Booba Harowitz: Choosing Vancouver
Date:Wednesday, July 17, 2002
ID:Digital audio recording #: 20.02-03
JB: And did they come to BC right away or did they…?
BH: Yes, yes they came straight to BC.
JB: Okay, do you remember when that was?
BH: Of course. It was in September of 1923. About three, four days before Rosh Hashanah of that year.
JB: And why did they come?
BH: Why? Because of the revolution in Russia. And my father was a little bit considered of a capitalist and that’s not very good according to the Reds, you know? So there was a sort of an underground railroad, like you know in the States when the Americans had the underground railroad for the slaves, there was that kind of thing going on out of Russia where especially Jewish people were fleeing and that’s how we got out.
JB: Did you come to Vancouver?
BH: We came directly to—well we were met, when we docked at Halifax, we were met by a Jewish organization, HIAS I believe it was, I don’t know if you know of HIAS, it’s the Hebrew something Aid Society I forget but and, oh, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and, “Why don’t you stay in Montreal and Toronto and Winnipeg, the big Jewish centres?” And my father said he wanted to get as far away from Russia as he possibly could, so where could he go? And they said, “Well you can go all the way to the West Coast.” As it turns out, of course, you realize we are much closer to Russia than we would have been on the East Coast but that’s another story. And that’s why we came here, knowing nobody, having no relatives, no personal connections.