Patterson, Hugh

Hugh Patterson was born December 30, 1921 in Seneca Township, just outside Caledonia, Ontario.  He grew up on a farm:  there was plenty of food as Hugh remembers, but money was tight in the days of the Great Depression.  Hugh worked on the farm when he was young, but as he put it “milking those

Boon, Art

Art Boon was born November 12, 1924 in Peterborough, England, emigrating to Canada when he was a baby.  Art’s father had come to Canada for the first time in 1912, but with the outbreak of the Great War Art’s father and uncle returned to Europe to fight in that war.  Art grew up in Stratford,

Bark, Chad

Chad Bark was born July 16, 1924 in Toronto, Ontario.  He grew up against the backdrop of the 1930s, attending Oriole Park Public School and the University of Toronto Schools and playing and excelling at many sports.  When the war came, Chad joined the army hoping to get into the action:  he began in the

Paley, Jack

Jack Paley was born December 2, 1921 in a Yorkshire village.  His father was a veteran of the Great War, one who had seen action at the Somme and who had been a POW of the Germans.  Jack attended school until he was 14; he went to work at that time as a keymaker, and

Fitzsimmons, Douglas

Douglas Fitzsimmons was born July 22, 1924 in Toronto.  He grew up in a large family in the city’s east end, in the Gerrard and Woodbine neighbourhood and attended the local Catholic school.  Doug’s father was a Great War veteran who went on to a successful career as a salesman, so the family was sheltered

Hoy, William

William (Bill) Hoy was born in Welland, Ontario on January 30, 1924.  His family had emigrated to Canada from Britain and settled in the Ottawa area, but by the time of Bill’s birth they had settled in Welland, where Bill’s father did his Great War service, guarding the Welland Canal.  Bill grew up against the

Moczulski, Edward

Edward Moczulski was born in Brest, Poland.  Edward’s family ended up in the Soviet zone of occupation after Poland was divided in the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.  Life continued in these new circumstances, but then in 1940 a Red Army officer appeared at the family’s door, looking for Edward’s older brother.  The family did not

Parker, Ted

Edward (Ted) Parker was born March 30, 1925 in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  He grew up in Massachusetts and Florida, as the family moved back and forth during those years.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Depression and the early years of the war, by which time he was attending the Governors’ Academy in Massachusetts. 

Diltz, Charles

Charles Diltz was born July 28, 1927 in Lindsay, Ontario.  His family relocated to Bronte, and as a teenager Charles attended the University of Toronto Schools.  Charles grew up against the backdrop of the war and he remembers well the rationing and the propaganda that accompanied Canada’s declaration.  When the time came, Charles went into

Wozniak, Stanley

Stanley Wozniak was born January 9, 1928 in Warsaw, Poland.  He was born into a large family of 11 children, and they grew up in a positive environment in the 1930s, though the coming of war in 1940 impacted the family dramatically.  They had been living in western Poland, but the aftermath of the German

Nitsch, Gunter

Gunter Nitsch was born December 3, 1937 in Konigsberg, Germany. He was only two when the war began, so he has no memories of that, but he does remember many remarkable events during and especially after the war as Gunter grew up against the backdrop of Nazism and the war, and then Stalin and the

Cassot, Art

Art Cassot hails from New Jersey, where he grew up in the northern part of the Garden State.  Art came of age in the Vietnam era, and wondered what his future might hold.  He considered the navy or the air force, but had long waiting lists at the time, so Art opted for the army,

Fisher, Mervin

Mervin Fisher was born May 7, 1926 in Collingwood, Ontario.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Depression in Collingwood, Dixie and Toronto, moving around after his parents’ divorce and some family difficulties.  Mervin went into service at the midway point of the war, and trained for the Armoured Corps.  He was only 17

Cohn, Frank

Frank Cohn was born August 2, 1925 in Breslau, Germany.  Born into a Jewish family, Frank began to understand the realities of Nazism when he was a young boy:  an uncle was murdered by stormtroopers, and he saw violence in the streets outside his home.  He also compellingly remembers the day his Grade 2 teacher

Chandler, Leland

Leland Chandler was born on January 3, 1923 in Table Grove, Illinois.  He grew up in a rural area, working the family farm and attending the local schools, swimming at the local river and playing ball when he was able.  Leland grew up in the tough times of the 1930s, but he remembers the people

