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Leon Gerstenzang was a journalist and manufacturer. He was born in 1913 in Warsaw, Poland to Anczel (Edward) Gerstenzang, a dental surgeon, and Sara née Krinkevich. As an infant he was evacuated to Irkuta, Siberia, by his mother upon the outbreak of the First World War. Upon the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, he was taken by his mother to Harbin, China. His father had been imprisoned in Warsaw, and joined the family in Tientsin (now Tianjin), China in 1920.
Gerstenzang entered British Tientsin Grammar School in 1921 and graduated in 1929 with a Cambridge School Certificate. In 1930, he joined the British daily newspaper, Peking & Tientsin Times as proof-reader and cub reporter. In 1932 he left the for the United States. as a student and entered Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York city. He was accepted by New York University’s School of Journalism. Owing to the Depression of 1932 he could not maintain student status and finish college. He returned to Tientsin in late 1932 and rejoined the editorial staff of the newspaper, where he established a Sunday edition of the Peking & Tientsin Times. He married Rachel Lili Tunik in 1938. In 1939 he joined Reuters Ltd. in Tientsin as News Editor and Correspondent.
From the end of 1935 to the end of 1941, Gerstenzang served as a senior Lance Corporal in the British Municipal Emergency Corps during the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. Together with other Reuters staff, he was imprisoned by the Japanese during the occupation of Tientsin, for 100 days. At the close of the war, he resumed work as Manager for Reuters in 1945 until the Chinese Communists entered the city in January 1949 and banned foreign correspondents’ operation of news agencies which resulted in the Reuters office being closed. In mid-1949, Gerstenzang moved to Hong Kong and resided at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. He left Hong Kong in late 1950 for Sydney, N.S.W., upon receiving Australian immigration, where he covered under his own name for Reuters and Australian Associated Press.
In 1952, Leon and Lili Gerstenzang travelled to Toronto, Canada, and received their Landed Immigration status in 1953. They continued to live in Toronto until their deaths.
Gerstenzang worked in various manufacturing businesses and Real Estate in Canada after 1953. He joined the Ripley Manufacturing Co., Toronto, and subsequently became the President of the Canadian branch of the Q-Tip Corporation.
He died in Toronto in 2005.
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2023-09-26, R. Barrett