During the anniversary week of the Nazi invasion of Poland and the start of the World War II in September 1939, Jewish Toronto honored its own soldiers who two generations ago took the first steps to ending Nazi and fascist terror.
On Sunday, September 11, a groundbreaking ceremony for the installation of a monument honoring the Jewish men and women who died while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, took place adjacent to the Prosserman Jewish Community Centre on Sherman Campus.
Once erected, the monument - a joint effort between UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and The Jewish War Veterans, Toronto Post - will include an inscription from Laurence Binyon's "Poem for the Fallen", which reads: “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
The front of the monument – which was designed by award-winning Canadian sculptor James C. Smith – will hold 570 names of the Jewish men and women who gave their lives while serving in the Canadian Forces during the 20th Century so that future generations may live in freedom.
In all, 1.5 million Jews, including 17,000 Canadians, served in the Allied Forces during the World War II.
The monument, a labor of love for the three men who comprised the monument steering committee of The Jewish War Veterans. They are Chairman Amek Adler, Everett Blustein and Mike Brown.
'Jews have waited many years for this day'
The project took six years to come to fruition thanks to their perseverance, dedication, and a helping hand from UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
“We at the Jewish War Veterans have waited many years for this day to come,” says Amek Adler, vice chair of the Jewish War Veterans. “We are very grateful to UJA Federation for giving us a permanent home on Sherman Campus and the help in building this important monument.”
“This day was a very long time in coming, but thankfully, it’s here now, and I’m very, very proud,” says Blustein, a native New Yorker who to describes himself as an American by birth, but a Canadian by adoption.
“I fought in several wars and at one time I served in the 8th Armored Division under the command of General Patton. I had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies at Sunday’s groundbreaking event and I can tell you that there were definitely tears in my eyes. My brother served in the US navy and has his name on a monument – as will I.
"We are all so proud that this day finally arrived and so thankful to UJA Federation for helping it come to fruition. And, I guarantee you that when the monument is erected on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2011, I will cry again.”
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life
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