With the death of Elizabeth Mittler on March 12, the Heliconian Club has lost another of its Honorary Life Members and a staunch supporter of the Club for many years. A member of the Music Section, Elizabeth was a violinist who took part in many Heliconian musical groups as well as helping with memorable Christmas dinners. Doreen Hall recalls Elizabeth helping cook turkeys in the years when the Club didn’t rely on caterers. Elizabeth played professionally with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Current Heliconians know Elizabeth best as the author of The Krupp Secret, a moving memoir of her departure from her native Holland in May, 1940, her sojourn in France and her escape to Spain just steps ahead of the Nazi invasion of both countries. She and her fiancé, Nicholas Mittler (who survives her) were married in France, subsequently fled to Spain and eventually made their way to Canada. While enduring the many hardships of life in wartime France, the book makes it clear that Elizabeth never lost her indomitable spirit and her love of humanity, art and the natural world.