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Obituary

PHILIP WEISS (published on September 20, 2008)



PHILIP WEISS It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our remarkable dad on September 3, 2008. Philip was born in Drohobycz, Poland on February 11, 1922. As a Jewish teenager he was thrown into a ghetto with his family, by the Nazis. Later, separated from his family in the years 1943-1945, he was a slave labourer in various camps. He was liberated from Mathausen concentration camp outside Linz, Austria on May 5, 1945 by the American army. He demonstrated a lifelong gratitude to his rescuers by only buying American made automobiles. Before his education was interrupted by the Second World War, he aspired to become an architect, yet as with so many Jewish victims of the Nazis, his hopes and dreams were destroyed. After liberation in Austria, through his efforts with the British Broadcasting Corporation, who at the time was releasing survivors' names over the airwaves, he was reunited with his parents and siblings. They were one of the few Polish Jewish families to survive the war intact. After the war, Canada was in need of garment workers, and he arrived in Winnipeg in 1948 to begin a new life. Two years later, he became a self employed business man, starting his own furniture manufacturing company, Philip Weiss Ltd., bringing him closer to his original career choice. He was the recipient of a Manitoba furniture design award. Philip was very active in the Jewish community, from sitting on numerous boards to being a past synagogue president. But whatever his other commitments, his prime concern was always Holocaust education. He chaired the Holocaust Remembrance and Memorial committees. Under his chairmanship, a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was erected on the Legislative grounds in Winnipeg, on September 6. 1990. This was the first monument of its kind on public property in Canada. He received in 1991, the Manitoba Government Department of Multiculturalism Prix Award for distinguished service in cross cultural awareness. Over the years, he spoke to many groups of students, educators, religious and ethnic leaders of all backgrounds about his experiences as a Jewish victim of Nazi terror. The movie Schindlers List depicted the Plaszow Labour Camp, where Philip was enslaved. Upon its release, he provided free screenings of the movie to numerous high school students, which he used as a basis for stimulating Holocaust discussion and awareness. Because of his extensive work in Holocaust education, he was recognized in Parliament in Ottawa, as one of the 50 Canadian Holocaust survivors who have greatly contributed to the betterment of Canadian society . In 2003, one of his proudest moments was accepting his Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Winnipeg. As he was a victim of a society gone mad with creating genocidal laws, this was especially meaningful to him. In his early eighties he wrote and published his book Humanity in Doubt, reflections and essays on his experience during the Holocaust. Philip was predeceased by his parents Celia and Solomon (Weiss), his devoted wife Gertrude (Goot), and his loving daughter Shelley (Weiss). He is survived by his two daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, Francie and Eric Winograd, Abby, Jill and Richard; Beverly and Bryan Schwartz, Michael and Lainie; and Erin and Evan LaRocque. He is also survived by his sister Erna Kimmel, brother and sister-in-law, Leo and Evelyn Weiss and their families. Funeral services took place at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on September 5, 2008, with Rabbi Alan Green officiating. Interment followed at Shaarey Zedek cemetery. Pallbearers were Philip's three grandsons, Richard Winograd, Evan LaRocque and Michael Schwartz, and his nephews Sol Weiss, Brian Kaplan and Mark Stesin. Donations may be made to the Jewish Foundation Philip and Gertrude Weiss Fund , or the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or to the charity of your choice.


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