Official Toronto launch of “Double Threat” at Beth Tikvah Toronto was on Tuesday night, which was the 73rd anniversary of V-E-Day, May 8. Honoured to meet Ric Levenston, the son of Lt. Col. Gerald Levenston, of Toronto, who handled the German surrender in May 1945. His commanding officer told Levenston “I want a Jew to tell those bastards what to do.”
The nearly 280 Canadian Jewish women who volunteered, put on a uniform, and served in WWII lived their own important wartime experiences, and contributed to help Canada and the Allies win the war, defeat Hitler, and stop the Holocaust. Most of the women also had their own #Time’sUp moments.
How Canadian Jewish servicemen celebrated Purim in Montreal in 1944.
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.
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.
many times, it is at the end of the evening when I experience some of the most thrilling moments of my six year long journey to uncover the war heritage of Canada’s Jewish fighters.
Harry Kaushansky of Montreal served in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. He grew up in a home where his mother served only kosher food.
A young Jewish Montreal high school student discovers more about his grandfather’s army service in the Second World War.
Manny Rubinoff of Toronto served as a sapper after he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army in the Second World War. When he refused to attend Catholic or Protestant church services on his army base in Ontario, he was”paraded” or brought up in front of the colonel to be disciplined. Instead, Rubinoff unbuttoned his uniform, showed the officer the Jewish daily prayer garment known as “Arba Kanfot” that he wore under his clothes, and pulled out his pocket-sized prayer book, handed it to the colonel, and waited. He tells “Double Threat” author and journalist Ellin Bessner what happened next.