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Ellin speaks about the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII at ‘Spotlight on Speakers’ Series April 30 in Toronto
April 30 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
As the world prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, Toronto author and journalist Ellin Bessner takes us back in time to the days when Canadian troops began cleaning out the remnants of Nazi Germany’s occupation forces across Europe. During the spring of 1945, the troops were met with a joyous welcome by the Dutch people, who had endured starvation and brutality under Hitler’s forces. But the Canadians also came face to face with the truth about the fate of Europe’s Jewish community, as they liberated Nazi concentration camps like Vught and Westerbork, and also, the notorious Bergen-Belsen.
Bessner’s new book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII” tells the story of the 17,000 Canadians of Jewish faith who served in WWII, helped defeat Hitler, and rescued the survivors of the Holocaust. Jewish Canadians served in all the major battles from Dunkirk to D-Day and beyond. Hundreds were wounded or captured as POWs, nearly 200 won bravery medals, and about 450 didn’t come home. Ellin will speak about some of the more famous Canadians who volunteered including comedians, hockey stars, politicians and rabbis. You’ll also hear about how Jewish military personnel experienced antisemitism, at home, and on the battlefield, even as they tried to stay true to their Jewish faith. Books will be available for sale and signing at the event.