Brenda Honigman in memory of Sam and Archie Honigman

Sam (the baby) with his sisters, Dvorah (bottom left) and Rivka (bottom right), his mother, Gesia (top left), his dad, Asher, and his grandmother, Shaindle (top right)

My Story...

My name is Brenda Honigman and I am writing this “story” to pay tributeto and to honour my dad, Sam and my brother, Archie. My dad died in 1995 and mybrother in 2021. We were very close and I miss them dearly. I will mainly focuson the Jewish aspects of our lives since Judiasm was a big part of our lives.

My dad was born in Mizerich, Poland in 1927. He lived with his parentsAsher and Gesia, his sisters Rivka and Dvorah and his grandparents Shaindle andHershel. They were religious Jews. My dad wore payes and went to Chedar. Theywere very poor and lived in a tiny house with only 2 rooms - a kitchen and aliving room. They had no electricity. They had to walk a half a mile to getwater from a well.  His grandparentsslept in the kitchen and everyone else slept in the living room. They had agarden, a cow, a horse and some ducks. My dad’s parents used their horse andwagon to sell milk to people in nearby shtetls. My dad played with hissiblings, cousins and neighbours and did fun activities like skating andtobogganing.

My dad’s simple but happy lifechanged when he was only 12. His family was murdered during The Holocaust. Theywere slaughtered in the killing fields. My dad beinga fast runner, ran away and hid in a ditch as they were marching to the killingfields. My dad's Aunt Chatoiveh saw that he was about to run and she handed himher wedding ring which he later gave to a guard as a bribe. He hid in forestsand in hay stacks. For 3 weeks he also was hidden with 3 other kids in a holethat a farmer dug out for them next to his barn. The farmer gave them food bylowering a string down to them. My dad had such a strong will to survive, suchchutzpah and some help from G-d, that allowed him to survive. He repeatedlytold himself “life must go on.” His experiences during The Holocaust weredocumented by The Steven Spielberg Visual History of The Shoah Foundationduring an interview he did with them.

He came to Winnipeg in 1948 and lived for several years asa boarder.  My dad worked as a furrier,owned a grocery store, then he bought houses and rented them out. He alsoworked as a salesman. He married Edith Lerner (who also had Mizerich roots) andthey had 3 children: Archie, Gary and myself. They divorced when I was a babyand Gary died as a child. My dad raised Archie and I. He was an amazing dad. Wedid so many things together. We used to go with him to collect rent from histenants and we would hear the stories from the tenants. My dad was always warm,friendly and kind to everyone. He loved to offer food to people.

Speaking of food, my dad made delicious chicken soup and Istill use the same recipe. I have fond memories going with him every week toGunn’s Bakery for bagels, challah, poppyseed rolls, poppyseed cookies andnothings, to City Bread for rye bread, and Neptune’s fish store for smokedgoldeye. I can’t believe I ate goldeye with the head on it!

My dad and I went to Rosh Pina and the Winnipeg Beach shulregularly. He went to the YMHA a lot with Archie to work out, shvitz, schmoozeand kibbitz in the sauna with his buddies. My dad was in amazing shape. Hedanced a few times a week to have fun and not think about his tsuris. We allwent for walks, cycled and rollerbladed at the beach.

We travelled to Florida, Hawaii, Israel, California, andmost of Canada. The most meaningful trip we experienced was in 1992 to attend aMarch of the Living Ceremony near his shtetl Mizerich followed by a trip toIsrael where he reunited with those 3 other persons who were hidden with him ina hole  during The Holocaust.  I feel so fortunate that my dad gave Archieand I the gift of travel. My dad had such a zest for life. He lived his life tothe fullest. When he died in 1995, Archie and I became even closer.

My relationship with my brother Archie can be described asa wonderful and unique relationship between a brother and sister whose bondlasted for more than 50 years. We had so much fun together. Before I get intoall the fun stuff, I’ll write about some of his background. He attended TalmudTorah briefly then attended public schools such as Garden City Collegiate. Thenhe obtained his Masters of City Planning degree at The University of Winnipeg.He worked as a land planner then he owned a property management company andlike my dad, he bought properties and rented them out. It’s as if my dadwhispered to him-- “buy real estate.” Archie enjoyed helping people. He helpedtenants find housing and in university he worked for several summers for thegovernment helping students find jobs. He was well liked and was generous withhis time, advice and gifts.  I heard  countless stories of how much he helpedpeople in so many ways.  

