University mourns loss of Rosenfarb

The University of Lethbridge community offers its most sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Dr. Chava Rosenfarb, a U of L Honorary degree recipient (2006), noted Yiddish author, Holocaust survivor and mother and mother-in-law of Dr. Goldie Morgentaler (English) and Dr. Jonathan Seldin (mathematics and computer science).

The woman known by her family to have the warmest heart and the sharpest mind passed away in Lethbridge on Sunday, Jan. 30 at age 88.

A survivor of the Lodz ghetto, of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, Rosenfarb transmuted her experiences into fiction, specifically into her major novel, The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Lodz Ghetto.

Her novels, Bociany, and, Of Lodz and Love, are also available in English, as is a collection of short stories called, Survivors.

She was the recipient of numerous literary awards, including Israel's Manger Prize and an honorary degree from the University of Lethbridge.

Born in Lodz, Poland in 1923 she married Henry Morgentaler in 1949, shortly before their arrival in Canada. They divorced in 1975. Her second husband was Bono Wiener of Melbourne, Australia.

She is survived by her two children, Dr. Goldie Morgentaler of Lethbridge, Alta., and Abraham Morgentaler of Boston, Mass., as well as by her grandchildren, Maya and Hannah Morgentaler and by her sister Henia Reinhartz of Toronto, Ont., niece Adele Reinhartz and nephew Abraham Reinhartz and their families.

Rosenfarb received an Honorary Degree from the U of L in 2006, delivering one of the institution's most memorable convocation adresses. An excerpt follows.

"My university was the Second World War. My classroom was the Lodz Ghetto, my teachers were my fellow inmates there — and especially the poets, painters and intellectuals of the doomed writers' community, incarcerated between the barbed wire walls of the ghetto, who accepted me at a very early age as a member. So I am a graduate of the Holocaust, of the death camps of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. I have matriculated in one of the greatest tragedies known to man. I have a degree from no other university. At least, not until today."

To view the full address, follow this link. To read the full text of her convocation address, follow this link. To read more about Rosenfarb and her amazing life, visit her website by following this link.

There will be a gathering in Montréal, Que. to remember her on Thursday, Feb. 3, at noon at Paperman's Chapel, 3888 Jean Talon West, Montréal, Québec H3R 2G8.

Condolence messages may be sent to Dr. Morgentaler via e-mail at