Veterans and COVID-19 vaccines

If Jack Tweyman had been a resident of Toronto’s Sunnybrook Veterans hospital, the Toronto veteran of the Second World War would have likely been vaccinated against COVID-19 months ago. But Tweyman, 101, is still well enough to live independently in the same North York apartment he shared with his late wife. During the pandemic, the retired taxi driver has been relying on family and a caregiver to survive isolation safely.

After the slow rollout of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination system, a relieved Tweyman received his first dose of the vaccine on Saturday morning.

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Help me find the family of Paul A. Sklut: Vancouver Jewish soldier killed in 1944 in Belgium.

A Belgian tour guide and historian, Niko Van Kerckhoven, wrote to me recently.Van Kerckhoven, 50, and his teenaged son, regularly visit the graves of the Canadian soldiers who were killed liberating his town, called Wommelgem, during the Battle of the Scheldt.
This was the Canadian campaign in the area surrounding the crucial port of Antwerp in the fall of 1944. It cost over 6,000 Canadian casualties to take it, including that of Jewish volunteer Pte. Paul Sklut.
Von Kerckhoven has found photos of nearly all of the Canadian “boys” whose graves he visits, but not Sklut’s. As he writes to me, “I’m quite desperate, You are pretty much my last chance for a picture!”

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Story of Morley Ornstein resonates with student

A Vancouver college student has discovered that he has a lot in common with a Canadian RCAF airman who was killed during the Second World War. This past Remembrance Day, Sam Wise was reading a news story about the international efforts to put a Star of David symbol on the grave of navigator Morley Ornstein, who was shot down over Germany in 1945. It was a name Wise knew.

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Why an Edmonton airman’s family wants you to read his WWll diary

When I spoke in Edmonton in November 2019 for Holocaust Education Week, I was touched to have the opportunity to meet the family of Harry Uretzky. He was a young Edmonton student who enlisted in the RCAF in 1941, went overseas in 1942, and, after training to be a bomb aimer/navigator, was killed in action in 1943.
At my talk that night, his niece Karen Hering revealed that her uncle’s war time diary was a treasure: it contained his personal musings as well as a series of poems that he wrote in November 1942, while he was training to fly heavy bombers over German-occupied Europe.

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Where to watch the 2020 Canadian Jewish Remembrance Day service online

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular Remembrance Day services will not be taking place, or at least, they will not be permitted large gatherings. The Jewish War Veterans of Canada, B’nai Brith, CIJA and other organizations have come together to offer an online event Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020.
You can watch it beginning at 10:50 a.m. Toronto time on the B’nai Brith website. Check here for the link.

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