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The Tailor Project

Seeking the stories of Canada’s Jewish Tailors of 1948

 

Max Enkin (fourth from left) and others from the Tailor Project 

In 1947, the Canadian Jewish Congress, Jewish Immigration Aid Society (JIAS), and the Canadian Overseas Garment Commission recognized an opportunity to improve the lives of people in displaced persons camps and address a shortage of workers in the garment trade.

Known as The Tailor Project, this initiative brought more than 2,000 people including over 1,000 Jewish tailors from displaced persons camps in Europe to Canada. By April 1949, the tailors and their families had arrived in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Vancouver and were provided with housing and jobs.

The Tailor Project was transformational for many survivors of the terrors of the Holocaust and World War II, but their stories remain untold. Who were the tailors? Where did they come from? What was the impact of The Tailor Project on their lives and the lives of their families? How was the Jewish and broader community in Canada affected by this initiative? In what way has The Tailor Project helped to inform Canada’s approach to supporting other refugee groups? We are beginning to answer these questions and document a vitally important, but largely unknown, episode in Canada’s history.

Max Enkin was instrumental in the development of The Tailor Project after the war. This new research was initiated By Larry Enkin, son of Max Enkin, and is being conducted by Impakt Labs with the support of the Max and Larry Enkin Family Foundation.

We encourage anyone who came to Canada with The Tailor Project or whose family or friends were part of The Tailor Project to share their experiences and stories, please visit The Tailor Project website at: www.tailorproject.ca or email [email protected] for more information.

The Tailor Project is also on Facebook! To see more photos and stories from the Tailor Project visit and like our page here

 

 

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Showing 11 comments
  • Paula
    Reply

    My parents were holocaust survivors. My father was in Auschwitz. After the war he met my mother, they got married had my sister. My sister like many other children was born in Bergen Belsen . I was told that my father was offered an opportunity to come to Canada because he was a skilled labourer (a tailor). Their is much more obviously , but my sister being the eldest has more information than I. My sister and I are very interested in the Tailor project. We are interested in attending any event that may be coming up. Their is much my sister can contribute, and much that we can learn. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

    cordially yours

    Paula Linklater

    • Paula
      Reply

      I just left a message (Paula Linklater) [email protected]
      I wish to enter my parents names
      Father: Nathan Plachta
      Mother:Helen Plachta
      Came to Canada May 6th 1948
      Please do contact me, our parents are both gone now, and we wish to find another connection to them.
      My father was part of the Tailor project.
      Thank you

      • Holy Blossom

        Thank you Paula, I have forwarded your message and contact to the Tailor Project.

  • Fran Cohen
    Reply

    My father was Kalmen Kaplansky. He was the Director of the Jewish Labour Committee from 1947-1957 was very involved in spearheading this project.

  • Eose popeski
    Reply

    I also was a Bergen Belsen baby and on seeing the u tube interviews with Isaac Applebaum with
    Holocaust survivor children from Bergen Belsen I realized my parents were good friends with his
    Parents growing up in Winnipeg. I would so like to get in touch with him .we as children were
    Always playing together my maiden name is Abramowitch Rose I remember him and his brother
    As well as the frost family. I think all 3 familys came together from Bergen Belsen. We used to watch wrestling as families in his burrows apt.in the north end. My email is [email protected] if he would
    Like to contact me. I have many good memories.

  • Sandy Green
    Reply

    It is my pleasure to contribute to this project. My father worked at the same tailor job from the day he arrived in Montreal from Halifax to the day he retired and subsequently died from illness.

    • Freda Lewkowicz
      Reply

      Hi Sandy,
      Would you mind telling me the name of the factory where your father worked? I am trying to jog my father’s memory of where he worked in 1948. Thank you for any names you can provide.

  • Sandy Atlin
    Reply

    As a past president of JIAS Toronto, I am extremely proud of its many achievements in resettling our people here in Canada. Amongst them is the Tailor Project which the Enkin family is supporting. Yasher Koach to them.
    The Tailor Project will be important in identifying those who left war and misery behind them in Europe, as well as what wonderful contributions they and their families have made to our community and country.
    I would be happy to help with work on this project in any way volunteers might be needed.

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