What people are saying about “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military, and WWII”:
“Double Threat is an important book. More than 17,000 Jewish Canadians fought in World War II. Many never came home and instead lie in the ground of Canadian war cemeteries across Europe with the Star of David carved into the stone above them. They fought the Nazis with a passion that allowed them to move past the antisemitism they had faced, first at home, and then, too often, right beside them on the battlefield. Bessner’s writing brings this part of our history out of the shadows. All of us owe it to those remarkable men and women to read their stories.”
Peter Mansbridge O.C.
“Like a million of their fellow citizens in World War II, they put life aspirations aside, left family, friends and lovers behind and departed the relative safety of Canadian shores. The difference? Canadian Jews in the armed forces faced antisemitism in the ranks, politicians and commanders who doubted their effectiveness, and feared certain death if captured in Nazi-occupied Europe. In victory, they bore the sting of neglect by their nation’s historians. Until now. In Ellin Bessner, these Canadian-Jewish servicemen and women have found a documentarian who understood their faith and has dug deep, listened long and fought hard to tell their stories.”
Ted Barris, author of The Great Escape: A Canadian Story
“One of the first books to be released by the Toronto-based New Jewish Press may turn out to be one of its most impressive. Double Threat by Ellin Bessner, leaves no stones unturned in its telling of the full-blooded saga of the heroic participation of Jewish men and women in the Canadian military during the Second World War. It’s a worthy topic, and one that, surprisingly, has never been covered in such depth before. For that reason, the book has the feel of a popular Canadian Jewish classic, comparable, say, to None is Too Many (Irving Abella-Harold Troper) or Canada’s Jews: A People’s Journey (Gerald J.J. Tulchinsky).”
Bill Gladstone, Canadian Jewish News.
“This book is an important contribution for several reasons. Here at last is a single authoritative reference. “Double Threat” fully vindicates against any naysayers who doubt or would impugn the accomplishments of that Great Generation of Canadian Jews. Ellin gives a voice to the veterans and more particularly to those who could never return to Canada. Her technique to achieve this is reminiscent of Pierre Berton’s “Vimy”: lead in with some of their background, an anecdote or two, and perhaps even a quotation or words attributed to them. It is only later that we learn if they were amongst the fortunate ones who returned to Canada to complete their lives or if they perished overseas. When we meet yet another personality, the anticipation of learning whether they survived or not is almost palpable.”
Major General Ed S. Fitch, OMM, MSM, CD (Ret’d)
Ellin Bessner is a professor and journalist who has written an interesting book on the history of Canadian Jews who served during World War II: Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military, and World War II . In all over 17,000 Jewish Canadians served, and Bessner provides a good overview as well as personalized stories of those that served.
Best Canadian History Books of the Year: City of Cambridge Queen’s Square Public Library, 2018.
Double Threat fills a gap in the literature related to Canadian Jewish soldiers serving during World War ll. Bessner has written a very readable and engaging story on the challenges and obstacles (not the least of which was antisemitism) confronted by the servicemen and servicewomen at home and in the battlefields. …Double Threat brings to light the heroism and dedication of a highly motivated group of young people that choose to enlist in the fighting to defeat the Nazis. Recommended for all libraries.
Sonia Smith, McGill University Library, Montreal.