Kathleen Brookhouse Schmitz-Hertzberg

Schmitz-Hertzberg—Kathleen Brookhouse Schmitz-Hertzberg, 102, on January 29, 2019, peacefully, in her sleep, in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada. Kathleen was born on February 16, 1916, in Samlesbury, Lancashire, England. Becoming a convinced Friend at 19, she joined Stafford Quaker Meeting (then Stafford Friends Meeting). She attended Woodbrooke College in 1937–38, and then for two years traveled in Germany under the auspices of Friends, attending the German Yearly Meeting session in 1938, visiting German Quakers, and helping Jewish families escape from the Nazis. Her report of these years is published in the Canadian Quaker History Journal.

In Germany, she met Friedrich Schmitz-Hertzberg, a German medical student, and they agreed to marry. Fritz visited England but had to return to Germany, and World War II separated them for ten years. During the war she served on the Quaker Germany Emergency Committee; in the Friends Ambulance Unit during London’s blitz; on the Friends War Victims Relief Committee; and as a social worker in the British Home Office settling refugees in North Wales in 1943–45. After the war she worked again for two years at the British Home Office German Desk, and under Meeting for Sufferings in 1947, attended the German Yearly Meeting session and visited Berlin and Nuremberg. In 1948–49 she worked with German youth in Berlin as part of the Quaker Relief Service for British Friends Service Council.

In May 1949, Fritz returned to Germany after nearly five years as a prisoner of war in Russia. Reuniting, they married under the care of Stafford Meeting, and he finished his medical studies in Germany. Then they immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1951. She worked with Fred Haslam at Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) while Fritz secured his Canadian medical license, after which he was a family physician in Pickering, Ontario.

They joined Toronto (Ontario) Meeting, and she attended Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) sessions in 1953–2009; the 1967 Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) meeting in Greensboro, N.C.; and the 1973 FWCC meeting in Australia. She served as clerk of CFSC during the Vietnam War (see Friends and the Vietnam War edited by Chuck Fager, Pendle Hill, 1998). A delegate to the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches (WCC), she attended the WCC Sixth Assembly in 1983 in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2002, she gave the Sunderland P. Gardiner Lecture at CYM: Doing the Work: Finding the Meaning (Canadian Quaker Pamphlet Series No. 56); and she was active in the local community on the Social Planning Council, the Red Cross, and Community Care.

She cofounded the Canadian Friends Historical Association, and she and Fritz hosted study groups in their home on the theological aspects of Quakerism. They were active in the New Foundations Fellowship with Lewis Benson and organized several seminars at Camp NeeKauNis in Canada. After Fritz’s death in 1993, she translated an account of his time as a prisoner of war called The Night Is Full of Stars. She then worked on her memoirs: From My Demi-Paradise: Memoirs.

She lived until 100 years old in her own home with the help of home care, family, and her friend Jim Adamson, and the last two and a half years in Parkview Long-Term Care Home in Stouffville. She is buried in the Friends Burial Ground in Newmarket, Ontario. A meeting for worship to give thanks for the grace of God in the life of Kathleen Hertzberg was held on April 20, 2019, at Toronto Friends House.

Kathleen is survived by three children, Evelyn Schmitz-Hertzberg, Andreas Schmitz-Hertzberg, and Martin Schmitz-Hertzberg.

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