Mina POHORILLE

Submitted by Cecil Rosner and Norbert Porile

Mina Pohorille was born October 8, 1913 in Buczacz. Her father, Abraham, owned a wholesale distribution company and also produced carbonated soft drinks. At the age of 25 she married Michael Rosner, and they had a son, Isaac. Between 1941 and 1944, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered Mina's parents, her two brothers and three sisters and all her aunts and uncles. In 1942, Mina's son contracted diptheria and died at age three. For many months, Mina and five other Jews were hidden from the Nazis in the home of a courageous Polish family. She was one of about 100 Jews to survive the war in Buczacz. After being separated by war for five years, Mina was reunited with her husband in 1946. In 1948, they came to Winnipeg, raising two sons. Mina and Michael operated a clothing store in the 1950's, and then ran Atlantic Grocery for 22 years before retiring in 1982. That same year, Michael died. For many years Mina worked as a volunteer at the Health Sciences Centre, and was an active member of the Talmud Torah Synagogue and Winnipeg Jewish Choir. Mina was also an avid reader and researcher. In her seventies she began attending university classes, and her house was filled with hundreds of books and clipping files. Mina devoted special attention to educating people about the Holocaust. She spoke to hundreds of students every year, calling on them to fight racism and fascism. She wrote extensively about the Holocaust, including a book about her experiences called I am a Witness. In 1990, she traveled to her hometown for the first time since the war. CBC's 24 Hours recorded the trip in a documentary called Return to Buczacz. The documentary has been televised nationally in Canada and in Israel, and it won a number of international awards. In 1992, Mina received the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada, recognizing her "significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada." She died in 1997 at the age of 84, and is survived by sons Avrum and Cecil and their families.

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