August 31, 1945 – January 25, 2006
(SŐrul Hersch) was born in
Saki, Crimea, in southeastern USSR
during WWII on August 31st,
1945. As an infant, he traveled
through southeastern Europe with Mendel and Frieda and his grandmother Ida, and
Fred, who had been born in 1942 in Azerbaijan. During much of this time, Mendel was
away from his family, working at itinerant jobs just to make a bare living and
then returning to them to keep them going.
At the end of the war, Irving traveled with his
parents as they made their way back to Poland and then through Hungary and
Czechoslovakia as they were sent to displaced persons camps in Austria. During these travels, they were
re-united with FriedaŐs sister Leah and her husband Velvul
(Wolf) Lopata and their children Barbara and Loretta,
who were also born in the USSR
while the group was running from the Nazis. As the group made their way together to
the displaced personsŐ camps, Irving and Loretta shared a baby buggy being
pushed across Eastern Europe to Austria. The group stayed in Austria
until October 1949 when they received a visa to immigrate to the United
During his time in Austria,
only about 3-4 years old, even then a happy child despite the history of the
group and despite having no comforts or possessions. He wandered with Fred on the hills
around the camp and we have a picture of Irving and Fred sitting on a hill in
Irving came to the
U.S. by steam ship, The SS
General Sturgis, arriving with the group in New
York harbor in October 1949. He arrived in the U.S.
at 4 years of age and traveled with his family to South
Bend, Indiana where they began a
new life and where Irving
later started to go to school.
Their first home for several days was in the back
of a used clothing store run by Bernice Goldberg, IrvingŐs grandmotherŐs sister
who had immigrated earlier in the 20th century. The store was old, musty, and
filled with roaches and mice, but also filled with the loving kindness of
Bernice, who remained close to the family for the rest of her life.
The family shortly moved to 444
½ Chapin Street, a small upstairs apartment
in the heart of the black ghetto.
First Charlotte, then Boris were born there. Baby sister and baby brother. Irving
adapted well to the move and was a happy child. With time and good fortune, the family
moved to a house on Western
Avenue and then bought a home on 801
Sherman Avenue where Irving and Fred shared an attic
bedroom together and where they grew up.
from South Bend
School and joined the army during the height of the
Vietnam War. He served in Germany,
came back to South Bend, and met and married
Linda there and ultimately settled in Ottawa,
was a holocaust survivor. Irving
was a survivor. Despite enduring
hardship and deprivation during his early years, Irving
never complained. Despite never
having much during his growing up years, Irving
never complained. Despite never
making much money or having any luxuries, Irving
never complained. He took things in
stride and always did the best he could and always with a smile.
He always had his smile and a cheerful and carefree
loved music. Irving
loved baseball. Irving
loved children. And Irving
especially loved his family.
Life didnŐt bless Irving
with material things, with riches and possessions and comfort and lots of
choices. But Irving
was blessed with Linda who blessed him and his life with Kim and Mandy and
Danny, the rich treasures of his life.
What more legacy could anyone hope to leave the world?
We all loved him and will miss him terribly. He leaves a deep hole in our lives, but
we are all better for having known him.