Canadian immigration policy was extremely restrictive until 1947 and displaced people who had lost everything in World War II were not given any different status than other economic immigrants. In 1947 Canada amended its immigration policy due to the postwar economic boom, which created a labor shortage including in the Jewish-dominated garment industry.
A tailor “scheme” resulted from garment industry leaders where tailoring firms agreed to hire skilled laborers on one year contracts and the Jewish community organizations chipped in funds to bring the workers to Canada and to house them. Many were not “tailors” they had to qualify to sew a button—it was a way to get people out of the displaced persons camps and for the Canadian garment industry to get the people they needed to produce goods,
The Scheme: The Tailor Project AKA Garment Workers Scheme
In 1948 Max Enkin, a Jewish businessman from Toronto, led a delegation of Canadians to the European displaced persons camps, wanting to find tailors and help Holocaust survivors find a new home and a fresh start in Canada. He became the head of what was called the Tailor Project, formally known as the “garment workers scheme”. It brought 2,000 people, of which1,000 were Jewish displaced people from Europe to Canada to work in the clothing industry. By April 1949 the tailors and their families had arrived in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver and were provided with housing and jobs. This was the first program that permitted large numbers of Jewish adults to immigrate to Canada following the Second World War.
The son of Max Enkin, Larry Enkin, wants to document the history of these immigrant tailors. He wants to locate and contact the children of the tailors who were brought to Canada.
To see a photo gallery and read a CBC.ca article go to: https://tinyurl.com/yc9f6c67
You can help!
To learn more about the project and If your family or friends were part of the Tailor Project you are encouraged to share their stories with the project. Go to their website” https://tailorproject.ca/ and fill out the contact form/ There is a short video on this website.
Impakt Labs, a non-profit organization that conducts social issue research is helping with trying to locate the children of the tailors and with the interviews.
Thanks to Jan Meisels Allen of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County Jewish Genealogical Society for passing on this information.