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I wanted to tell you about a very important man that has recently passed away. We, at GCTC were very fortunate to get to know him, his family and learn about his remarkable life through the play The Children’s Republic.
Back in 2008, GCTC and the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama (OSSD) commissioned a new play from Ottawa-born playwright Hannah Moscovitch about the life of Janusz Korczak entitled The Children’s Republic. Korczak was a famous Polish pediatrician, children’s author and advocate of children’s rights who was director of several children’s orphanages in Poland after the First World War, when many children were left without anyone to care for them. The play told the powerful story of an extraordinary doctor and the orphanage he ran in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw Poland during WWII. It included students from OSSD and professional artists engaged in a theatre piece combining arts education, art creation and community.
The story was unique because it linked events in Poland during WWII with the immigrant experience in Ottawa. The connection to Ottawa is that prominent local businessman Leon Gluzman, who came to Ottawa in 1929, was one of Korczak’s orphans.
Leon Gluzman was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1914. In 1923, the planned emigration of his family to Canada was cut short by the tragic death of his father, only 30 years old. Mr. Gluzman’s mother was left with no means of support for Leon and his sister Sarah, and secured a place for Mr. Gluzman at the orphans home Dom Sierot, known best as Janusz Korczak’s orphanage.
Dr. Korczak was famous throughout Europe – his ideas concerning the mental and psychical well-being of the child were well ahead of his time. For the next six-and-a-half years, Mr. Gluzman lived in a world run by children – the orphan’s home had its own Parliament, Court of Justice and newspaper. Under the watchful eye of Dr. Korczak, Mr. Gluzman thrived in this wholesome environment. At the age of 14, it came time for him to leave for Canada.
Mr. Gluzman settled and made his home in Ottawa. After mastering the English language, Mr. Gluzman found he had an interest in commerce and began the study of accounting that would become his livelihood. He married Ann Greenberg in 1939 and they have four children Caroline, Arlene, Ingrid and David. He had a successful career as a chartered accountant and was the co-founder of Capital Audits Registered with Joseph Ginsberg (1915-2010) in 1946. The firm was later renamed Ginsberg Gluzman Fage & Levitz. Mr. Gluzman was an avid supporter of arts education projects for children in our community.
The GCTC Board, Staff members and Artists extend our deepest sympathies to his family.