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Ellin speaks to Rose Reisman’s monthly lecture series ‘Rosebuds’ in Toronto, on Monday Nov. 18, 2019

November 18 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST

Canadian woman soldier
Staff Sergeant Miriam “Mimi” Freedman, born in Montreal, served overseas in London, France, Belgium and Germany during WWII. (Courtesy Ruth Elias)
Jewish woman in uniform
Section Officer Rose J. Goodman, of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. (Courtesy Claresholm Museum)
Jewish soldiers passover
Rabbi Sam Cass leads a group of Canadian Jewish military personnel during a Passover seder in Germany, in March 1945. (Courtesy Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives)
retired men
(courtesy City of Cote Saint-Luc)

Double Threat front cover

Jewish soldier at Purim
Pvt. Bert Smits, dressed as Miss Toronto, wins “Queen Esthere” 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.
Jewish soldiers at Purim party
Pvt. Bert Smits of Toronto, is crowned Queen Esther at the Purim pageant held in the Montreal Jewish Servicemen’s Centre, by hostess Mrs. Rosalie (Lazarus) Phillips, in March 1944. Photo courtesy Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives, Montreal.

Canadian woman army uniform WWll
Esther Thorley, shown here in her Canadian Women’s Army Corps uniform. (Ellin Bessner photo)
Woman in uniform
Section Officer Rose J. Goodman, of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. (Courtesy Claresholm Museum)

Although the Second World War was a man’s war, and 17,000 Canadian Jewish men served, a tiny but important group of 270 Canadian Jewish women dared to overcome their family and community’s disapproval, the lower pay, and sexual harassment, and joined the Canadian forces after 1941. (That is when the government allowed women to enlist). They served in many jobs at home, and behind the front lines.  Women drove ambulances, taught phys-ed, served up meals,  took dictation about top secret radar, and packed parachutes. Others were military police, like my Aunt Daisy Friedberg, (nee Lazare). Section Officer Rose Goodman was a high ranking Adjutant at an RCAF training base in Alberta, where fighter pilots were preparing to go overseas and into combat. Some of the women went to Normandy just 40 days after D-Day, and dodged bombs and bullets while doing their jobs. For Remembrance Day 2019, author and journalist Ellin Bessner speaks to the Rosebuds group about her book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military, and WWII”. Books will be available for signing and sale at the event.


November 18
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Susan Gordin


Contact organizer for address
Toronto, Canada + Google Map
Copyright © Ellin Bessner