Chana Szpilman Wallace - who lived here in Toronto - died recently after a brief illness and just shy of her 107th birthday.
“She rejoiced in every moment of every day,” said niece Helene Shifman.
Chana’s optimism was born decades earlier during some of the darkest days of her life. She survived the Second World War camps after which it took a year to find her husband.
Her son, also a Holocaust survivor, was killed after the war but before they could be reunited. Not long after that her husband died of a heart attack.
“She lost her family in the war, and so she set out to build a family and that grounded her,” said Shifman.
Chana remarried and together with her husband opened two businesses.
She also shared her story of survival in the Steven Spielberg 1998 documentary The Last Days.
“It's a wonder that I live, really. It's a wonder, not just me but everybody who was there, that we live,” she said in the film. “What we went through in our lives, no food, no water, nothing.”
To her great nephews Robbie and Brian Shifman, Chana's remarkable journey, however difficult, remains a daily inspiration
“The difficulties that we all face, which seem important at the time, but when you think about it in a larger picture, are not that important,” Brian said.
Click on the video above to see the Shannon Martin's report.