Shalom Life | April 23, 2014

Toronto Holocaust Survivor Turns 105 at Kensington Place

Chana Wallace Credits Tea, Love and “Being Kind” for Her Longevity

By: Elise Kayfetz

Published: April 17th, 2012 in Health » World

Toronto Holocaust Survivor Turns 105 at Kensington Place

It's no wonder Chana Wallace, a Holocaust survivor who recently celebrated her 105th birthday has lived this long. After all, she drinks lemon tea every day, loves and is loved by her family and most of all, when asked what her longevity secret was, Wallace said, "I like to live, don't think of things in the past, and I’m kind to people."

Joined by over 80 family members, fans and fellow residents and staff at Kensington Place on Toronto’s Sheppard Avenue, 105 years of Wallace’s kindness, warmth and abominable spirit was honored.

Leo Spellman, famous pianist - and close cousin to the great Wladyslaw Szpilman – who was immortalized in the 2002 Roman Polanski film The Pianist, and the “baby brother” as he lovingly calls himself, was also there to celebrate and serenade his older sister with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday on the piano. He wished Wallace “another 15 years ‘til 120” and said, “If I stop playing, I don’t want to be alive.”

Clearly, a family of survivors and if that doesn’t keep you going, I don’t know what does. When it came time for speeches, there was no shortage of praise, love and pride. “We are the lucky recipients of your love,” Shiffman proudly shared.

The birthday girl, sharp and bright and tough as a cookie, wished everyone “health and happiness and to live a long life.” She expressed deep gratitude to her family and how happy she was with her new family at Kensington Place. “They appreciate old people and we need a place like this,” said Chana.

Tarah Wronzberg, Kensington Place’s Community Relations Manager lives up to Wallace’s praise and ensured there was Kosher for Passover cake and hot beverages for all and made sure Wallace blew out the candles before they melted.

Despite having survived under Nazi Germany's Jewish death sentence, and “losing her husband in the war and her child at the end of the war, Chana “sees the positive side of life," explains Suzanne Spellman.

And perhaps that’s all one needs to live a long and loving life. Happy Birthday, Chana.

Elise Kayfetz, is a gerontologist in Toronto and provides counseling and consulting to those impacted by the sandwich generation. She is also planning the 3rd annual senior prom for Holocaust survivors on June 20th at Beth Emeth.

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