Holocaust survivor reminds us of the will to live, the need to celebrate


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After escaping death, Ted began the postwar challenge of reconstructing his life. He returned to Warsaw and, with the help of that city’s Jewish community and of family members in North America, he envisioned a move to Canada. Despite Canada’s very unfortunate rejection of wartime Jewish refugees, the situation changed and in 1947 the government gave permission for 1,000 Jewish war orphans to come to the country. The following year, Ted made the journey to his new home in Montreal. It was here he started a family with his wife, Anne (Price) Brandt, welcoming his two daughters, Elaine and Cindy, and eventually grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Brian and Tamara dreamed of having a big wedding, with many family members and friends. They dreamed of having Zaida (grandpa) Ted in attendance. They got the latter wish. The coronavirus made a big wedding very unlikely. They already postponed a wedding date in early July, in the hope that the pandemic might not still be upon us by the fall and a large gathering might again become possible. But as this became increasingly uncertain, Brian and Tamara decided to go for a smaller outdoor gathering with social distancing, masks for all the guests and an abundance of hand sanitizer. They well understood that it was critical to put everyone’s safety first. The vast majority of participants in Montreal and elsewhere ended up watching the proceedings on Zoom.

Thadeusz (Ted) Brandt’s presence at his grandson’s wedding was both a great personal triumph and a reminder of the importance of celebrating life.
Thadeusz (Ted) Brandt’s presence at his grandson’s wedding was both a great personal triumph and a reminder of the importance of celebrating life. courtesy of Noam Krief

Brian and Tamara’s outdoor ceremony was spectacular. Zaida Ted proudly observed his grandson’s wedding, and in doing so paid tribute to the family that cares so dearly about him. It was a great personal triumph for Zaida Ted, 75 years after he was liberated from the death camps in Europe. His will to survive made the day possible. His presence at the wedding served as a reminder to us all of the importance of the celebration of life in these turbulent times.

Perhaps it wasn’t the dream wedding they envisioned pre-COVID, but as they danced together under the stars, it was very clear that Brian Hofman got the woman of his dreams and my beautiful daughter Tamara Jedwab got the man of hers. I couldn’t be more proud of them.