Oskar Schickler was born on September 1911 in Czernowitz in what was then Austria-Hungary. After completing his education in medicine in Hamburg in 1936, he returned to work at the Jewish Hospital of Czernowitz until the outbreak of World War II. A Holocaust survivor, he moved to Salzburg in 1946 where, as a medical consultant for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), he helped hundreds of Jewish families emigrate, mostly to Canada. He himself immigrated to Montreal in 1951 where he established his medical practice. He also worked at the Veterans Hospital until 1979, as well as at the JGH Herzl Family Practice Centre.
He and his late wife, Sally, shared a lifelong commitment to the well-being and health of the community and were keen on encouraging and supporting quality healthcare for all. The JGH was their hospital of choice and they unfailingly supported it by making regular donations and becoming Silver members of the JGH Foundation Governors' Circle. “They greatly appreciated the care they received at the JGH over the years," says Marcel Korner, who acted as executor of Dr. Schickler's estate upon his death in 2007, at age 96. “They were especially impressed by the warmth and compassion of the hospital's staff, most notably neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Minuk, urologist Dr. Stephen Jacobson and geriatric physicians Drs. Ruby Friedman and Paul Heilpern. Well before Sally passed away in 1999, they had taken steps to provide for a generous bequest to the JGH Foundation, as well as to a number of other organizations that were meaningful to them."
In keeping with their wishes, their gift to the JGH was placed in the Hospital Endowment Fund so that it would generate benefits for as many people as possible, in perpetuity. Each year the interest from this fund is used to fund the hospital's priorities. “To date, the bequest from the estate of the late Dr. Oskar Schickler has helped the Lady Davis Institute, the research arm of the JGH, to support the research of outstanding clinicians and researchers—research which, in turn, provides our dedicated clinical staff with the tools and knowledge to deliver the most advanced care to our patients," says Larry Sidel, JGH Foundation Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. “Oskar Schickler has created a truly significant and lasting legacy that will forever inspire and support our doctors, researchers and, indeed, our entire staff in their efforts to provide excellence in patient care, research and teaching. We are deeply honoured to be the recipient of this everlasting gift."