She escaped the massacre, but did not escape the pandemic


Malvina Shabes (called “Visia” by friends) was only 10 years old when she, her parents and her nanny fled her hometown of Poland for Siberia. It was 1939, and the Nazis had just invaded. The family survived only to find themselves in a labor camp in Siberia. Malvina died in Toronto on November 10, 2020, coronavirus Shine through her nursing home. She was 93 years old.

Although she was terrifying when she was young, her son Jeff Shabes told BuzzFeed News, “She may be one of the friendliest people you have ever met.” “She always worried about everyone except herself.”

As everyone knows, she lives an extraordinary life. She is the mother of two sons and a friend of many sons. She never avoids her life story. Jeff said: “In a sense, she is rare because she is willing to talk about life in Siberia and life during the war.”

Her son said that she and her family were born in Krakow, Poland in 1929, and “miracle” escaped the Nazis.

In her story, Malvina painted a cold Soviet picture. After the non-aggression agreement between Germany and Russia, thousands of Poles were deported to Siberia and other parts of the Soviet Union because of sparsely populated areas. Like other Polish men, her father had to work in a labor camp under conditions where many of his compatriots could not survive.

She told her son that the family had a small apartment with the “least calories” and often did not have enough food. Malvina must attend a Russian school. Jeff said that although she eventually learned the language, she “becomes somewhat adapted,” which is a language she doesn’t understand. When she met Joseph Shabbs, she rejected him because he was eight years old. She met him through her father. Both are committed to resisting Soviet power. Her son recalled: “In a way, they are prisoners.” As time passed, Malvina and Joseph fell in love. After his death, they were married for 63 years.

Offered by Jeff Shabes

Malvina and Joseph Shabes

Siberia has never been a place where the family can settle down. Therefore, after the war, Malvina and her unmarried husband traveled between Poland and Germany. Since the lovers are Jewish refugees, a cousin in Canada was able to bring them to the country. Malvina’s husband went first, and she was 18 years old at the time waiting to marry him.

As a new immigrant to Canada in the late 1940s, Malvina once again found herself learning a new language in a new place, but this time she grew into a patriotic country. Joseph settled in Toronto and ran a printing company, while Malvina worked for the Simpsons, a department store acquired by the Hudson Bay chain in 1978.

After the birth of her first son, Jeff, she took a break from get off work. Initially, she worked part-time, but resigned completely after a miscarriage. Jeff still remembers that time. He stayed with her during her recovery. He said: “I don’t understand why she is lying in bed, but I will make her sandwiches and we will watch soap operas.”

Most importantly, Malvina is famous for the community established in Canada, wherever she goes, she will make friends. Over the years, even though she took care of her before the death of her husband and mother, she was still a firm mother and daughter.

George Kovac, a family friend of more than 50 years, said that Malvina has always been friendly and warm. Even though she started suffering from dementia, her life still revolved around her friends and family. Kovac told BuzzFeed News: “Families who escaped from Nazisim and the Russian system are under tremendous pressure and pressure. To me, this shows how Canada has benefited a lot from their experience.”

First her husband died, and then her dog Pepsi, Malvina’s dementia became more serious. Her family decided to find a nursing home where she could interact socially, music and art. November, She is one of eight residents In her home, she died of COVID-19 in the second wave of outbreaks. When Jeff saw his mother for the last time, he didn’t hug her goodbye.

Jeff said: “I call her’mother’ and tell her it’s okay, she can let go because we love her.” “The next morning at 7:30, we talked to the doctor, and he said she barely breathed 100% Oxygen supply.”

He said it would take time and energy to send his mother to the hospital, and the positive diagnosis came only from the staff of the medical center, not the staff of the nursing home. He hoped that the housing could do more, sound the alarm as soon as possible, and make the situation more transparent, which he did not understand at the time.

He said: “The family didn’t call to ask about her condition.” “The family did nothing.”

After she died He told her story to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation The goal is to make people who have died from the coronavirus more humane.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard his plea, and a few days later Talking about Malvina in a national speech.

“Everyone we lost because of this virus has family and friends. They love them, they have plans for tomorrow and what they want to do. I think of the Toronto man who survived the massacre and recently passed away from COVID-19. Woman.” Trudeau said. “For her loved ones, I express my deepest condolences for your loss. For the families of thousands of people who have lost COVID-19, my thoughts are with you. Every loss is a tragedy, every story They all remind us of the key to fighting this pandemic.”

Malvina is a naughty fashionista, a skilled baker, and an enduring woman. Her difficult life enabled her to build a community around her wherever she went. Jeff is honored that Trudeau remembers his mother and hopes that her story will inspire others to tell the stories of relatives who died of COVID-19.

“My mother is the kind of person who said to me:’I don’t care, don’t make a fuss about me.’ She always said, “Jeff, put yourself first. “He says.

However, in order to explain the losses caused by the epidemic, he did not follow her advice.

He said: “My goal is to tell my mother’s story.”



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