Rosa Hartig Obituary Trinity Home Kitchener

Marton Family History

Mary and Steve Marton

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By John Marton
[John Hartig's cousin] February 23, 2012
About: Aunt Mary and Bischta Bachi [Uncle Steve]

Hi Cousin John:
Your Aunt Mary and Uncle Steve [i.e. my partents] met in Austria in a place he called Lager Wegscheid. My mother worked in a factory and my dad worked at the railroad. Both Theresa and I were born in Linz in the hospital. We came over in 1956 on the ship called Seven Seas. Theresa was 1 year old and I was 3 years old. We landed in Halifax. We stayed with your mom and dad when they lived on the outskirts of Kitchener where the Trinity Nursing Home now is [where Renate and your mom stayed]. Your dad, Mike, got my dad a job at a wrecking yard bySchneider'son Courtland Ave.

Later dad started work at the Bauer felt factory on King st in Waterloo Then went to Philp Geis, a foundry on Water St. in Kitchener. It changed its name to Canada Valve before the foundry closed. But I believe that Canada Valve is still going. They made valves and hydrants . After being laid off, dad worked at Dare's Cookies before retiring. My mother worked for Kaufman footware and then went to McBrine Luggage on Water st. across the road from the foundry . She left Kaufman because of the glue from making boots was not healthy for her. After McBrine she retired from work.

As for myself, I'm still working for the water dept and hope to retire soon. I've been working for the Region of Waterloo for 26 years. I started out apprenticing as a plumber, then working for St Marys Hospital in the Maintenance dept and then the Region. I also worked for Boehmer Block and Tender Fresh. Through the years, I performed fill-in jobs and was always motivated to look for better positions with better pay. My wife, Mary, worked for K-W Hospital as adietitian aidand nowdoes semi-retired work at a nursing home in Tavistock, a town to which we moved for our retirement.

I have been an active Lions member and president for the Kitchener Lions Club for two years running. One of our many functions and fundraising events is Oktoberfest. I am also the president of the Tavistock Royals Hockey Club and I do the game reports for the Tavistock Gazette. You can check the stories I believe if you go to the web site for the Tavistock Royals.

We also do a lot of camping. We purchased a trailer recently. But prior to the purchase we camped with ourmotorcycle.We have put a lot of miles on the bike traveling down to Florida and traveling around the Great Lakes. We have two children Jackie and John Jr., two grand children, Tyler and Kaitlin Marton. I guess your Bischta Bachi would be a great grandfather now! These little ones are who Mary and I focus on.

There are a lot of memories I have about my parents, your Uncle Steve and Aunt Mary. One event was when we traveled back to Hungary in1968: My dad and I were walking in the country, taking in the scenery when we came across real gypsies. Travelingthrough the country and seeing some of my heritage was incredible!

In his early years, my dad was really absorbed with his Hungarian Culture. Both Theresa and I would go all the time to the Hungarian Club in Breslau on Kossuth Rd and perform for the Hungarians in dance and I would play Hungarian music on myaccordion.

As my dad got older, he lost a lot of the lust for being Hungarian andrealizes we are all just people with the same wants and feeling in life. He was born in November 1925 which makes him 87, at this point with hopefully more years to come.

Life was hard for both my parents coming to this country, especially because of the language barrier and I'm sure, theridicule they enduredfrustrated them. They both worked hard and they wanted us to do better and not have to go what they went through. My mother ran the house and was the mediator between dad and us kids when we got in trouble.

I have seen a lot of ridicule in my younger days because of being an immigrant. I struggled with school in my early years. Cultures were so different and I had to adapt. Some times you have to go through hardship to appreciate what you have. I believe it builds character. I know that my wife, who came to this country when she was 16, has gone through a lot of hard times because of her culture. You would think, after all these years ,and what mankind has gone through, we would treat each other with more kindness.
Cousin John Marton

By John Hartig
Reply: Re. Marton Family History
February 23, 2012

Cousin John:
You told me some valuable things about your parents that I didn't know. I've always thought my Marie Tante [Aunt Mary] was a gentle and kind person. I've always liked Bischta Bachi because of his zest for life. He still calls me "Hans" like he did in Austria. I don't know if he still grows his hot peppers out in the backyard here in Canada but when I was a kid, I remember him getting me to try some on a piece of bread. Maybe that was an initiation to make me an honorary Hungarian! Whew, those peppers were hot!

I dug up some historical facts about the ships that brought you and your parents and also my folks to Canada. I was surprised that the Seven Seas had a first class section back in the day in the 1950s; so there must have been a separate part of the boat for new immigrants. I wonder if immigrants were restricted from using other sections of the boat where the first class people were? Anyway, my research showed that the Seven Seas was owned by the Europe-Canada Line back in 1956. It was scrapped in Belgium in 1977.

Our SS Neptunia had a similar history, owned by a Greek line back in 1954 when the Hartigs came over to Canada from Bremerhafen. It later sunk and was salvaged off the coast of Ireland in 1957. The SS Neptunia was finally scrapped in 1958.

Canada introduced a program for immigrants in 1951 for loans for "assisted passage" which had to be repaid within a 2 year period. I'm not sure if that was strictly enforced because dad Hartig told me that it took him 5 years to repay. Otherwise, I don't know how we would have made it to Canada. It's interesting to note that between 1951-1958, there were approximately 111,000 immigrants who took advantage of this program. In those days, limited numbers of Asians and East Indian nationalities were accepted into Canada. The Minister of Immigration and his officials had wide ranging powers and could even overturn decisions by the Appeals Board. Sponsorship seemed to be a great tool for family members already in Canada for circumventing a lot of the immigration laws that Canada had in the 1950s. The history page quoted these conditions [which could be broadly interpreted by the Minister]:

"The most important part of the Act, Section 61, enabled the Governor in Council to prohibit, or admit, immigrants on the basis of nationality, including ethnic background and geographical area of origin; peculiar customs including habits, modes of life, or unusual means of holding property; climatic, educational, economic or industrial suitability; and the probable likelihood of becoming rapidly assimilated in Canadian society. This Act was particularly important because it provided broad, and widely interpretive, powers for the Minister of Immigration and his officials. This act maintained the premise that admission to Canada was a privilege rather than a right, and that Canadian manpower needs should dictate the acceptance of immigrants."

So if you had family members already established in Canada with jobs, they could sponsor you to Canada and so get around a lot of screening. Oma and Opa Hartig sponsored us and we sponsored your parents, Aunt Mary and Uncle Steve. There you go! That's how we got to Canada! Austria and Hungary are doing a lot better now as stable countries with good economies during the 2000s but we would have waited a long time to benefit from that had we stayed in Austria during the 1950s - some 60 years ago - because things weren't good in Europe back then! Thank goodness for the sponsorship system and thank goodness for the SS Neptunia and for the Seven Seas!
-- Cousin John Hartig

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