Ellin brings “Double Threat” to Sydney, Nova Scotia for Yom HaShoah community-wide commemoration Sunday May 5
May 5 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT
Ellin will join the Jewish community of Cape Breton and the wider local community in observing the annual Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day. Event begins at 2 p.m. at the Temple Sons of Israel Synagogue.
“He wanted to save them all”: The untold story of how Canada’s Jewish soldiers helped defeat Hitler in WWII and rescue the survivors of the Holocaust.
Ellin Bessner will bring the story of “Double Threat” to Sydney for Yom HaShoah 2019. Her new book is about the 17,000 Canadians of Jewish faith who fought in WWII, and were serving not only for King and Country, but also on a sacred mission to try to stop the Holocaust and save the Jewish people of Europe. Sadly, they arrived too late, for the most part. According to wartime estimates, every able bodied Jewish man of military age in the Maritimes served. Among the colourful Canadian heroes in her book, you will hear about the plumber who arrested the “Beast of Belsen”, the Cape Breton physician who made sure Japan’s dictator stayed alive to face a war crimes trial, and the carpet salesman from Glace Bay who escaped from a military hospital to serve with his regiment in Italy.
“Some of these families, just about all the boys left town,” says Stephen Nathanson, of Sydney. He believes the tremendous participation rate was because the young Jewish men, particularly from Glace Bay—especially those who didn’t leave to go to university—thought joining up would let them escape for a while from the small town milieu and their predetermined futures, and
see a bit of the world.
Nathanson’s father Nate was a rear gunner in the RCAF and spent 18 months as a POW in Stalag Luft 6 and was one of the more prominent Atlantic Jewish personnel who served. Among them was Senator Jack Marshall, and his brother, a pilot, Tommy Marshall, who was killed in action with the RCAF; Dr. Frank Boyaner of Saint John, who served as a dentist in the Italian Campaign,
and Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Tanzman, a doctor who went overseas in 1942 and would become the Assistant Director of Medical Services for the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. Percy “Pinky” Gaum, a long time Cape Breton politician, served with the RCAF in Europe until he was captured and taken prisoner by the Germans. Both Davy Conter, of New Waterford, N.S. and Morton
Heinish, the son of Halifax community leader Noa Heinish, were lost while on active duty missions with the RCAF. Maurice Lipton of Sydney, who rose to the rank of Major General with NORAD after the war, was in charge of all RCAF training for the war. Bessner tells us who these Jewish Canadian fighters were, why they went, and what their lives were like, as Jews, in Canada, and in the barracks, and on the battlefield.