Mark Drutz

Mark Drutz sitting on a bench in Allan Gardens

Born in 1951, Mark Drutz is the youngest son of Harold “Hy” Drutz and Evelyn Drutz (née Quitt). Mark first donated material to the Ontario Jewish Archives back in April 2012. His first donation consisted of 281 photographs of the Quitt and Drutz families and included snapshots of various life events, such as births, marriages, and family vacations, as well as his father’s military service. (Hy served in the Canadian Medical Corps during the Second World War.) More material was to come, and it, too, primarily documented the Quitt and Drutz families.

Beginning in the 2020s, Mark started to donate materials documenting his own life, including his involvement with Ha Mishpacha, one of Toronto’s earliest gay-Jewish groups (Mark was a co-founder). Coincidentally, the OJA had begun to reach out to members of the LGBTQ+ community a few years back, so it was a thrill to acquire documentation of Ha Mishpacha.

Mark’s donations filled in another gap in that the OJA’s previous LGBTQ+ acquisitions had documented organizations rather than individuals or families. For this reason, the OJA was delighted to see that Mark had donated photos of himself with his husband, Jonathan. On a more sombre note, Mark also donated photos of his older brother, Paul, who passed away from AIDS in 1994. These photos, taken during Paul’s battle with the disease, serve as an important reminder of the devastation the AIDS epidemic unleashed beginning in the early 1980s.

Mark is passionate about animal welfare, and his donations include evidence of his support for societies to prevent cruelty to animals. There are also photos of various furry family members, including the superbly named Virginia Woof! The OJA is grateful to Mark for his multiple donations.

Archivist Notes

The OJA is always looking to fill gaps in its holdings. One of those gaps—mentioned above—is LGBTQ+ families. As a community archives, families are at the heart of what we do. What’s more, we know that Jewish families come in all shapes and sizes—the Bible itself, for instance, is full of non-traditional families! This is even more true today, as we consider same-sex relationships, polyamorous relationships, and interfaith relationships, to provide only a few examples of the diversity we observe in today’s Jewish communities. Unfortunately, the fact these families are seldom documented means there is a risk they will be omitted from the historical record, which in turn creates an inaccurate impression of what the past was like. For this reason, whether one adopts a social-justice mindset or an archival one, there is good reason for ensuring that a wide range of families are represented in the historical record!

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