Role of Jewish-Canadians in war to be discussed
Ellin Bessner speaking at Peterborough synagogue on the day after Remembrance Day; her book tells the story of Peterborough’s Rogow brothers
A writer who penned a book about Jewish-Canadians serving in the Second World War will be in the city Nov. 12.
Ellin Bessner is the author of “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, The Military and World War II.”
In it, she tells the untold stories of how and why Canada’s Jewish community sent 17,000 men and women overseas to defeat Adolf Hitler and the Axis in the Second World War.
The author and journalist will be in the city a day after Remembrance Day, and in advance of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in January.
She’ll be selling signed books at the Beth Israel Synagogue and Community Centre on Nov. 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Bessner spent six years researching, travelling and interviewing more than 300 veterans and their families for her book.
Among those families, were three Rogow brothers from Peterborough. Royal Canadian Air Force Sgt. Instructor Sam Rogow was killed in a plane crash in 1942 while training other airmen in Quebec. His name is on the Peterborough Citizens War Memorial and Veterans Wall of Honour in Confederation Park. His brother Pte. Ralph Rogow served in Holland and Germany with the Royal Canadian Army, while another brother Alex Rogow served with United States forces.
Nearly 17,000 Jewish Canadians enlisted in every branch of the service, and in the merchant marine.
Bessner shares who these Jewish-Canadian fighters were, why they went and what their lives were like as Jews in Canada, in the barracks and on the battlefield.
They fought and died in every major battle including Hong Kong, Dieppe, the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic, North Africa, Ortona, DDay, Falaise, the Scheldt and throughout Northwest Europe and in the Pacific.
More than 190 received military honours of bravery and nearly 450 didn’t come home.
Ellin Bessner is the author of “Double Threat.”