On January 20, 1950, a devastating fire shocked Toronto’s residents. Phillips Garment Factory, located at 447 Richmond Street, became engulfed in flames. Nine of its eleven workers lost their lives. Many were Holocaust survivors who had just made their way to safety from war-torn Europe. The names of those who perished in the fire are: Wilfrid Gutzin – father of four boys; Rosa Annie Kitts; Abraham Weizberg; Priva Naiman; Bluma Eichenbaum; Isadore and Clara Singer who left behind their four-year-old daughter, Ann. Among the victims was also the owner of the factory, Philip Chikofsky and his eighteen-year-old son, Sidney.
“When I read and heard about the tragic events of Toronto’s Phillips Garment Factory fire I was deeply moved and saddened by the sense of loss. So many children lost parents, husbands and wives lost spouses; many lost brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts,” says Councillor James Pasternak.
The City of Toronto is planning a ceremony as well as the unveiling of a plaque in memory of the fallen factory workers in the Fall of 2021. We wish to find the descendants of the above mentioned in order to pay tribute to their memory.
Councillor Pasternak adds, “This commemorative plaque is an opportunity to remember and pay respect to the victims of the Phillips Garment Factory and gain better historical awareness of the vital conversation of workplace safety and the lessons that arise when tragedy strikes. I have spoken with and met some of those orphaned from this tragic event and they have a story to tell and lesson to give. It is vital for the City of Toronto to listen and learn.”
If you are a descendant of the Phillips Garment Factory fire victims, please contact the office of Councillor James Pasternak at 416-392-1371 or firstname.lastname@example.org. – End –
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