Leaside Speaker Series
November 2 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Canada/Toronto
For Remembrance Week 2021, Ellin brings the story of Canada’s 17,000 Jewish fighters to the Leaside Speakers Series.
A presentation suited to the Remembrance Day period will be the second to last program in our virtual series. On Tuesday afternoon, November 2, author and journalist Ellin Bessner will be presenting a richly illustrated program based on her book Double Threat: Canadian Jews, The Military, and World War Two. Bessner conducted hundreds of interviews and extensive archival research to paint a complex picture of the 17,000 Canadian Jews – about 40 per cent of the eligible Jewish population in wartime Canada – who chose to enlist.
These Canadian troops faced a ‘double threat’ because of their religion: not only if they should be captured by the Nazis but (as the author clearly points out), because of the widespread antisemitism they encountered at home in Canada, in the barracks and on the battlefield. This is an important chapter in Canadian history, as told by a Toronto-based professor of journalism, and highly regarded by no less than author/broadcaster, Ted Barris. Ted is on record as having said: “My friend Ellin Bessner’s presentations are in the same league as my own.” Wow! That’s saying something!