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Jun. 16, 2019 | Sunday
Local News
Historic life’s work of local humanitarian to be celebrated
Elizabeth Ascher. (Supplied)

A prominent member of Niagara-on-the-Lake society a century ago will be honoured on Sunday, May 26, for her efforts to help young Polish soldiers struck down by the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1918.

A special St. Mark’s Church service and dedication of a memorial stone will celebrate the life and work of Elizabeth Ascher (1869-1941), who, for her tireless efforts, was awarded the Polish Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the highest Polish civilian honour for a foreigner.

The celebration is a collaboration between St. Mark’s Church and the Polonia Canadian Institute for Historical Studies.

“Elizabeth Ascher was extremely important in the early life of our town,” says Donald Combe, historian and member of the St. Mark’s archives committee.

“Not only was she called the Angel of Mercy and Godmother of the Polish soldiers, she was instrumental in establishing the Polish military cemetery for those who died from influenza during their training here.”

Ascher grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Around the turn of the 20th century, she became the correspondent for the St. Catharines Standard, the Buffalo News, the Mail and Empire, and the Niagara Advance, contributing to these newspapers for many years.

She developed interests in many local causes, including: the local library and historical society, the local chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire and she started the local branch of the Red Cross Society.

She was a board member of local Boy Scouts and a founder of the hospital’s auxiliary in 1920.

In 1930, Ascher became a life honorary vice-president of the Polish Army Veterans' Association in America.

She was also a life member of the Polish White Cross and of the 35th Battalion, CEF.

The special service begins at 10:30 a.m. The dedication will take place in St. Mark’s cemetery, followed by a reception in Addison Hall.

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