As far as his Jewish social life... he attended USY, was aregular at The YMHA and The Rady Center. He enjoyed playing floor hockey there. He was honoured at The Rady JCCSports dinner in 2013 for his charitable contributions.

Archie loved to travel with Jewish Organizations. He wenton 14 Jewish Singles’ Cruises between 2002 and 2014 with the same group. AfterArchie passed away the organizer of these cruises contacted me and sent me alist of these cruises... he went to interesting places such as: Australia, NewZealand, Hawaii, South America, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Panama Canal, and TheCaribbean. I also went on a few Jewish Singles’ cruises with him and it washilarious to see women chase after him. It was also funny how on the formalnights, he always wore sweaters with cartoon characters because he was Mr.Casual.

We went on Jewish Singles’ Conventions organized by UJA inDallas, Virginia Beach and New Orleans. We also went to Club Med in Cancun that was organized by a JewishSingles Dating Service that we belonged to. On our travels, we often rentedbicycles. We had so much fun.

Speaking of fun, Archie loved disco music and for his 50thbirthday he went from being a city planner to a party planner extraordinaire!The live music, the food, the funny speeches/roasts to Archie, the costumes hewore to resemble a disco king - it was a spectacular party!  He often said it was the best day of hislife!

There were also many fun times in Toronto. Archie visitedme often and we would explore. It often involved being on our bicycles. He alsobrought me Winnipeg treats such as poppyseed rolls, bagels, rye bread andJeannie’s cakes.

When my first son was born, he flew to Toronto on thesame day and stayed for several weeks. When my second son was born, he came aday later and helped take care of my first son. He held both of my sons duringtheir Brises. He was an amazing uncle. He adored my kids and they adored theirUncle Archie. They all loved to hang out together. He was the ultimate fununcle. We travelled together to Disney World and Disneyland several times. InToronto, we also had great times going to farms, apple picking, beaches andamusement parks.

My brother often acted like a kid himself and did mischievousthings. He would place my kids on the roof of his car in my driveway and theywould all be laughing while eating Twizzlers, his favourite candy. He alwayshad a stash in his car.

Archie would come to Toronto each month to have fun with us.  He came in for my kids’ birthday parties andschool plays. He loved being an active part of their lives. Archie was veryproud of his nephews. He had many pictures of them displayed all over his houseand at our cottage. I have many wonderful memories of us hanging out with himat Winnipeg Beach, having fun playing at the arcade, going out for ice creamand goofing around the hot tub with all of Archie’s rubber duckies.

 I have so many wonderful memories of us having funtogether. We were so close and everyone knew how close we were. We had anunbreakable bond.

 Moving on to me... Here is a little bit about myself,mainly as it relates to Judiasm. I went to Peretz School. I was the Yiddishvaledictorian - my kids laugh when I tell them. I attended Garden City Collegiate. I graduated from University ofManitoba with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. I was active in Kadima andUSY.  I was in Rosh Pina’s Youth Choir. Ivolunteered at Folklorama’s Israel Pavillion. I went to Israel with CanadianZionist Federation for a summer when I was 21. I had a Bat Mitzvah at
The Kotel that was organized by the group. My dad and Israeli relativesattended. My Israeli relatives said how it made sense for me to have my BatMitzvah when I was 21 because when you read 21 in Hebrew from right to leftit’s 12, which is the typical age for a Bat Mitzvah. I made a speech about howproud I was of my dad and how he courageously survived The Holocaust.

 I moved to Toronto and married a nice Jewish guy, ArnieDeltoff that I met through a Jewish dating service. We have 2 wonderfulsons..Shafer and Brody. Shafer is named after my dad and looks like my dad. Hehas Archie’s personality. I try to instill my boys with the same Jewish valuesand traditions that I learned from my dad. I also taught my boys some Yiddish.A few years ago, we celebrated their B’nai Mitzvah. We went to Israel on a BarMitzvah tour and had a service in Jerusalem then we had a service in Toronto.This is what my sons said during their speech: “We would like to dedicate ourB’nai Mitzvah service to our Zaidy Sam’s aunt for giving such a big sacrifice(her ring) and to our Zaidy Sam’s sisters... our great aunts who were killedwhen they were teens. They were not given the opportunity to have their own BatMitzvahs. So, we are 2 brothers having a B’nai Mitzvah and we are dedicatingthis service to 2 sisters who were not able to celebrate one.” Boy was Ikvelling that day!


I am so proud of my sons, my brother and my dad.


“From Generation toGeneration and Strength to Strength – L’dor Vador”