November 28, 1909 - Lotta Hitschmanova

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November 28, 1909 Canadian humanitarian Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova is born. Many Canadians remember the voice of Lotta Hitschmanova on television commercials as she appealed for donations on behalf of the Canadian Unitarian Service Committee. The USC had taken on the task of feeding and supporting needy children worldwide. Hitschmanova was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia on November 28, 1909. The multilingual young woman studied political science and journalism throughout Europe. As the second world war approached, she moved a number of times, keeping just ahead of the Nazis. In 1942, she ended up in France working for an immigration service. After the war, she came to Canada and continued her humanitarian work through the USC, which was focusing on children in post-war Europe. For 40 years, she traveled around the world for USC, establishing 150 programs in 20 countries. She may or may not have been aware that the RCMP was spying on her at the time, looking for possible communist sympathies or infiltration. They did the same with many church organizations during the cold war period. Her work led to numerous awards, including Canada’s most prestigious, Companion of the Order of Canada. Dr. Lotta, as she was known to many, died of cancer in July 1990 in Ottawa.

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