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Launch of new display about the Jewish commandos in The Devil’s Brigade: First Special Service Force at The Military Museums, Calgary

May 11, 2023 @ 6:30 pm

Hidden Heroes: Honouring Canada’s Jewish Soldiers of the Second World War  

For Jewish Heritage Month, The Military Museums of Calgary launches a new exhibit on the elite commandos of Jewish faith who served in The Devil’s Brigade. 

The brigade was a joint outfit made up of highly-trained Canadian and American troops who fought together at home and abroad as the First Special Service Force (FSSF) during the Second World War. 

Feared by the Germans – who called them The Black Devils – these former lumberjacks, forest rangers and hunters donned camouflage paint, brandished special machine guns and knives to scale snow-covered mountains in the middle of the Italian winter to capture German positions. They trained to parachute behind enemy lines. They took thousands of prisoners. 

Their crack combat skills and rough-and-tumble methods in and out of battle were portrayed on the big screen by a 1968 Hollywood movie. The FSSF members were later awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 2015 by former U.S. President Barak Obama.

Among the Force’s companies were over fifty Jewish volunteers – including Canadians – who faced a double threat: not only were they risking capture by the enemy, but they also had to overcome antisemitism from their own men.

Join Canadian journalist and author Ellin Bessner (of The Canadian Jewish News) along with John Hart of the FSSF Association, the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta and members of the military community, for a special Jewish Heritage Month tribute evening and reception at The Military Museums.

Doors open 6:30 p.m. Program begins 7 p.m.

Registration link is here:

John Hart, FSSF Association

View Organizer Website

The Military Museums Calgary

4520 Crowchild Trail SW
Calgary, T2T 5J4 Canada
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Copyright © Ellin Bessner