Josef Krystal, 74, Labour Zionist activist (2000)

Josef Krystal, who was national president of the Labour Zionist Alliance of Canada, died recently (2000) after a long illness. He was 74.

Owner of the Krystal Cap Company, he was active in the business until he became ill. His son Steven, who worked with him in the business for 20 years, is continuing to run the company.

Krystal and his wife Paulie were married in Bergen Belsen on December 24, 1946, after the camp was liberated. He had worked as a slave labourer for the Nazis in Germany and Holland, making caps for the German forces. After the war, he went to Bergen Belsen with his father, Frank, who died in Canada 10 years ago.

In Bergen Belsen, Krystal met his future wife, who had gone to the camp after the war to be reunited with her brother Irving.

Krystal lost his mother, three brothers and a sister in the Holocaust; his wife lost her father.

“When he was in hospital recently, he called over a nurse and told her he was afraid that they were coming to take him away to a concentration camp,” Paulie Krystal said.

In addition to his interest in Labour Zionism, Krystal raised money for the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, Israel, and the emergency ward there is named in honour of Josef and Paulie Krystal.

Surviving Krystal, in addition to his wife and Steven, are a daughter, Sharon Gottlieb, and another son, Marty, both of Toronto, and five grandchildren. ♦

This article first appeared in the Canadian Jewish News on November 9, 2000, and appears here courtesy of the family of the late author. © 2012 by the family of the late Ben Rose.