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

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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Toronto WWII veteran, 95, gets police parade

Canadian WWII veteran Max Dankner spent many nights riding his Norton army motorcycle to carry out reconnaissance through German-occupied Europe. The Montreal-born soldier served in the Italian campaign with the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, and then in Holland delivering vital messages as a dispatch motorcycle rider.

That is why motorcycles played a starring role in an unforgettable surprise which Dankner’s family arranged for his 95th birthday on May 30.

About a dozen Peel Regional Police vehicles, including two motorcycles from the Road Safety unit, and some Peel Regional Paramedic Services trucks assembled Saturday outside the Mississauga home of Dankner’s son. On the driveway, Max and his wife Natalie, had prime seats for the parade.

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How to Find Your Family’s Military Records

You don’t have to be a licensed private investigator to find the military records of your ancestors. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about their service during the Second World War, or the First, it’s never been easier to find their official government service records, at least if your relative served in a Canadian military uniform.

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Ellin speaks about the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII at ‘Spotlight on Speakers’ Series April 30 in Toronto

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.

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Ellin awarded Flames of Memory Medal from the Jewish War Veterans of Canada

Harry Colt, Secretary of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada, Toronto Post, awards Ellin a “Flames of Memory” Medal, for her work documenting and publicizing and honouring the 17,000 Canadians of Jewish faith who served in WWII, defeated Hitler, and rescued the survivors of the Holocaust. Her book, “Double Threat”, received constant support from the veterans in this organization, right from beginning of her research back in 2014. The medal and plaque were issued during an event at the Lodzer Congregation in Toronto, March 4, 2020.

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