Siggy Soudack

My name at birth was Sigmund Silber. I was born in 1935, the youngest of three children. My parents, Israel and Bronya Silber z”l, were hardworking farmers in Poland. After the Germans invaded in 1941, my family was detained in the Jewish ghetto, forced to wear yellow stars and armbands.

Fearing death or deportation, my family fled to the nearby forest. My father did everything within his power to save his children and fellow Jews. But by 1943, my beloved parents were murdered, and my siblings and I were forced to fend for ourselves. I was 9 years old. But I managed to survive the horrors of the war along with my brother and sister.

There were very few choices open to Jewish refugee children. Canada was one of the first to open its doors, albeit cautiously. In 1948, after lobbying by Canadian Jewish agencies, we were brought to Winnipeg, Manitoba. My siblings and I were among three of 1,100 orphans who were settled with families across the country. The Jewish community took us in. I was adopted by the Soudack Family, who had three children of their own. Although my siblings and I were separated, we remain close to this day.

Growing up, I knew I had to look after myself, and not depend on handouts or inheritance. Through study and discipline, I became a civil engineer. With my wife Linda’s encouragement, I started my own structural engineering firm, specializing in high rise condominiums. I have been in practice for over 50 years.

Despite the significant hardships I endured, I was surrounded by models of kindness and philanthropy from the earliest age. From my brave biological father to my loving adoptive parents, I grew up with an unshakeable resolve to help others, especially in the area of education.

In my mind, education is the key to everything. Material goods come and go, but if you give people the keys to become independent, they not only will survive but thrive.

Giving back is in my genes. All my philanthropy is in honour of my biological mother and father. It is in their merit that I leave this legacy to the community through the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toro