Mr. Henry W. Rosenthal

Mr. Henry W. Rosenthal

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and Deutsche Telekom, Ananas Productions, Schule ans netz, Alexander Von Humboldt Schule, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Carl-Friedrich Gauß Schule, Confederation High School, Deutsachherren-Gymnasium, German Historical Museum, Gymnasium Isernhagen, Horton High School/Acadia University, Integrierte Gesamtschule Bonne-Beuel,

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Professional Mechanical Engineer (Retired) 83 years old. Born in Berlin, in 1915. 1932-1937 lived and worked in Darmstadt, Germany. Worked and lived in England, in 1939, as a designer. Arrived in Canada in 1940.
  • Professional Mechanical Engineer (Retired)
  • 83 years old.
  • Born in Berlin, in 1915.
  • 1932-1937 lived and worked in Darmstadt, Germany. Worked and lived in England, in 1939, as a designer.
  • Arrived in Canada in 1940.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Henry W. Rosenthal

My name is Henry Rosenthal. Mein name ist Henry Rosenthal. Mon nom est Henry Rosenthal.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and Deutsche Telekom, Ananas Productions, Schule ans netz, Alexander Von Humboldt Schule, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Carl-Friedrich Gauß Schule, Confederation High School, Deutsachherren-Gymnasium, German Historical Museum, Gymnasium Isernhagen, Horton High School/Acadia University, Integrierte Gesamtschule Bonne-Beuel,

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Why did you come to Canada? Did you come directly to Canada?

At the beginning of WWII, the English Government interned a lot of Germans in England. I did not choose to come to Canada. They (English Government) were not sure if these people were actually refugees from Nazi oppression or terrorists. They brought some men from the 20-30 year age group to Canada by boat and placed us in an internment camp near Sherbrooke, Quebec for two years. Not one of us was a terrorist.

Why did you come to Canada? Did you come directly to Canada?

At the beginning of WWII, the English Government interned a lot of Germans in England. I did not choose to come to Canada. They (English Government) were not sure if these people were actually refugees from Nazi oppression or terrorists. They brought some men from the 20-30 year age group to Canada by boat and placed us in an internment camp near Sherbrooke, Quebec for two years. Not one of us was a terrorist.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What were your hopes and dreams for your new life here in Canada? Were they fulfilled?

Because of my situation in coming to Canada, I had no hopes and dreams in mind for Canada. But when we were released because none of us was a terrorist, some of us went back to England to start a new life. I knew very little about Canada, but learned a great deal about it in the internment camp. Many stayed in Canada like I did, and we had a good life here.
What were your hopes and dreams for your new life here in Canada? Were they fulfilled?

Because of my situation in coming to Canada, I had no hopes and dreams in mind for Canada. But when we were released because none of us was a terrorist, some of us went back to England to start a new life. I knew very little about Canada, but learned a great deal about it in the internment camp. Many stayed in Canada like I did, and we had a good life here.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What was the reaction of your family when you decided to come to Canada?

I did not have much family left in Germany. My father was killed in WWI fighting the French and my mother, who became a Doctor, was shipped off to Auschwitz and never returned. I still have contact with my cousin, her husband, and children who live in Basel, Switzerland.

What was the reaction of your family when you decided to come to Canada?

I did not have much family left in Germany. My father was killed in WWI fighting the French and my mother, who became a Doctor, was shipped off to Auschwitz and never returned. I still have contact with my cousin, her husband, and children who live in Basel, Switzerland.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Did you already know people here in Canada? Did you meet any new people on your way to Canada? If so, do you still communicate with them?

I did not know anyone in Canada. In the internment camp I got to know some people. I taught mathematics there to some young male internees who later went on to McGill University. I did not meet anyone on the ship, but those whom I met in the camp I am still very good friends with.

Did you already know people here in Canada? Did you meet any new people on your way to Canada? If so, do you still communicate with them?

I did not know anyone in Canada. In the internment camp I got to know some people. I taught mathematics there to some young male internees who later went on to McGill University. I did not meet anyone on the ship, but those whom I met in the camp I am still very good friends with.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What was your first special experience in Canada?

I taught mathematics to young men in the camp who later went on to McGill and my wedding was very special. I married a Canadian woman.

What was your first special experience in Canada?

I taught mathematics to young men in the camp who later went on to McGill and my wedding was very special. I married a Canadian woman.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Did you feel respected when you came here?

Yes, I was respected when I came to Canada. When I worked for the first firm after my release, we were all recognized as refugees from Nazi oppression.

Did you feel respected when you came here?

Yes, I was respected when I came to Canada. When I worked for the first firm after my release, we were all recognized as refugees from Nazi oppression.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What were some of the differences between Canada and Germany you first observed? Cultural or otherwise? Are these differences still present?

The literature that was read in Canada and in Germany was different. In Canada you read Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and Walter Scott. In Germany one reads Goethe. In each country you still have those who are better educated and those who are not.
What were some of the differences between Canada and Germany you first observed? Cultural or otherwise? Are these differences still present?

The literature that was read in Canada and in Germany was different. In Canada you read Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and Walter Scott. In Germany one reads Goethe. In each country you still have those who are better educated and those who are not.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Did German families live in your neighborhood? Did you join any German associations or clubs?

There are no German speaking people in my neighborhood that I know of, but I do have some German speaking friends in other parts of Montreal, like Dorval. I belong to the German Jewish Heritage Association who come together to remember "Kristallnacht" on every November 9. I am on the Board of Directors and I receive an invitation from the German Consulate once a year for a meeting of associations which are linked to Germany.

Did German families live in your neighborhood? Did you join any German associations or clubs?

There are no German speaking people in my neighborhood that I know of, but I do have some German speaking friends in other parts of Montreal, like Dorval. I belong to the German Jewish Heritage Association who come together to remember "Kristallnacht" on every November 9. I am on the Board of Directors and I receive an invitation from the German Consulate once a year for a meeting of associations which are linked to Germany.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Was it a problem finding work as an immigrant in a new country?

It was no trouble finding work in Canada. I was an engineer in Germany and England. I was also an engineer in Canada. I worked for the Cowan Company as a Draftsman, then I was a Consulting Engineer, then for Dominion Engineering Works (G.E.), and then finally for KHD Canada.

Was it a problem finding work as an immigrant in a new country?

It was no trouble finding work in Canada. I was an engineer in Germany and England. I was also an engineer in Canada. I worked for the Cowan Company as a Draftsman, then I was a Consulting Engineer, then for Dominion Engineering Works (G.E.), and then finally for KHD Canada.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the context of German immigration to Canada in the twentieth century;
  • Recognize that immigration affects the lives of individuals with a wide range of backgrounds;
  • Understand some of the experiences faced by German immigrants to Canada, both in Germany and in Canada;
  • Explain why individuals emigrate to Canada;
  • Empathize with the feelings of new immigrants to Canada;
  • Understand the impact of WWII on individuals’ lives.

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