsor station. We are…, I am dressed – we came from a warm country – in little socks.
People were wearing lisle stockings because it was Passover, it was in April. It happened to have been a
cold – well at least for us, for me it was cold – and there was snow and for the first time I saw snow to
that degree and the stairs, outdoor staircases, I couldn’t imagine why there would be outdoor staircases
in weather like this, slippery weather. It was mindboggling. Because in Spain and in France, we had…
either there was a courtyard in the front and inside were the stairs where you live but here it was
outside! And I said: “Well, it’s not a fun place.” Really, my feeling was: this is serious. In Spain, there was
music and sunshine, even though it was after their civil war but here life was going to be serious. And
that’s exactly what it was. Anyways, so when we got here, we ended up at the Joselevkys’ on Park
Avenue near Mount Royal. A lovely welcome! It was the second night of Passover. And the layout was
beautiful and you smelled the chicken soup and it was home, it was white candles, it was wonderful!

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An extended family