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Lawrence Jusko

Lawrence Jusko describes starting a new life in Canada.

Lawrence Jusko (originally Ladislav Juskovik) was born in 1929 in Ushorov, the former Czechoslovakia. Lawrence was raised in a traditional Orthodox family and his younger brother George was born in 1940. Lawrence’s parents, Ernest and Charlotte, owned and operated a grocery and dry-goods store. Before the Hungarian occupation of his region, Lawrence attended a Czech school for children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. At home, the family spoke Hungarian and his parents frequently spoke Yiddish amongst themselves. Lawrence also received private instruction in Hebrew, and English languages.

With the Hungarian occupation during the Second World War, life changed dramatically for the Jusko family. There was very little contact with the world outside of Ushorov, although they frequently heard rumours of Jews being sent to forced labour camps. In early 1944, the family was deported to a former brick factory that served as a makeshift ghetto. Sanitary and living conditions in the brick factory were deplorable with only rudimentary shelter. Shortly thereafter Lawrence and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. After approximately three months, Lawrence was deported to Kaufering, a subsidiary of the Dachau camp.

Lawrence was liberated by the American army and after a period of rehabilitation left Europe for British Mandate Palestine. There he met his future wife, and together they immigrated to Canada in 1953. The couple lived first in Montreal, and for a time in Newfoundland where Lawrence worked as an importer and repairer of watches, a skill he learned in the former Czechoslovakia.

Lawrence Jusko died in 2016 and his full testimony is part of the Canadian Collection of Holocaust survivor testimonies. It is preserved in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive and accessible through the Ekstein Library.

Lawrence Jusko

I came to Montreal but after two, three weeks looking for a job, somebody knew somebody, who needed somebody in Newfoundland so I accepted the job.