Atherton, Paul

Paul Atherton was born July 15, 1921 in Hanover, New Hampshire.  The family moved around a bit when he was young, navigating the realities of the Great Depression.  Paul attended a one-room school for a time, but as his family moved to larger communities he grew accustomed to larger schools and different amenities.  Life in

Bhullar, Bhag Singh

Bhag Singh Bhullar was born May 14, 1924 in the village of Bhullar, in the Punjab region of India.  At least that’s what his official military records say; the reality is that he was born in 1922, and his family had lied about his birthday, hoping that making him two years younger would keep him

Morrow, Jack

Jack Morrow was born December 6, 1925 in Butler, Pennsylvania, though he grew up mainly in the nearby community of Kittanning, on the Allegheny River.  Jack’s father had worked for Pullman, but he lost that job as the Depression took hold, though he did find work with Metropolitan Life.  Jack remembers that the times were

Gutierrez, Eugene

Eugene Gutierrez was born September 14, 1921 in Harlingen, Texas.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, and remembers well the tough times that the family went through.  His parents had a grocery store that went out of business since customers rarely had the money to pay for groceries.  Eugene graduated high

Riesinger, Frank

Frank Riesinger was born August 20, 1926 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He recalls moving around the American Midwest during the Depression years, as the family went where work was available.  Still, Frank doesn’t remember being poor; he said everyone was, and that’s what they were all used to.  Frank describes his childhood in positive terms, remembering

Brody, Josef

Josef Brody was born April 26, 1936 in Slovakia.  During the Second World War, Slovakia came under the rule of the fascist Josef Tiso, and was a part of the Axis powers, alongside Nazi Germany.  The country’s Jews suffered tremendous hardship because of this arrangement, becoming victims of the Shoah, first through restrictions imposed by

Orosz, Angela

Angi Orosz was born December 21, 1944, in Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of a handful of Jewish babies born in the camp who was able to survive.  Her mother Vera Bein gave birth to Angela in that terrible place, and as Angi says in her testimony she speaks to honour her mother’s determination and fight to survive,

Mesner, Mila

Mila Mesner was born November 22, 1923 in Zalishchyky, Poland (now Ukraine).  She recalls a positive childhood, full of family and good memories.  All of that changed with the beginning of the war:  Mila’s town was in the Soviet zone of occupation, and she remembers that arrests and deprivation began right away.  Mila’s father chose

Black, Judith

Judith Nemes Black was born November 15, 1941 in Budapest, Hungary.  She grew up against the backdrop of the war and the mounting restrictions that Hungarian Jews were forced to endure, including the conscription of her father into forced labour.  In 1944 the situation deteriorated for Hungarian Jews; Nazi Germany invaded and the fascist Arrow

Hacker, Alex

Alex Hacker was born in Budapest, Hungary on May 7, 1926.  His father was a successful businessman in the vegetable oil business, and because of that  – as well as Hungary’s alliance with Nazi Germany – Alex and his family and the Jews of Hungary in general were shielded from the immediate brutality of the

Webb, Betty

Betty Webb was born May 13, 1923, near the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England.  She grew up in the countryside, where she remembers long walks picking wildflowers, and she was home-schooled – so she also remembers cataloguing those same flowers!  Betty’s mother had had German housekeepers in the 1930s, so Betty learned to speak

Villiger, Ken

Ken Villiger was born October 19, 1930 in Montreal, Quebec.  He joined the Canadian Forces right out of high school, just as the Cold War was heating up.  Ken would see service in Korea, and during his long military career he played on just about every sports team the army had.  Ken was a paratrooper

Fairbrook, Paul

Paul Fairbrook was born into a Jewish family on August 21, 1923 in Berlin, Germany.  His first ten years were spent in that country, but his father saw the writing on the wall and made arrangements for his young family to get out in 1932.  First they made their way to France, and then to

Haley, Frank

Frank Haley was born January 25, 1925 in Cheadle, Alberta. He grew up in that small rural community, going to a one room school and having fun however and whenever he and his friends could. As Cheadle was a farming community, the impacts of the Depression were severe; the price of wheat crashed, and dust