Fran Sonshine, National Chair

Lore Jacobs

The Last Goodbye

The haunting image of young Lore Jacobs saying goodbye to her parents for the last time as the train pulled away from the station is reminiscent of a scene from a movie.

Lore Gotthelf was born to Sigmund and Gertrud Gotthelf on April 17, 1924, in Frankfurt am Main. Lore’s father was a wholesaler of hats, and Lore loved to try them on, especially the ones with feathers and lots of decorations.

During the 30s, life for Lore and her family deteriorated quickly. On Kristallnacht, her father was arrested and taken to Dachau, where he remained for three weeks, returning in very poor condition. Then the Nazis took over the family business, and the Gotthelfs were forced to live off their savings, which were also later confiscated. After the family’s attempts to get into the United States stalled, the family registered Lore for a Kindertransport to England. Lore was only 15 when, on July 7, 1939, she quickly said goodbye to her parents at the train station in Frankfurt and crossed the channel to England, alone.

In England, Lore worked as a seamstress and nursery school teacher. Then, in 1944, Lore attended a dance at a refugee club in Birmingham. There, she met Erwin Jacobs, another Holocaust survivor from Germany. Erwin and Lore fell in love, and, at the young age of 20, Lore married Erwin while the “doodle-bugs,” German bombs, flew overhead in London.

At the end of the war, Lore and Erwin found out that all four of their parents had perished in the Holocaust—Lore’s in the Lodz ghetto, Erwin’s in Auschwitz.

After the war, Lore and Erwin worked very hard to make a life in post-war England. But when the family in whose house they rented a small apartment decided to sell the building, they decided to leave their beloved England and start anew in Canada. They arrived in Toronto in 1953 and lived there for two years, where Lore worked at a preschool affiliated with the University of Toronto on Jarvis Street.

Lore and Erwin then moved to Hamilton and raised their two children, Gale and Peter. After her children were grown, Lore studied at the Dundas Valley School of Art. Later, she attended Mohawk College and got a certificate in spinning and weaving. She made and sold several beautiful pieces of work, even showing a few pieces at the Craft Ontario Shop in Yorkville.

Lore and Erwin’s wonderful marriage lasted 52 years before, sadly, at the age of 76, Erwin passed away. At his request, Lore and her children created the Erwin Jacobs Holocaust Memorial Fund in Hamilton in 1996 to support programs teaching about the Holocaust in their community.

Lore is the grandmother of four grandchildren, Sara, David, Eliana, and Daniel. Lore has been an active and dedicated participant in Holocaust education and remembrance programs, speaking about her personal experience in classrooms and at commemorations, through the Hamilton Jewish Federation for the past 20 years.

While Lore will never forget that time long ago when she waved goodbye to her parents at the train station, she has filled the intervening days of her life with love, family, and contribution.