Purim party in Montreal by Canadian Jewish WWII servicemen in 1944

Jewish soldier at Purim
Pvt. Bert Smits, dressed as Miss Toronto, wins “Queen Esther” contest at the Montreal Jewish Servicemen’s Centre, March 1944. Prize awarded by manager of the centre, Mrs. Rosalie Phillips. Photo courtesy of Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives.

Since it is the Jewish holiday of Purim, here’s a war time photo of the festivities held at the Jewish Servicemen’s Centre in Montreal, where a very tall Canadian army private, Bert Smits, from Toronto, dressed up as Miss Toronto, and was crowned “Queen Esther” by the manager of the centre, Mrs. Rosalie (Lazarus) Phillips. The photo comes from the archives of the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives in Montreal. While the centre was run by the Montreal Jewish community, it was open to enlisted men and women from all races and religions. Everyone had to sign the guest book.

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