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Guelph’s Synagogue Beth Isaiah remembers Sgt. Harry Bockner on the 78th anniversary of his death in action in WWll

April 16 @ 7:00 pm

When the Canadian troops began cleaning out the remnants of Nazi Germany’s occupation forces across Holland in the spring and summer of 1945, they were met with joyous welcomes by the Dutch people who had endured starvation and brutality under Hitler’s forces. But the Canadians also came face to face with the truth about the fate of Europe’s Jewish community, as they liberated concentration camps and Nazi death camps from the defeated German guards.

Journalist and author Ellin Bessner’s book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII”, published by the University of Toronto Press, tells the story of the 17,000 Canadians of Jewish faith who served in WWII, helped defeat Hitler, and rescued the survivors of the Holocaust.

Guelph and the surrounding area sent several Jewish soldiers to war, including the sons of some of the most prominent families: Sid Acker, RCAF, was killed in 1942, and after whom the city’s Beth Isaiah Synagogue was named. John Galt from Galt, Ont. also in the RCAF, was killed during training, while artilleryman Harry Bockner, who was born in Guelph, was killed at the very tail end of the war on April 11, 1945 while liberating Holland.

Bessner will be here via ZOOM with Bockner’s great-nephew, Elliott Schiff, who recently retraced his great-uncle’s footsteps across Holland, to his graveside. Learn more about Harry Bockner’s ties to Guelph, including his astounding 1,000 letters home to his family,

Ellin’s books are available for purchase from The U of T Press, Chapters, Amazon or your favourite bookseller. Or Ellin will arrange to sign one, and get it to you.

Guests are encouraged to share their stories of family members who served, including bringing memoribila to the Zoom.

Contact Ellin for further details or the ZOOM link.

Alan Breznik

Copyright © Ellin Bessner