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This Singular Life: Episode 2

2022 Victorian Seniors Festival


Curated by Lella Cariddi OAM, "This Singular Life" comprises first person narratives by four senior Victorians whose origins and heritage speak of a different time, in a different place, but who now call Australia home.

Each story amplifies the voice of an immigrant who as a single senior continues to engage with life in a most creative and singular way.

Through this project created especially for the Victorian Senior Festival, these stories and voices can be heard and amplified. Indeed, it is how the stories of individuals who came from somewhere else can be fused into the broader history of Australia as the nation develops and changes, in an increasingly inclusive way.

Episode 2 features Ewa Haire and David Pincus.

Ewa Haire (Wojtacha) is a Victorian mother and grandmother, who was born in a displaced person’s camp in southern Germany, after World War Two. Aged two, in 1950, together with her father, Stefan, a Pole and her mother, Hermine, an Estonian, they made the arduous six-week journey to Australia, in the hull of a cargo ship.

On arrival, this traumatised family who had fled their homelands in the face of war, and in the process lost not only family members, but also friends, was separated, with Ewa and her mother housed in a Nissan hut at the Benalla Women and Children’s migrant camp, while her father was sent to work on Eildon Dam, a long way from his family.

In spite of tenuous beginnings, Ewa attained a: BA ( Monash), Dip Educ ( Monash), B Educ ( LaTrobe), Masters TESOL and Literacy. ( Vic Uni).

David Pincus was 3 years old, in a secular Jewish family, when the virulently anti-Semitic Nazi party took power in Germany in 1933. Recognizing that life for a Jewish family in Germany was untenable and anticipating another major war, David's father sought to emigrate. With multiple visa applications to the U.K. America and Australia, only the last was successful.

Just 8 years upon arrival in November 1938, he spoke no English and had lost a year of schooling. He recommenced his education from scratch, finally to University level. As a qualified architect he's worked in Canada, Switzerland, the U.K and locally. Ultimately, post-graduate qualifications in town planning, led to CSIRO as strategic planner of that organization’s property assets.

Now, almost 92, he maintains an active life, practices his own and teaches art at the local U3A, and he still cycles everywhere.

Reviewed 30 August 2022