Tag: wartime

A Remembrance on Remembrance Day

My father rarely spoke about his war experiences, so when he did so one evening in December 1987, I recorded the conversation as best I could remember it in my journal.  At a restaurant for dinner, my father reminisced about the old days: but what else do people reminisce about? Britain declared war against Germany…

Rokitno Reunion: five who survived hidden in forest

Five people who survived the Holocaust in a makeshift shelter in a Ukrainian forest were reunited recently in Toronto for the first time since their liberation by the Russians in April 1944. The five are the only remaining survivors of an original group of ten women and children from Rokitno, a town in the Volhynian…

Lawyer’s roots are a real pickle

Longtime friends of commercial and real estate lawyer Sam Moskowitz refer to him affectionately as “the son of the pickle man.” If you ask him what pickles and law have in common, he will tell you “everything.” His fond memories of his parents’ store at 186 Baldwin St., filled with barrels of pickles, herring, tomatoes,…

Book reviews: Holocaust memoir & near-future fiction

From the Canadian Jewish News, April 2013 Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler, by Trudi Kanter In a voice as fresh, direct and charming as Sylvia Plath’s, the late writer Trudi Kanter tells the story of her journey through war-torn Europe, seeking safe haven for herself and her beloved Walter, two Austrian Jews hoping to…

David Crombie reflects on a century of change in Toronto

Exclusive Report, February 3, 2013 Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie easily charmed a full-house audience at a January 30th meeting of the North Toronto Historical Society in Northern District Library. Although Crombie’s advertised topic was “North Toronto 1912, Then and Now,” references to North Toronto were few and far between. But it didn’t seem to…

Book review: The Dentist of Auschwitz

From The Canadian Jewish News, 2001 SS commander Otto Moll had a tooth-ache, and so visited the dentist of Auschwitz, a Jewish inmate from Dobra, Poland named Berek Jakubowicz. Settling into the chair, the pulled out his revolver and pointed it at the emaciated attendant. “Don’t try anything stupid, dentist,” he warned. “Herr Hauptscharfuhrer,” the…

Rabbi Schild’s memoir of an ‘uncertain passage’

From Books in Canada, 2002 One evening some months ago, a crowd of about 600 people gathered in Toronto’s Adath Israel Synagogue for the launch of Rabbi Erwin Schild’s latest book, The Very Narrow Bridge: A Memoir of an Uncertain Passage. The hall in the synagogue was packed (standing room only) as the rabbi delivered…

Re-enacting the War of 1812 near Long Point

From the Globe and Mail, July 2000 Painted a bright red, the 201-year-old John C. Backhouse Mill seems as conspicuous against its background of grass and trees as the British Redcoats must have been when engaged in combat with the Americans during the War of 1812. A historic property that was restored to pristine condition…

Personal thoughts on a bygone era, by Ben Rose

From the Canadian Jewish News, April 28, 2000 In 1937, the vice-principal of Central High School of Commerce came into our graduating accounting class as a visitor to announce that there was a job opening. “There is no reason for any Jewish student to apply for this job because the employer doesn’t want a Jew,”…