Mariette Barszczewicz aged 109.
|Birth:||8 January 1909|
Ensival (Liege Region), Belgium
|Death:||4 April 2020|
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
|Age:||111 years, 87 days|
Mariette Barszczewicz was born as Mariette Henriette Speder in Belgium on 8 January 1909. She married Jan Barszczewicz on 16 June 1932, in her hometown in Belgium, and they later moved to Warsaw, the capital of Poland. In 1939, the Second World War had begun, and her husband had to leave on duty. Amongst the chaos, Maria fled to the Belgium Consulate, where she took refuge, though she recalls having to sleep on the floor because of the number of people there.
In Belgium, she worked for a charitable organization that helped reunite families who had become displaced by the war. She realized the war had followed her to Belgium in May 1940, however, when the bombing started. Forced to flee again, she and her two step-sisters headed for France. After travelling countless kilometers on foot, as well as numerous trips on trains and military vehicles, the girls finally made it to Paris. The Barszczewicz couple later worked for the Red Cross during the Second World War before immigrating to Canada in 1952. The couple had no children.
She learned Polish through her husband, and nearly 70 years later, she still spoke the language at the time of her death. Barszczewicz was also fluent in French and English.
When Barszczewicz was 100 years old, she served as a voluntary bookkeeper for a former Oshawa cardiac rehabilitation organization. When asked what her secret is to living a long and happy life, Barszczewicz said: “It is to be honest … always honest, even if it [is] something difficult.”
Barszczewicz died at the Chartwell Wynfield Retirement Residence in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada on 4 April 2020 at the age of 111 years, 87 days.