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Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
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Tommy Strasser

Identification and Travel Card

After the Holocaust, Tommy Strasser had to rebuild his life on his own. His parents had been killed in the camps. Tommy immigrated to Canada thanks to the War Orphans' Project. Although the age indicated on the following identification and travel card is 18, in reality Tommy was already 22 years old. A friend falsified his birth certificate to make him four years younger, which allowed Tommy to be selected as a war orphan and to come to Canada where he began a new life.

Listen to the identification card's story

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This is my ID from France and also a travel document. As a matter of fact, you can really see, you now,
what the story of my arrival to Canada. All visas: this is England, from England we went to Canada, we
arrived in Canada. You see, this is from the British embassy, the visa, and eventually, right over here is
my arrival in Montreal, actually, on July the 10th, 1948. So, we went by boat to England, and we spent
one day in London! And then from there, we went to Southampton, and from there we took the SS
Kenya, I think, was the ship that I came on. It was organised by the Canadian Jewish Congress basically,
you know, they sent over a representative from Canada who actually looked after us. We were about 30
or 40 kids, you know, in that transport, who were all actually accepted as orphans under 18 to come to
Canada. It took us about six or seven days, you know, of crossing the ocean. It was nice, you know, it
was a vacation actually. I remember that oftentimes, you know, most of the kids got seasick. So, we
were about 30 or 40 of us sitting at the communal table, very seldom together, oftentimes I was the
only one sitting. I was never seasick, you know, so I took all the meals. Most of them were actually
sitting in their cabins.
How old were you at the time?
I was actually 22 at the time but on the documents and everything, I was only 18. A friend of mine
falsified my birth certificate, so he made me four years younger. When I reached 64, officially, you know,
I was only 60 actually, based on the papers, I went to the RCMP, and I explained to them that in order to
save my life, I made myself younger. So, I told them, “Look, my original birthdate is such and such, and I
would like to get back to my age.” I was 64 years old, within a year to start collecting pension, you know.

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