Fonds consists of nursing certificates, Nursing Sister records and one formal portrait in Army uniform.
Freda Lithwick (b. 1919 - d. March 4, 2013) was born in Stouffville, Ontario, the daughter of Rachel and Zelig Swedlove. She had two brothers, Casey and Harold. Zelig Swedlove operated the Swedlove Wicker Factory where items were woven by hand from branches of the willow trees grown on the family farm. He had a knowledge of wicker from his early days in Russia. After Zelig Swedlove’s death in 1929, the family moved to Kemptville where Rachel Swedlove bought the general store from her brother-in-law, Sam Swedlove.
Freda attended Kemptville High School and graduated in 1936. Initially she enrolled in a correspondence course but disliked typing. After looking into medicine, she decided in 1939 on nursing training within a Jewish environment and graduated from Beth Israel Hospital in Boston in 1942. Her nursing training in Boston included a four month session with the Taunton state mental institution; two weeks in each division of the hospital. She obtained her Public Health Certification at the University of Toronto and secured a position with the VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) in Kingston, Ontario. This first professional position was an experience for Freda both in budgeting and finding a place to live in Kingston during wartime.
In March 1944, Freda enlisted in the Canadian Army as a Nursing Sister where she would have a more secure salary. She then came to Ottawa and worked at the Rideau Military Hospital in Alta Vista. Her inclination was to go overseas but because of her mother’s objection she remained in Ottawa.
On June 6, 1945, one day after her discharge from the military, she married Hyman Lithwick. They had three children; Stanley (Clare Belanger), Larry (Denise Bisson) and Elaine (Harris Stein), and four grandchildren.
Freda Lithwick had a leading volunteer role in many Jewish organizations, including Ottawa Hadassah Wizo, B’nai B’rith, National Council of Jewish Women and Agudath Israel Sisterhood where she was fund raiser for the Malca Pass Library. She was also the first Jewish woman to become President of the Civic Hospital Auxiliary.
Other Ottawa Nursing Sisters included Edith Dubinsky and Thea Ginsburg.