Event on May 1st:

A Common Thread:
Celebrating the Untold Stories of the Tailor Project’s Holocaust Survivors and the Value of Immigration to Canada

This special commemorative event on the eve of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) at Holy Blossom Temple is on May 1st.

Including the following speakers: Larry Enkin, four Tailor Project families, Rabbi Yael Splansky, and a special guest speaker.

If you believe that you or a family member immigrated to Canada through the Tailor Project or if you would like to attend the event please reach out to us at info@tailorproject.ca.

To watch the live stream of the event please go to tailorproject.ca/livestream/ on May 1st at 7:00 p.m.

The Tailor Project

The Tailor Project tells the story of approximately 2,500 Holocaust survivors who came to Canada between 1948 and 1949 to work as tailors through the Garment Workers Scheme. It also tells the story of their descendants living in Canada today.

Officially known as the Garment Workers Scheme, the Tailor Project was apart of a series of bulk-labour schemes in Canada after World War II which aimed to create a prosperous peacetime economy. The schemes allowed immigrants into the country to work in industries that had shortages of labour. This boosted the labour and consumer market and gave Canada a hard-working population that had diverse skills and cultural practices. Above all, the schemes were humanitarian efforts that gave people an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

The Garment Workers Scheme was unique in that it was the first time in Canada’s history where large groups of Jews were allowed into the country. Immigrants, who came from displaced persons camps in Europe, were guaranteed one year of employment at equal pay and terms as other employees in a Canadian factory. With the support of unions and the organized Jewish community, people were also given housing accommodations to rent, and a loan to cover initial costs of living. These opportunities allowed immigrants to integrate into society after years of displacement and hardship.

History has not properly documented the Garment Workers Scheme and its invaluable lessons. In 2017, Larry Enkin, the son of Max Enkin (one of the principal leaders of the
Garment Workers Scheme) approached Impakt Labs to look into the lives of these tailors and their children. The Tailor Project today tells their stories, and through extensive research and interviews, is writing about a hugely significant part of Canadian history. The project has shed light on many unanswered questions for families who have had little access to their history. It brings to light the value of employment opportunities for refugees and immigrants in Canada, and the impact of community-business partnerships. The project celebrates the significant contributions this population of people has made on our country, and honours their remarkable success.

The stories gathered through the Tailor Project will be published in an upcoming book, available in 2020. A short documentary has been made to capture and honour these important stories.