Vancouver thrift store seeks owner of donated Second World War memorabilia
Published Sunday, May 9, 2021 8:03PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, May 11, 2021 10:18AM PDT
May 11 update: The Union Gospel Mission has made contact with the family, and says they are thrilled to get the items back.
VANCOUVER -- A thrift store in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has received a historical and very valuable donation that dates back to the Second World War.
"It's actually really amazing," said Jeremy Hunka, spokesperson for the Union Gospel Mission. "I mean, we get a lot of things donated to our thrift store. Sometimes it's older, sometimes it's newer, but we don't usually get anything quite like this."
The collection of personal effects, including documents and a suitcase, dates to the mid-1940s, and includes correspondence between people who were deployed at the time.
"We even have a cable announcing VE Day, 76 years ago, victory in Europe," Hunka said. "That's just something that we'd never expect that we'd get here."
He described the collection as "incredibly valuable," potentially for sentimental reasons, if not monetary ones.
"It might have been donated by mistake," Hunka said. "We just want to let people know that this was donated to us. We flagged it immediately. We set it aside. We tried to do some internet sleuthing to determine who this family is and if they do, indeed, want some of these personal effects, because there's some treasures here."
He said the donation came in sometime in January, along with a large number of items that came from a moving company.
Initially, UGM volunteers thought it might be a movie prop, but after reading the correspondence inside, they determined that it was real.
If it can't find the owners of the collection, UGM plans to donate the items to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.