Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
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Ted Bolgar

A precious tea cup

Before he left Germany and came to Canada, Ted Bolgar acquired a few possessions. Since European art was said to be valuable across the Atlantic, he chose a tea set, of which a cup and saucer are pictured below. After his arrival in Montreal, Ted rented a room from a very welcoming family that helped him get settled and find a job. When he left the family to move into his own apartment, he decided to give them the set. When the couple passed away, their children returned the precious gift - a reminder of his immigration experience - to Ted.

Listen to the tea cup's story

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Tell me about this tea set.
When I went back to Germany with six of my friends, and we happened to find one of the best DP
camps. I lived in a hotel and we were employed by the food distribution. Food was everything in
Germany in those days. The Germans didn’t have food. And naturally, we didn’t report anytime
someone left, so we had plenty of food. It took us two years until we were able to come to Canada by
changing our name, our age, and everything. Now, coming to Canada, what shall we bring, what shall we
bring? I brought this set, another vase, and a briefcase. They said that European art is very valuable in
Canada and the United States and so on. I can’t really remember any more why. Then I took it with me
wherever I got a room until I got a room by a very nice family. When my friend came back from the
sanatorium, and we wanted to stay together and couldn’t live with them anymore, I left this for them.
Then they got old, they went to Toronto. In their will, they asked them to give it back to me. And the
daughter gave it back to me.
How long was it with them before you got it back?
Almost 10 years. By the way, I always say that everything is luck. I got a room in this family and about a
year later or so the man said, “I think your English is good enough, we have an opening in our office.” I
got the job and retired 51 years later.

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Hungarian books rediscovered