File1119 The town where my father was born. “Shtetl” is Yiddish for a small town with large Jewish population. Many existed in Central and Eastern Europe dating from the 19th century. Virtually all were destroyed during the Holocaust. Nearly all the people I grew up with was an immigrant, or the child or grandchild of an immigrant. The old people would talk about the town or city of their birth, but never conveyed a description. Somehow, I got the impression it was old, decrepit and crowded, and it was this impression on which I based this painting. While the residents of the shtetl were very poor economically, they had a very rich culture. When they emigrated to Canada and the USA, they organized fraternal societies called landsmanshaftn. In return for a modest membership fee they would provide a doctor, free loans and other social services, long before these were available from government. Equally important they carried on with the culture of the shtetl – such as concern for fellow immigrants and offered important assistance in learning the language and mores of the New World.