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We were surprised and delighted to receive the donation of a chess set, carved by Oscar while he was interned in Sherbrooke Camp in 1940. Below is the text of the email the current owner sent to Michael:
"My father, who was a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and also a great chess player, died in December 2013. Amongst his possessions was a hand carved chess set which was carved, I believe, in 1940 by your father while in detention in [Ontario.] It has a cloth marked out as a board and is in an old Chocolate Box with a hand written note on the front attributing the work to Oskar*. I wondered if you would be interested in having the set returned to your family. I and my brother and sister are keen to find a good home for this beautiful set.”
*Handwritten text on the chocolate box: "Cut from scrap wood in Camp L near Sherbrook, Ontario, internment in 1940 by Oskar Cahén". Note: The camp was in fact situated in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
The last three images in the gallery show a second chess set also carved while Oscar Cahén was interned in Sherbrooke, which was part of an exhibition at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre on view until June 2013 entitled Enemy Aliens: The Internment of Jewish Refugees in Canada, 1940-1943".
Photography by Beverley Lawes