Ellin speaks at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Saturday May 9, 2020 about V-E Day in WWII

As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two, author and journalist Ellin Bessner brings her new book “Double Threat” to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton. As Hamilton and indeed, the world marked the end of the fighting, hundreds of Canadian airmen and soldiers were still hard at work overseas with a new humanitarian mission: rescuing the survivors of the Holocaust,  including in Germany at the site of the notorious Nazi death camp Bergen-Belsen.

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How a Canadian jeweller oversaw the Nazi WWll surrender in May 1945

The coronavirus has forced the cancellation or limitation of most of the world’s highly-anticipated ceremonies to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. For my part, all of my scheduled lectures and public events here in Canada this spring have been postponed or called off entirely, due to the pandemic. However, the milestones of the liberation of Holland and #V-EDay75 are far too important to ignore. That is why I want to pay tribute, virtually, to the vital contribution of Canada’s 17,000 Jewish fighting military personnel to winning the war against Hitler, and rescuing the survivors of the Holocaust.

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Ellin speaks to Rose Reisman’s monthly lecture series ‘Rosebuds’ in Toronto, on Monday Nov. 18, 2019

Although the Second World War was a man’s war, and 17,000 Canadian Jewish men served, a tiny but important group of 270 Canadian Jewish women dared to overcome their family and community’s disapproval, the lower pay, and sexual harassment, and joined the Canadian forces after 1941. That is when the government allowed women to enlist. They served in many jobs at home, and behind the front lines, overseas.

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One of last remaining Canadian Jewish women WWll army veterans has died

Esther Thorley’s brother Meyer Bubis, who was eleven years older than her, had enlisted in the Toronto-based Royal Regiment of Canada on Sept. 7, 1939, mere days after Hitler’s Nazi forces had invaded Poland to start WWll.  Bubis would eventually be part of the ill-fated Allied raid on Dieppe, France in August 1942. After he was killed, Thorley waited for her eighteenth birthday in June 1943, and enlisted. She was one of only 270 Canadian Jewish women to wear a uniform for Canada in WWll. Thorley, an Ajax, Ontario resident, died suddenly on Feb. 13, 2018.

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