It is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of our father, grandfather, and great-grandfather on April 28, 2015, at Grace General Hospital, after a short illness.
He was predeceased by Betty, his beloved wife of almost 58 years. He is survived by: his children, Toni and Abe Berenhaut, Leah Schwartz (Montreal) and Ron Schwartz (Ottawa); his grandchildren, Ken Berenhaut and Cindy Suerken (Winston-Salem, NC), and Arlene and Jeff Lefeele (Palmdale, CA); and his great-grandchildren, Michael Lefeele and Madison Lefeele (Palmdale, CA).
Our father had the misfortune to live in interesting times but he came through it with his dignity faith, and love of humanity intact. He was born October 7, 1921 and raised in Iasi, Romania. And then insanity came. He said he lost his youth and no one could give it back. From the age of 18 to 25 he lived under a variety of insane dictators who thought Jews should be eradicated from this earth. Yet he survived. He never spoke about his experiences until late in life. He then became a speaker with the Survivors group, going to schools and universities, making sure no one forgot. He was a living testament. He saw the writing on the wall when the Russians liberated Romania, and he and our mother left, looking for a safe haven in USA controlled Europe – a journey that was filled with peril and hardship. And that is how they wound up in Winnipeg – in a cold desolate autumn in 1948. We never expected to be without our father. He was a force of nature. In his own quiet way he was a rock. He helped others and he was indestructible. He was a man who had journeyed far not just in miles, but in time.
Donations in his memory can be made to Jewish Child and Family Services, Reaching Out Holocaust Survivor’s Group, c/o 123 Doncaster St. Winnipeg, MB R3N 2B2 or to a charity of your choice. He will be missed by his family and his community.