Kathleen Schmitz-Hertzberg (nee Brookhouse) was born on Fourth Day, the sixteenth of Second Month in 1916. Her birth commenced a life of almost 103 years and one which made a difference in the lives of countless people who knew Kathleen or benefitted from one or more of the many aspects of the energy she devoted to Quaker service and concerns.

Kathleen has been a member of Toronto Monthly meeting for many years. The following is summarized from information and excerpts taken from the announcement of her passing:

Kathleen became a convinced Friend at nineteen and joined Stafford Friends Meeting (now Stafford Quaker Meeting). She attended Woodbrooke College for two terms 1937-8. Kathleen travelled in Germany 1938-39 under the auspices of Friends. She attended Germany Yearly Meeting 1938 and visited German Quakers. She helped Jewish families escape from the Nazi regime. While in Germany she met a German medical student, Friedrich Schmitz-Hertzberg in Kassel. They became engaged to be married in 1939 and Fritz visited England. He had to return to Germany and WWII separated the two for ten years. Kathleen’s report of her time in Germany for Woodbrooke College has been printed in the Canadian Quaker History Journal: https://www.cfha.info/journal74ToC.pdf

During the war Kathleen worked on the Quaker Germany Emergency Committee, in the Friends Ambulance Unit during the blitz of London, the Quaker Friends War Victims Relief Committee finding homes for London evacuees, and through the British Home Office working as a social worker settling refugees, mainly German Jews in North Wales 1943 – 45. After the War she worked again at the Germany Desk in London 1945-47 with Fred Tritton and Richard Ullmann.

In May 1949 Fritz returned to Germany after nearly five years as a POW in Russia. The couple were reunited and married under the care of Stafford Friends’ Meeting. Fritz finished his medical studies in Germany. Their first child, Evelyn was born in 1950 in Kassel, Germany. The small family immigrated to Toronto, Canada in December 1951. Kathleen was offered a position working with Fred Haslam at Canadian Friends Service Committee, CFSC while Fritz got his Canadian medical qualifications. Fritz took up a position in Pickering, Ontario as a family physician. They had two more children, Andreas and Martin. They became active members of Toronto Monthly Meeting (TMM) and Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM).

In the years following her migration Kathleen became familiar with the various elements of Quaker legacy passed down from the Orthodox, Hicksite and Conservative Yearly meetings which then existed in Canada. A particular concern that this legacy be preserved and appreciated arose in Kathleen when she learned of plans for the sale and dismantling of the historic Uxbridge Quaker meetinghouse. This event spurred Kathleen and fellow Toronto Monthly Meeting member Grace Pincoe to coalesce their concern and those of other like-minded Quakers and non-Quakers into the Canadian Friends Historical Association. Informal meetings were held, and in 1972 the first newsletter was circulated to a small but enthusiastic membership.

Kathleen devoted great effort to the early years of CFHA serving as Chair, publishing The Newsletter, writing and contributing articles during its first decades of activity.  The effort to preserve the Uxbridge Quaker meetinghouse initiated by Kathleen was successful. Kathleen fostered awareness of the precarious state of many other aspects of Canadian Quaker heritage. Thanks to Kathleen’s efforts and those she inspired, greater awareness and appreciation of this legacy has been achieved. CFHA has carried forward her vision and objectives. Its work stands as a tribute and testimony to her full and longstanding dedication. We remember Kathleen with gratitude.

Categories: Meetinghouse


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