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May 2020

Ellin speaks at St. James Church in Orillia, Ontario, May 24, 2020 about the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe

May 24 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
St James Anglican Church, 58 Peter Street North
Orillia, Ontario L3V 6J6 Canada

Postponed. "He wanted to take them all: How Canadian soldiers in WWII Rescued the Survivors of the Holocaust" As Canada, and indeed the world, marked the Liberation of Holland and V-E Day in the spring of 1945, thousands of Canadian military personnel were still hard at work overseas, but some, in particular those of Jewish faith, had a new, humanitarian mission: rescuing the survivors of the Hitler's Final Solution. From helping to restore Jewish places of worship in freed Dutch…

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June 2020

‘He wanted to save them all’: How Canadian soldiers liberated Europe + met the Holocaust Liberation75

June 1
Metro Toronto Convention Centre

For Liberation75, Ellin will share stories of how Canada's fighting men in uniform acted with great compassion on their sacred mission as liberators of Europe, and their efforts in the face of the horrors of the Final Solution. With the participation of Bob Delson, son of an RCAF photographer at Bergen-Belsen, and the children of Jack Marcovitch, and others.

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Ellin speaks to the Naamat Toronto group on June 4, 2020

June 4 @ 7:30 pm EDT
Borochov Centre, 272 Codsell Avenue
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Postponed. Na'amat is a charitable organization that supports Women and Children primarily in Israel and Canada. We provide day cares, women's shelters, legal aid, scholarships, and much more. Click here for Naamat Toronto profile.

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Ellin speaks in Aurora June 24 about the Liberation of Holland in WWII and the Canadian Jewish fighters who were there

June 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Aurora Historical Society, 15372 Yonge Street
Aurora, Ontario L4G1N8 Canada
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POSTPONED 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…

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July 2020

The RCAF’s secret weapon in WWII: 6,000 Jewish personnel. Ellin @ the Air Crew Association July 18, 2020

July 18 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT
Via Zoom contact Ellin for the link Toronto, Ont. Canada + Google Map

As the world marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in WWII, author and journalist Ellin Bessner visits the Air Crew Association of Ontario meeting in Toronto, via ZOOM, to share a little known story about how the Allies won the air war.Among the Canadians who volunteered, were 6,000 Jewish personnel who served in the RCAF and RAF. They served at great personal risk, should they be captured, and their faith be discovered by the Nazis. Yet they volunteered, for King and Country, and to save their own people from Hitler's Final Solution. They served despite facing widespread antisemitism at home, from the government of Mackenzie King, and in the very military they signed up to serve.

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August 2020

How Canada’s Jewish women helped win the Second World War, at home and at the front

August 6 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Virtual JCC

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.

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Hidden Heroes: Canadian Jewish airmen who saved England in the Battle of Britain. August 14 lecture

August 14 @ 6:00 am - 7:00 am EDT
Royal Air Force Museum, London

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.

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September 2020

Hidden Heroines: How Canada’s Jewish Women Helped Win WWII

September 3 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Dorshei Emet Synagogue, 18 Cleve Road
Hampstead, Quebec H3X1A6 Canada
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Join author and journalist Ellin Bessner for a talk on The Untold Story of Jewish Women in the Second World War. She will take a fascinating look at the Jewish heroines, at home and at the front, who helped Canada win WWII, and whose contributions to history have never been recognized. Meet Cpl. Daisy Lazare, Sgt. Miriam Freedman, S/O Rose Goodman and Pvt. Esther (Bubis) Thorley, as well as the legions of Jewish women volunteers who raised funds, packed boxes, made sandwiches and even built the bombs.

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Ellin speaks to the Jewish Geneological Society of Toronto Sept. 23, 2020 about how to find Canadian war service records

September 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Shaarei Shomaim Synagogue, Toronto, 470 Glencairn Ave
Toronto, Ontario Canada
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Ellin speaks to the Toronto Rotary Club Sept. 25, 2020

September 25 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT

Our speaker at our September 25, 2020 meeting will be Ellin Bessner, author and professor at Centennial College in Toronto.  Her recent book is "Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WW II” (2019), published by the University of Toronto Press.   In her lively, interactive talk, you will learn how 17,000 Canadians of Jewish faith put on a uniform during the Second World War, helped defeat Hitler, and rescued the survivors of the Holocaust. They did so despite facing antisemitism at home,…

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