Harvey, Frederic

Major Harvey has over 20 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces, having joined the reserves in 1992. While serving in the reserves and completing his university education, Major Harvey was deployed as a part of Canada’s peacekeeping missions in Haiti (1996) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1999). In 2000, Maj. Harvey transferred to regular forces as

Rosenberg, Freda

Freda Rosenberg is a Holocaust Survivor from Radom, Poland.  She survived the full weight of the war years, passing through a number of ghettoes and camps, including Auschwitz Birkenau.  When the Red Army was approaching, she was forced on a death march, which she recounts in detail here.  Surviving that ordeal too, Freda was liberated

Davies, Fred

žFred Davies was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, into a family of six brothers and one sister. He graduated high school and volunteered for the RCAF. He chose the air force because he wanted to be a pilotž. After enlisting in the RCAF, Davies was sent to Manning Depot in Montreal for training.ž Davies was

Nash, Georgine

Georgine Nash was born in Hungary on June 16,1937.  She grew up during the war, and as was the case with most Hungarian Jews, she enjoyed a distance from the terrible conflict, and the from the terrible Shoah that was commencing in the neighbouring countries.  Georgine remembers her father being taken away to a labour

Hirschl, Helena

Helena Hirschl (nee Beinhacker) was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1928.  An only child, she grew up in a well-to-do assimilated family, and her father was in the construction business.  Helena remembers the prewar period in largely positive terms.  She was unaware of the hatred bubbling beneath the surface; she had friends and liked school,

Voitinsky, Evgeny

Evgeny Voitinsky served in the  Red Army in the Great Patriotic War.  Evgeny grew up in Leningrad before the war, but after the German invasion of June 1941, Evgeny and his mother relocated to Kazakstan, where the teenaged Evgeny adapted to the new realities of wartime life. He worked at this time in a factory,

McPhee, Jim

Jim McPhee served in the RCAF during the Second World War. Jim grew up in northern Ontario, not too far from the Sault; Jim came from a large family, and lived not too far from Bruce Mines . Jim remembers going to a one-room schoolhouse in his early years, as well as work on the

Zarembo, Michael

Michael Zarembo is a Lithuanian Jew, one of so many overwhelmed with the terrible events that befell his people and region during the war.  1941 saw the initiation of that horror…Germany initiated Operation Barbarossa, and within days Michael’s family was under the heel of the Nazi regime.  Life became increasingly difficult in the ghettos that were

Katz, Eugene

Eugene Katz was born in Dyszna, Poland in in 1927.  He was one of five children, growing up in a Jewish family not too far from Vilna; he recalls a difficult life, beset by hunger and poverty, but also filled with family and friends.  When war came in 1939, Eugene’s family was in eastern Poland,

Blium, Reuven

Reuven Blium survived the Holocaust in Lithuania, a country where as many as 95% of Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.  Reuven was born in 1930 in Kaunas, into a family of limited means.  Reuven’s father passed away when Reuven was only 3, and his mother had no alternative but to put

Smith, Mike

Mike Smith was born in the USSR, in the former republic of Belarus.  He grew up near Pinsk, in a traditional Jewish family.  When the war came to the USSR in 1941, he joined the Soviet Red Army, where he became a member of the Scouts’ Brigade.  Doing some of the most dangerous work behind

Sitzer, Max

Max Sitzer is a Holocaust Survivor from Poland who has a family connection at Crestwood; he was interviewed by his young cousin Mara Bowman here at the school in March 2013. Max lived in eastern Poland and was under Soviet rule for the first part of the war, but with the German invasion in 1941

Sterk, Eddie

Eddie Sterk lived in Holland at the beginning of the war. As his father worked in a hospital, Eddie and his family were able to evade the early deportations, which slowly saw Amsterdam’s Jews transported “to the east”.  Eddie’s siblings were eventually taken, and soonafter Eddie and his parents were rounded up as well.  Eddie

Pagelson, Edith

Edith Pagelson’s personal story of survival began in Germany. She and her family were victims of Hitler’s Nazi regime well before the war began, feeling the sting of the Nuremberg Laws and Kristallnacht all through the 1930s. She and her family were deported from Duisberg to the Terezin Ghetto, where Edith’s father died. After spending

