July 12, 2021 – Imagine you’re Jewish during the Second World War, but safely in bed an ocean away from Nazi Germany, secure in the vastness of Canada. Would you march into the heart of the Third Reich, risking your life to stare down Hitler’s war machine, for a country that didn’t consider you a fully loyal and equal citizen?
In this episode, we meet the heroes that Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King said faced a “double threat” from Axis evil: Not just Fascism, but their survival as a people. Our guide on this journey is Ellin Bessner, a professor of journalism at Centennial College in Toronto and the author of Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military, and World War II.
Although Canada had turned away European Jews desperate to escape the rising tide of anti-Semitism — and while those already in Canada found doors to many jobs and universities slammed in their faces — when war came, an huge numbers answered the call to fight, defying bigotry and earning valor that has been shamefully forgotten.