Marianne Grand, oldest Jewish resident in Markham

Eighty-year-old Marianne Grand was the oldest Jewish resident in Markham, the Canadian Jewish News reported on November 26, 1981.

Marianne’s parents, Simon and Emma Sauer, owned a large farm on the 10th concession and were the first Jews to settle in the region, according to Marianne.

Marianne was born on her father’s farm in Westphalia.The Grands spent a year in Shanghai before Canada would accept them. She and her husband, Arthur, arrived in Canada in 1940 as war refugees, as did her parents; her brother, Herman,  arrived in 1939.

In 1981, Marianne was living in a big house on Markham’s main street, formerly the home of the United Church, and had worked as a dressmaker for 35 years. She had lived alone since her husband’s untimely death in 1943.

Arthur Grand had been a designer of women’s coats and suits in Berlin. In Canada, he worked as a farm labourer, then in a dairy washing bottles; the family would also make cottage cheese in their home. The Sauers and the Grands would all drive to Toronto to attend services at Holy Blossom Temple; they were delighted when the Markham -Unionville Hebrew Congregation was formed.

Marianne said she planned on living out the rest of her days in Markham. “I like it here,” she said. “I don’t want to move. I’m too old to change now and I have many friends here.” ♦