Levin, Alex

We met Alex Levin courtesy of the Memory Project and the Azrieli Foundation, where he is a keynote speaker and author. Alex’s story is one of the most compelling ones we have heard; his family was from Poland, and they experienced the full weight of the war’s early years, invaded first by the USSR and

Lakrits, Michael

Michael Lakrits is a veteran of the Soviet Red Army who fought on the eastern front during WW2. He attended an air force academy and was at first a machine gun and radio operator in a bomber. He joined when he was 19 and first faced the Nazis in Estonia in 1941. In December of

O’Henly, John

John O’Henly was born March 15, 1923, and he grew up in the east end of Toronto.  He attended RH MacGregor Public School, and after one year at East York, he opted to go to Danforth Tech, as he was interested in their art course.  He spent much of his spare time with his friends

Morgan, William

Bill Morgan was born April 23, 1925 in Consett, England, a small city on the east coast, not too far from Newcastle.  Bill’s mother passed away when he was just five, and at that time he moved in with his grandparents and aunts, and his father’s role in his life diminished.  Bill grew up an

Smith, Tyler

Tyler Smith was born in Calgary, Alberta, a city that had a very deep tradition for the navy, in spite of its inland location.  One of the first steps he took in order to achieve his goal of joining the military was to join the sea cadets, a program that the navy sets up in

Mezei, Leslie

Leslie Mezei was born in 1931 in Hungary in a little town called Gödöllő. He had a good relationship with his mother and father. His father was an officer in the Hungarian army, and a lawyer. Leslie lived in a small house and had a tough childhood with some anti-Semitism appearing in his neighborhood and

White, Rod

Rod White was born in Trenton, Ontario in 1925. Rod’s father died when he was only four, and some of his early memories are of his mother struggling to raise her seven children in difficult economic times. Rod was a sickly child, suffering from bouts of tuberculosis and jaundice; combined with wearing glasses from an

Rees, Frank

Frank Rees is from Toronto.  He grew up in the city’s east end, against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  He attended Danforth Tech and served in the reserve army during the early part of the war.  When the time came for him to join up, Frank chose the RCAF – he remembers that it

Cash, Norm

Norman Cash was born January 1, 1920 in Russia, in the city of Odessa.  When he was one year old his family made the decision to emigrate as the anti-Semitic violence associated with the pogroms was intensifying in the wake of the Great War, where Norm’s father had been a veteran.  The family settled in

Gallant, Alyre

Alyre Gallant was born December 23, 1923, in Piusville, Prince Edward Island.  He grew up during the time of the Depression, and when his father died when he was quite young, Alyre left school and began working on the family farm.  And that was the theme for the rest of the decade and into the

Swirski, Walter

Walter Swirski was born in Poland on May 7, 1922.  His family lived in a small village, where they were prosperous farmers; Walter’s father owned a share in a flour mill, and had been an officer in the Soviet-Polish war.  Walter had one brother and was going to school when the Second World War broke

Parks, Jim

Jim Parks was born September 22, 1924, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He grew up there during the hard days of the Great Depression, making money anywhere he could, selling magazines and blocks of ice.  When the war came along, Jim was in high school, and he remembers learning about the war in history class. He joined

Gower, Harry

Harry Gower was born in Toronto in 1922.  He grew up in the city’s west end, where he attended Western Tech.  With the death of his father and the coming of the Great Depression, Harry had to leave high school after one year, and he took a job at Eaton’s, where he operated the elevator

Magan, Aaron

Col. Aaron Magan joined the American Army in 1991, following his undergraduate ROTC at Western Kentucky University.  He went into the Army Corps of Engineers and soon found himself rising through the ranks.  He attended a series of schools and courses in the American military, all the while furthering his training.  They included: the Ranger

Hodgins, Richard

Richard Hodgins was born in Toronto in 1919.  He grew up in the city’s east end, in the Danforth and Jones neighbourhood.  He has been a hockey fan his whole life, and many of his prewar memories centred on the Toronto St. Pats and the Mutual Street Arena, and then the Leafs at the Gardens,

Lamantia, Larry

Larry Lamantia was born in Toronto, growing up in the city’s east end in the Pape-Danforth neighbourhood. His father ran a grocery market, and Larry grew up in the care of his grandmother, as his mother died when Larry was only five. The family experienced some of the anti-Italian backlash that spread through Toronto at