Virtual Remembrance Day speech to the Probus Club Etobicoke Thursday Nov. 19, 2020

As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and Holocaust Education Week, Canadian author and journalist Ellin Bessner comes to the Probus Club Etobicoke club to say 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 World War a “double threat” for Canadian Jews,  he meant that not only was freedom and democracy at risk but, so was the survival of the Jewish race from Hitler’s Final Solution. Canada’s wartime Jewish community sent over 17, 000 men and women to defeat Hitler and rescue survivors of the Holocaust.

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Remembrance Day event at the Probus Club of Milton, Ontario with Ellin Bessner Nov. 4, 2020

As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and Holocaust Education Week, Canadian author and journalist Ellin Bessner comes to the Probus Club of Milton to say 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 World War a “double threat” for Canadian Jews,  he meant that not only was freedom and democracy at risk but, so was the survival of the Jewish race from Hitler’s Final Solution. Canada’s wartime Jewish community sent over 17, 000 men and women to defeat Hitler and rescue survivors of the Holocaust.

Bessner has spent nine years researching and interviewing the veterans and their families, to piece the untold stories together.  Her message to audiences is that “Remembrance is an active verb” and we must carry the torch of those who fought for our freedom.

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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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New exhibit about Jewish WWII soldiers at Veterans Affairs Canada

Canada’s 17,000 Jewish soldiers who served in WWII are finally getting their due at Veterans Affairs Canada. A new web exhibit two years in the making has gone live on the government website Remembering Those Who Served.

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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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Portrait of a Patriot: Toronto artist’s search for the unknown Jewish veteran comes to a happy end

A Toronto artist’s year-long quest to learn the identity of the gregarious Jewish war veteran whose portrait she’d painted last year, brought her and the canvas to a boardroom at Baycrest Hospital last Sunday. There, at the regular monthly meeting of the Royal Canadian Legion Wingate Branch 256, comprising Jewish Second World War and Korean War veterans, the portrait of Jerry Rosenberg found a permanent home.

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