Fonds RA022 - Dr. Leon Komar collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Dr. Leon Komar collection

General material designation

  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of collection.

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Dates of creation area


  • 1990-1996 (Creation)
    Komar, Leon
  • 1938-1942 (Creation)
    Komar, Leon

Physical description area

Physical description

5 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Leon Komar was born on January 30, 1915 in Warsaw. His parents, Moses and Sara Komar, temporarily relocated the family to Moscow when he was six months old. Komar's father died of typhus in Russia; his mother had a small factory, and imported and resold loofas and other items. Komar's aunt helped to care for Leon and his younger brother, Iza. Komar returned to Warsaw at the end of 1935. An uncle helped pay for his travel to and education in London, and in 1938, he went to Glasgow, Scotland to study medicine. In 1939, when the Second World War broke out, the Jewish community in Glasgow helped finance the completion of his degree. During this time, Komar corresponded with his family, who were living in the Warsaw Ghetto, through an uncle in the neutral city of Tangiers. Komar graduated as a doctor in July, 1944. After the war, Komar searched for his family and learned that his aunt was deported to Treblinka; his mother and brother briefly found jobs in KG Schultz's factories, working for the German army. All perished.
While in the UK, working in a hospital, Komar met and married his wife, Liselott (née Frey), a German-born Jew. Komar immigrated to Canada shortly after their marriage, in 1947; he first settled in Edmonton. His wife followed, three months later. The couple moved to Fort St. John after Komar found work as a civilian medical practitioner on an air force base, then briefly lived in Hazelton, Kemano and Philadelphia before moving to Vancouver, where Komar had a private medical practice for over forty years. Leon and Liselott Komar had two children: David and Elizabeth, and two grand-children.

In 1955, Komar visited the Lohame HaGeta'ot ghetto and briefly worked for health services of Israel. He met Noemi Judkowski; the two would correspond throughout their lives. Upon his retirement he earned a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Arts and Religious Studies. Liselott Komar passed away in 1991. In 1990, Komar translated and published Judkowski's memoirs, entitled A Requim for Two Families. In 1995, Komar self-published his own memoirs, and published Letters from the Warsaw Ghetto: 1938 to 1942, in 1996.

Custodial history

Records were in the custody of Leon Komar prior to their donation to the VHEC in two accruals, in 1993 and 1996.

Scope and content

Collection consists of materials relating to Warsaw, Poland, in the Second World War era. Records include correspondence from Komar's family living in the Warsaw ghetto, documents showing a German leaflet dropped on Warsaw in 1938 and accompanying translations and commentary by the donor. Collection has been arranged into two series: German leaflet dropped from planes ([1939?], 1990) and Letters from the Warsaw ghetto (1938-1942; 1996).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Records were arranged by the archivist based on cataloguing by the VHEC done upon donation of the materials.

Language of material

  • English
  • German
  • Polish

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    Associated materials

    Collection related to Leon Komar and the Frey family at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David Komar

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    No further accruals are expected.

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    Collection arranged in November, 2017 by Shyla Seller

    Language of description

    • English

    Script of description

      Accession area