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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular Remembrance Day services will not be taking place, or at least, they will not be permitted to have large in-person gatherings. The Jewish War Veterans of Canada, B’nai Brith, and other Jewish organizations have come together to offer an online event on Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020. You can watch it live on Wednesday Nov. 11 beginning at 10:50 a.m. Toronto time on the B’nai Brith website. Here is the link.Find out more »
Hidden heroes: Canada’s Jewish men in uniform in WWII. Ellin speaks to the Applewood Probus Club for Remembrance Day 2020
As we mark Remembrance Day and 75 years since the end of the Second World War, Toronto author and journalist Ellin Bessner brings us the story of some Canada’s hidden war heroes.
Bessner’s book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII” published by the University of Toronto Press -- paints a nuanced picture of how and why Canada’s tiny wartime Jewish community overcame widespread antisemitism at home and on the battlefield, to help defeat Hitler and rescue the survivors of the Holocaust. It is an important Canadian story that has not been comprehensively told before.
Nearly 17, 000 signed up, or approximately 40 per cent of all eligible Jewish Canadian men served in uniform in the Second World War. They fought in all the major battles, from Dunkirk to D-Day, and beyond. Yet unlike their comrades, Jewish personnel faced a double threat: they served at great personal risk, should they be captured by the enemy, and their religion be uncovered.
In Ellin’s lively interactive presentation, she’ll introduce you to some of the most high profile Canadian Jewish men and women who enlisted, including federal politicians like Barney Danson, Senators David Croll and Jack Marshall, entertainers Monty Hall, and Wayne and Shuster, and CFL football stars like Eddie Kushner of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.Find out more »
As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and Holocaust Education Week, Canadian author and journalist Ellin Bessner comes to the Probus Club Etobicoke club to say we still have work to do to fight the rise of antisemitism in our time.
Bessner is the author of “Double Threat”, published by the University of Toronto Press, about the contribution of Canada’s tiny wartime Jewish community to defeating the Nazis. When the prime minister of the day, Mackenzie King, called the Second World War a “double threat” for Canadian Jews, he meant that not only was freedom and democracy at risk but, so was the survival of the Jewish race from Hitler’s Final Solution. Canada’s wartime Jewish community sent over 17, 000 men and women to defeat Hitler and rescue survivors of the Holocaust.Find out more »
As the world marked Remembrance Day 2020 under COVID-19, Toronto author and journalist Ellin Bessner takes us back in time to the days when Canadian troops began cleaning out the remnants of Nazi Germany’s occupation forces in Europe. During the spring of 1945, the troops were met with a joyous welcome by the Dutch people. But the Canadians also came face to face with the truth about the fate of Europe’s Jewish community, as they liberated Nazi concentration camps like Vught and Westerbork, and Bergen-Belsen.
Bessner’s new book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII” 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. Jewish Canadians served in all the major battles from Dunkirk to D-Day and beyond. They faced great personal risk, should they be captured by the enemy and their religion be discovered.Find out more »
My Uncle Al Singer, an American who lived in Pennsylvania, never talked much about his service in the Second World War, except to tell his nephews and nieces about the times when he spoke Yiddish to arrest some Germans and take them prisoner. Toronto’s Norman Gulko also used his knowledge of Yiddish on the battlefield: once to try to flush out some Germans from a wooded area, and the second time to scream abuse at a long line of captured…Find out more »
As the world marks Remembrance Day under COVID-19, author and journalist Ellin Bessner brings her book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII” to the National Council of Jewish Women Orah Branch in Toronto. Bessner’s book, 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. As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the end of…Find out more »
Hidden heroes: Canada’s Jewish men in uniform in WWII. Ellin speaks to the Brampton Flowertown Probus Club Dec. 2, 2020
As we mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War, Toronto author and journalist Ellin Bessner brings us the story (Via ZOOM) of some Canada’s hidden war heroes. Bessner’s book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII” published by the University of Toronto Press -- paints a nuanced picture of how and why Canada’s tiny wartime Jewish community overcame widespread antisemitism at home and on the battlefield, to help defeat Hitler and rescue the survivors of the…Find out more »
https://youtu.be/Mhsgy6usWck Join Ellin LIVE on Friday January 29, 2021 at 9 a.m. Toronto time, when she is the special guest on the acclaimed YouTube show WW2TV, with host Paul Woodadge. Woodadge is a battlefield tour guide based in Bayeux, France. His live-streamed shows explore every inch of the northern French countryside, where Allied soldiers took on the Nazis during the Second World War. Take a live tour of the Beny-sur-Mer and Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian war cemeteries in Normandy. With cameras at…Find out more »
Ellin Bessner will take you on a fascinating journey to meet the Canadian Jewish heroines, both at home and at the front, who helped Canada win WWII. Their contributions to history have never been properly recognized.
You will “meet” Bessner’s own great-aunt, Cpl. Daisy Lazare, who served in Ottawa, along with Sgt. Miriam Freedman, who went overseas with Normandy Landings in 1944, S/O Rose Goodman, who served in Claresholm, Alberta and Pt. Esther (Bubis) Thorley, serving in Vancouver, as well as the legions of Jewish women volunteers who raised funds, packed boxes, made sandwiches and even built the bombs.
Bessner is the author of “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWIl” (2019, University of Toronto Press) and a contributing author to "Northern Lights: A Canadian Jewish History" (2020, Lola Stein Institute).Find out more »
How the Jewish Community in Ottawa helped Win the Second World War: Feb. 18, 2021 Ottawa Jewish Historical Society Lecture
From the 500 local Jewish men and women who served in a Canadian military uniform in the Second World War, to the legions of Hadassah and Pioneer Women who volunteered doing war work on the home front, the contribution of Ottawa's small wartime Jewish community to winning the war is a record to be proud of. Author and historian Ellin Bessner brings these untold stories to the Ottawa Jewish Historical Society for its February 2021 meeting. Bessner is the author…Find out more »