In Memory of




Obituary for Ethel Kerzner (Kot)

Ethel Kerzner December 4, 1931 - December 30, 2021 It is with hearts full of gratitude, love and the fondest of memories that we advise you of the passing of Ethel Kerzner. Ethel was born in Troyanuvka (NW Ukraine bordering Poland and Russia) on December 4, 1931 to Mordechai and Ritzie Kot. There were approximately 300 Jewish families in this town. Ethel’s father was the kosher butcher for the entire Wolyn Region which was the province in which they lived. She had an older brother named Moishe and an older sister named Gittel. Life was good - then it all changed in a heartbeat. In 1941 Nazi Germany occupied Ukraine and the Jews of the towns were lined up in front of a pit to be exterminated. Her mother told her to run and that is how Ethel became an orphan at the age of 10 and ultimately a Holocaust survivor. Ethel was part of the resistance movement as child and teen in a group of family partisans hiding in the forest. She owes her survival to her Aunt Miriam and Uncle Zelig Dichter. They were her protectors along with their children Tova and Yehudah who became like her sister and brother. Through many horrors and terrible tragic events Ethel was finally liberated by the Russians at the end of the war. Her journey in many ways was just beginning as she travelled with other Jews including her Aunt’s family, from the Ukraine over the Alps to Germany and eventually to a displaced persons camp in Italy. Miraculously her father’s Aunt Rossa and Uncle Benyomin, living in Pembroke, Ontario found out about her and brought her to Canada. In the meantime the Dichter family went to Palestine to fight for the establishment of the State of Israel. In 1947 Ethel was on a boat with several other Jewish orphans on their way to the Port of Montreal. There her mother’s brother Uncle Willy and Auntie Ray Kerzner hosted her along with their young children Danny and Dorothy, with whom she always remained close. As much as she loved Montreal her family in Pembroke was waiting so her Aunt brought her there. She was so lonely in Pembroke so her Aunt Rossa brought her back to Montreal by train. Fate intervened as they had to stop in Ottawa for a 3 hour layover where Rossa’s friend Bessie Kerzner lived. Bessie’s son Syd drove her to the train and picked them up. Syd fell for Ethel immediately and in November of 1948 they were married. Ethel and Syd have four children : Martin (Lois nee King), Ruth (of blessed memory) (Mendy Taller), Steven (Linda nee Hochberg) and Barb. They were blessed with 7 grandchildren: (Michael, Daniel (Julia), Aaron, Jessica (Myles), Lorne, Jason (Nina) Natalie (James), and 8 great grandchildren. Ethel lived a long and happy life surrounded by a large, warm and loving family in Israel, Canada, the U.S. and Argentina. The Argentinian family was discovered in 2004 even though Ethel had a vague recollection of an Uncle and Aunt visiting Canada from there over 50 years ago. What an incredible fortune it was to find over 60 family members including 5 first cousins all living in Argentina and all directly related to Ethel. They became a huge part of her life from then on. At the age of 83 on the bidding of her grandchildren, she finally recorded a 30 minute professional video that tells her story of survival and bears witness to the tragedy she endured during the Holocaust. You can view it using the link provided below this notice. Private graveside service will be held on Sunday, January 2, 2021 at 2pm. A livestream of the service will be available by using the link provided below. The lives of her family, her amazing friends, and all that knew her are forever positively impacted by this gracious, positive, kind and beautiful soul. In Ethel’s memory donations to Hillel Lodge would be greatly appreciated and can be accomplished using the link provided below.

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Ethel Kerzner Unveiling

Sunday, August 14 at 11am

Livestream Link for Ethel Kerzner Unveiling