Sergeant Moses Charton of Verdun, Quebec, was killed while serving as an observer overseas on October 6, 1942, according to an official announcement. He enlisted in the RCAF in June 1941 and received his observer's wing at Jarvis, Ontario, in March 1942. He was born in Poland. (Source: Canadian Jews in World War II) There is a Star of David on his tombstone. (Source: Veterans Affairs Canada Web site)
Moses Greenblatt, of Montreal, Quebec, was one of two Jewish sailors east of the Manitoba-Ontario border in the Canadian navy during World War II. He was the radioman on a high-speed corvette ship, the H.M.C.S. Spikenard. (A high-speed corvette ship protected ships carrying troops to Europe by positioning itself between a torpedo and a troop-carrying ship.) After delivering a troop-carrying ship to Europe, the corvette was returning to Canada when a torpedo hit the H.M.C.S. Spikenard. Telegraphist Moses Greenblatt locked himself in the radio room and sent out the SOS giving the ship's position at sea. The captain and first mate took guns and ordered the rest of the crew into the freezing Atlantic waters. After the sailors complained that they would die in the water, the crew were told that they would live only three minutes on the corvette but would survive thirty minutes in the water. The few sailors who survived recounted the episode and the heroic action of Moses Greenblatt. Telegraphist Greenblatt enlisted in the navy at Montreal in August 1940 and after training at Halifax was posted aboard the ill-fated Spikenard. He saw service in Newfoundland and Iceland and was awarded the Naval Silver Cross posthumously by Canada.
Flying Officer Moses Rabovsky of Owen Sound, Ontario, was listed missing on active service on May 28, 1944, following air operations overseas and was subsequently presumed dead. Flying Officer Rabovsky joined the air force in June 1942 and graduated from Crumlin as a bombardier on July 23, 1943, receiving his commission soon after. He was awarded his operational wings posthumously “in recognition of gallant service in action against the enemy.”
Pilot Officer Moses Schwartz of Montreal, Quebec, was reported missing and presumed dead following air operations on February 15, 1945. Enlisting in the air force in 1942, Pilot Officer Schwartz trained as an air gunner. He completed more than thirty operational flights over enemy territory and was commissioned a few weeks before being listed missing. He once crash-landed on friendly soil. Two brothers, Gunners Abe and William Schwartz, served with the R.C.A., while a third, Signalman Jack Schwartz, served with the R.C.C.S.
Warrant Officer Moses Zumar of Ottawa, Ontario, was reported missing after he failed to return from anti-submarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France. Enlisting in the air force early in September 1940, together with his brothers, Flight Lieutenant Harry and Flying Officer Reuben Zumar, Warrant Officer Zumar was called up in November of that year. He received his training at Toronto, Virden and Brandon, where he graduated and received his wings as a sergeant-pilot in September 1941. He took a general reconnaissance course at Charlottetown and went overseas in January 1942. He was assigned to an operational training unit and attached to the R.C.A.F. “Demon” Squadron, which was hitting at German shipping and conducting anti-submarine patrols. His brother, (then) Pilot Officer Harry Zumar, flew two harrowing trips over the Bay of Biscay searching without success for Warrant Officer Moses Zumar.
Sergeant Samuel Hurwitz of Montreal, Quebec, died of wounds while a prisoner of war (Casualty list No. 845). He was awarded the Military Medal according to a Department of National Defence announcement on November 3, 1944. The citation accompanying the M.M. read: “On Aug. 8, 1944, during the heavy fighting Sgt. Hurwitz, Can. Armoured Corps was ordered to cover by fire his troop leaders’ assault on an enemy position. On arriving at the position it was found necessary to dismount and attack on foot. During the fight a burning enemy self-propelled gun blew up and killed and wounded a number of men of the troop. Sgt. Hurwitz was pinned under a tree by the explosion, but managed to extricate himself and although burned from the blast and slightly wounded he picked up a Bren gun and with his officer led the assault on the German position. The position, which was a strong one and had been holding up the entire squadron was taken, 31 prisoners were captured and a number of the enemy killed. Sgt. Hurwitz displayed a fine degree of leadership and offensive spirit and by this action was largely responsible for the subsequent capture of the town of Cintheaux itself.” On January 11, 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and became the first Canadian Jew to receive two decorations in World War II. The citation with the DCM stated: “On Sept. 20, 1944, No. 3 Squadron, 22 Can. Armoured Reg. with one rifle company and the carrier scout platoon of the Algonquin Reg. under command, was ordered to seize and hold the railroad station at Sluiskil. A force made up of one infantry platoon, one section of three carriers and the tank troop commanded to assault an intermediate strong point which consisted of slit trenches, ditches, and a number of houses on the road to the station. Upon reaching the objective the enemy were found to be in strength and a fierce close-quarter combat ensued in deep ditches and houses where the tanks could not be used to advantage. Sgt. Hurwitz quickly appreciated that more men were needed on the ground and leaped from his tank, taking with him two crew members. Under covering fire from his tank, Sgt. Hurwitz and two men with him cleared three buildings and two elaborate trench systems. Sgt Hurwitz then personally charged two machine gun posts. His only weapon was a pistol but his daring and determination unnerved the machine gun crews and the positions were silenced. A total of twenty-five prisoners were taken by him and his crew. This determined and gallant action by Sgt. Hurwitz enabled his troop to move into a dominating fire position which covered the objective of the main force and enabled it to move forward and seize the railroad station where an additional 150 prisoners were taken and a large amount of valuable equipment captured.” His father, Harry Hurwitz, received the decorations from the Earl of Athlone at Government House. He was a member of the Montreal YMHA.
Pilot Officer Moses Lewis Usher of Montreal, Quebec, was reported killed in action overseas on March 31, 1942. He was interred in Lerwick Cemetery in the Shetlands, the first Jew to be buried in the islands. The R.A.F. placed a special aircraft at the disposal of Chaplain H.I. Alexander to enable him to reach the Shetlands to perform the burial. Pilot Officer Usher joined the McGill University Canadian Officers Training Corps at the outbreak of the war and enlisted in the air force in June 1940. He trained at the No. 1 Wireless School, Montreal, and later at Fingal, Ontario, where he received his wings in December 1940. He was sent overseas in February 1941 and was attached to a Halifax bomber squadron as a wireless air gunner. He participated in raids over enemy territory, including an attack on Nuremberg. Pilot Officer Usher was presented to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they visited his station. Word of his death reached his family several days before the announcement of his commission.
Rifleman Maurice Glansberg of Ottawa, Ontario, was killed in action in Normandy. “Montreal, August 8, 1951 - Earlier, we reported on the policy of the Department of Natural Resources of the province of Saskatchewan to name lakes, rivers and islands in newly surveyed areas in honour of former residents of Saskatchewan who had been killed in action while serving the Canadian Armed Forces. We furnished the Saskatchewan government with a list of Jewish servicemen compiled from our publication ‘Canadian Jews in WWII,’ the first part of which was devoted to those killed during the war. The announcement made by the Saskatchewan government on July 10 included the following locations named after Jewish men: Faibish Bay, after Jack Faibish, son of Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Faibish, Markinch, Sask.; Levine Lake, after David Levine, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Levine, Swift Current, Sask.; Glansberg Lake after Rifleman Maurice Glansberg.” (CJC publication IOI #1175)