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Journalist Ellin Bessner and Women Studies scholar Jennifer Shaw will discuss the significant roles Jewish women played in the Second World War. This neglected history illuminates not only the status of women in Canada but also the challenges Jews faced during this time and how Canadian Jewish identity was shaped by this war-time experience. While Bessner will focus on Jewish women who served in the military, Shaw Lander will explore the stories of women who developed ground-breaking programs at home to support the troops and their families. Both scholars did extensive research at the Ontario Jewish Archives and will highlight these records in their talk. The conversation will be moderated by Caryn Lieberman, Senior Broadcast Journalist with Global News.
Co-presented by the Ontario Jewish Archives, the Virtual J, and the National Council of Jewish Women, Toronto.Find out more »
Hidden Heroes: Canadian Jewish Airmen in the Battle of Britain.
For the 80th anniversary of the August 1940 Luftwaffe attacks on Adler Day (Eagle Day), join journalist Ellin Bessner via ZOOM on Friday August 14, 2020. Bessner speaks to the Royal Air Force Museum and RAF Association. She brings you the untold story of the Jewish Canadians who were among “The Few”: the brave RAF pilots who fended off those deadly bombing raids during the Battle of Britain.
Bessner is the author of “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII”, published by the University of Toronto Press.
Her lively presentation will highlight these Jewish volunteers in the RAF (and also the RCAF) who served at great personal risk, should they be captured and their faith be discovered by the Nazis. They came to England for King and Country, and also to save their own people from Hitler’s Final Solution.
You will learn about Canada’s top Spitfire Ace, F/L William Henry Nelson, DFC. Ellin will show you why his name is on both the Battle of Britain Memorial in London, and at Capel-le-Ferne. Stay tuned for a surprise special guest.Find out more »
Ellin brings the story of the end of WWII and the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland to the Cambridge Probus Club
For the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, author and journalist Ellin Bessner brings the story of Canada's 17,000 Canadian Jewish fighters who helped win the Second World War, defeat Hitler, and rescue the survivors of the Holocaust. They faced a "double threat" because of their religion, not only should they be captured by the Nazis, but also because of the widespread anti-Semitism they encountered at home in Canada, in the barracks and on the battlefield. Some 450 Canadian…Find out more »
For the 75th anniversary of the End of WWII: Guelph’s contribution. Ellin speaks to the Royal City Men’s Club
When the Canadian troops began cleaning out the remnants of Nazi Germany's occupation forces across Holland in the spring and summer of 1945, they were met with joyous welcomes 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 concentration camps and Nazi death camps from the defeated German guards. Journalist and author Ellin Bessner's book…Find out more »
As the world marks Remembrance Day under COVID-19, author and journalist Ellin Bessner brings her book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII” to the National Council of Jewish Women Orah Branch in Toronto. Bessner’s book, published by the University of Toronto Press, 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. As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the end of…Find out more »
Ellin speaks to the Richmond Hill Speakers Series Nov. 4, 2021 at the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre
As the world commemorates the 76th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and Holocaust Education Week, Canadian author and journalist Ellin Bessner says we still have work to do to fight the rise of antisemitism in our time. Bessner is the author of “Double Threat”, published by the University of Toronto Press, about the contribution of Canada’s tiny wartime Jewish community to defeating the Nazis. When the prime minister of the day, Mackenzie King, called the Second…Find out more »