Date of Death: April 22, 2013
Date of Funeral: April 24, 2013
Anshe Sholom Cemetery
October 6, 1918 – April 22, 2013
It is with profound sadness that the family announce the passing of Arthur Weisz, peacefully, with dignity, in the comfort of his home, on April 22, 2013.
Predeceased by Margaret, his dear wife of 65 years, also by his mother and father (Ignacz and Irma) who perished in the Holocaust. Arthur will be deeply missed by his devoted children, Tommy and Sasha; and Janet and Gerald (Asa). He was the loving grandfather of Eric and Leah; Danna and David (Horwood); Talia, Benjamin and Jonathon, and adoring great-grandfather to Sari, Mitchell, Jamie Rose, Sienna and Jonah.
Born in Moson, Hungary to a well-established family, Arthur grew up in a comfortable middle-class household. As was common amongst Jewish families in his community, education was fostered and expected; Arthur completed a degree in Business in Budapest and quickly found success working for one of Europe’s best known food retailers. He was one of their rising managerial stars but new restrictions on the employment of Jews led to his immediate termination.
With the outbreak of World War II, he was conscripted into the Hungarian Army and served as a motorcycle courier while his family remained in Moson. Having heard that the wives of servicemen were offered protection, he arranged a day’s leave returning to his hometown where he and Margaret married in an impromptu civil service. The Nazi invasion of Hungary ended their dreams of living together as Margaret and her family were shortly sent to Auschwitz and Arthur was dispatched to a labour camp. Their families did not survive the death camps, but miraculously, Arthur and Margaret were reunited after the war, the only married couple to return together to their hometown.
He re-established himself, creating a prosperous living for himself and Margaret and was soon to welcome a son, Tommy, in 1946. But this taste of normal life and freedom was interrupted a second time as Communism swept into Hungary. After weeks of planning, the young couple and toddler escaped at night through the forest, eventually making it safely across the Austrian border to a “Displaced Persons” camp. After two years, the family of three was granted an entry visa to Canada. In March 1951, their ship arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax, and their journey ended in Hamilton where Arthur and Margaret arrived with their son, one suitcase and nothing else.
First taking work as a bricklayer’s helper, and eventually as a real estate salesperson, he quickly found great success despite his limited English. Within two years, he became the top salesman in the Hamilton Real Estate Board, and owned his own home. The family was complete when he and Margaret welcomed their second child, a healthy baby girl named Janet, in 1956.
In the years that followed, he engineered a legendary career in real estate as broker, builder, financier, and property manager. In 1978, along with his son Tom, Arthur co- founded The Effort Trust Company. With banking branches in Hamilton and Toronto, and real estate brokerage, development, and asset management mandates throughout Ontario, Effort Trust is a fully integrated property and financial services company, privately owned and proudly managed by second and third generations of the family.
Although he took great interest in many charities, and supported countless others anonymously, two particular projects were his passion. Firstly, the establishment and construction of Shalom Village Home for the Aged in Hamilton was driven substantially by his tireless efforts and contributions. Secondly, Arthur was a founder of the Yad Layeled Museum Project in Israel, the institution dedicated to preserving the memory of the one and a half million children lost in the Holocaust. His commitment was instrumental in providing a permanent voice for the children and he dedicated his support in memory of his and Margaret’s relatives who also perished in the Holocaust.
His many accomplishments were recognized throughout his career, including an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from McMaster University and his induction into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction. Marking the 50th anniversary of the Holocaust, he was the Honouree at the Hamilton Negev Dinner attended by over 1200 people. He was a member of the President’s Club of McMaster University, an Honorary Life Member of St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, and was personally awarded the Hungarian Gold Cross Award of Merit by the President of Hungary. He was the runner up in the Hamilton Spectator’s “Greatest Hamiltonian” and most recently he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Arthur Weisz was an extraordinary man who set a standard of fairness, humility and hard work that was without equal. He was passionate about everything he did as he quietly went about his business in a modest, unassuming way. He was a leader and visionary, devoting his tireless energy and intellect to his family, his business, the City of Hamilton and his adopted country, Canada. We are extremely proud of all of his accomplishments and the fine reputation which he earned. But more than anything, we are proud of the love he shared with his precious “Greti” and for the gifts of life they brought forth.
The family is particularly grateful for the exceptional and compassionate care given by Jo- Anne, Cindy, Taline, Priscilla, Aurora, Daisy, Lucy and Rutchelle. Special thanks also to Dr. Leslie Solomon, Dr. Bill Nisker, Dr. Lorne Finkelstein, and Dr. Samantha Winemaker for their care and support.
Funeral services will be held at Temple Ashe Sholom, 215 Cline Avenue North, Hamilton on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. Shiva will be held at 78 Mayfair Crescent, Hamilton on:
Thursday 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. (service at 7:30 p.m.)
Friday 2 to 4 p.m.
Saturday 7 to 9 p.m. (service at 7:30 p.m.)
Sunday 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. (service at 7:30 p.m.)
The family has requested that condolences be expressed by a donation made to Temple Anshe Sholom or Shalom Village.