This photo reveals none of the trauma or turmoil that Sabrina Brik and her daughter, Miriam, have already experienced as they await an uncertain future in a Jewish refugee camp in Kishiniv, Romania. It is 1920, and their flight from Ukraine has been accomplished via horse-drawn cart and river ferry. Miriam’s head has been shaved to prevent lice or to stop infection.
Sabrina, fair and blue-eyed, was allowed to sit beside the cart driver, but five-year-old Miriam, dark-haired and dusky, was hidden under a tarpaulin. It was their second attempt to escape revolution-torn Russia; on their first they had been caught and put in jail. Sabrina’s husband, Joseph, had been killed as a conscript in the Russian Army in 1916.
For the next three years, Sabrina, known as Shifra, eked out a hand-to-mouth existence in Romania. Their fortunes turned when the Jewish Immigration Society arranged an exit permit allowing them to leave for Canada. The S.S. Madonna docked in Halifax on May 29, 1924.
Do you have a photograph that captures a moment, important or ordinary, in Canada’s history? If so, have it copied (please don’t send priceless originals) and mail it to Album, c/o Canada’s History, Bryce Hall, Main Floor, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9. Or email your photo to album@CanadasHistory.ca. Please provide a brief description of the photo, including its date and location. If possible, identify people in the photograph and provide further information about the event or situation illustrated. Photos may be cropped or adjusted as necessary for presentation in the magazine. To have your posted submission returned, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.