Holocaust Survivors in Toronto Die in Suicide Pact
Vladimir Fiser and Marika Ferber both jumped off their balcony on the 18th floor Tuesday; friends and family mourn
A 'lovely' elderly couple, both of whom are Holocaust survivors and octogenarians, have died in what appears to be a suicide pact.
Police report that Vladimir Fiser and Marika Ferber, both 20-year residents of the West-end Toronto building, jumped to their deaths from their balcony on the 18th floor in apparent double suicide. Police confirm they found two notes in which the couple said their good byes to the world.
“At this point, investigators do not believe the deaths are suspicious,” Toronto Police Constable Sarah Diamond said. “It’s being treated as a double suicide.”
The National Post reports hat both Ferber and Fiser had lost spouses to cancer; Ferber has reportedly been sick for a long time and, according to a friend and neighbour, Elva Jesson, "she didn't really want to live any more" due to her health problems.
“There’s got to be an easier way than jump off that balcony,” said Ms. Jesson. “He had to have helped her off the balcony because she was in a wheelchair…You’d think you could get sleeping pills, even, to take.”
Jesson adds that Fiser had also been sick, and that he had regularly taken his wife to the hospital for check ups.
“She was falling all the time and she was passing out," Jesson added. ‘They were such a lovely couple. It’s an awful shock here for everybody’
According to the Toronto Star, both Fiser and Ferber were born in a small Croatian city, Osijek, and had known each other as children in their small Jewish community. After the war, they both moved to Israel, and after their spouses died a day apart, the two eventually married.
In Toronto, Fiser earned a master's degree in social work, and later worked at a psychiatric hospital.
Ferber was reportedly a ballerina and teacher.
"They were truly in love," a neighbour told the Toronto Sun. "But they were tired of all the pain.