A couple who found refuge in Canada from the horrors of the Second World War and developed successful careers here as psychiatric researchers have left a $250,000 bequest to the University of Toronto.
The gift from the estate of Andrzej and Karolina Jus will fund an annual lecture in their name at the Joint Centre for Bioethics and will support research by Dr. Philip Seeman and his team into the biochemical and genetic abnormalities of brain diseases such as schizophrenia.
Previous donations from the couple have supported numerous prizes and awards, including the Juliusz, Dorota and Zofia Frist Annual Memorial Prize in Neuropsychopharmacology, established in memory of Karolina’s parents and sister, who were victims of the Holocaust.
Having lived in Poland during the Nazi occupation, Karolina and Andrzej witnessed brutal discrimination on a daily basis. While many Jews were killed during the war, Karolina converted from Judaism to Catholicism and married Andrzej in the Catholic Church. While the war raged on, the couple lived in a small Polish village where Andrzej worked quietly as the town doctor. After the war, the young couple moved to France, then England, before settling in Canada.
Andrzej and Karolina gave generously to U of T during their lifetime – often in honour of Karolina’s parents and sister (the couple didn’t have children). Together, they documented their Holocaust experiences in a book called Our Journey in the Valley of Tears (University of Toronto Press, 1991). Karolina Jus passed away in November 2002; Andrzej died in 1992.