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Samuel Moses “Moe” Hurwitz

An exceptional hockey player, Moe Hurwitz turned down a tryout with the Boston Bruins in the early days of the Second World War in order to serve in the Canadian Army overseas.

Lachine, Quebec

Second World War
Samuel Moses “Moe” Hurwitz


Samuel Moses (Moe) Hurwitz was born in 1919, one of 13 children of a Jewish family that had immigrated to Lachine, Quebec. An exceptional hockey player, he nevertheless turned down a tryout with the Boston Bruins in the early days of the Second World War, remarking, “There's no time to play hockey when millions of my brothers are getting killed in Europe.” Instead Hurwitz joined the Canadian Army in June 1940 and would serve in the armoured corps. He harboured no illusions of what he was potentially signing up for, grimly telling a brother before he shipped out overseas, “I won’t be coming back. I am going to be killed.”

Sergeant Hurwitz trained in Canada for two years and spent another two years in the United Kingdom before his unit, the Canadian Grenadier Guards (later renamed the 22nd Armoured Regiment), would finally get a chance to go into combat. Landing in France during the Battle of Normandy in July 1944, they were thrown into action in the Allied push south from Caen towards Falaise. From the beginning, the fiery sergeant made courage his calling card like when he jumped from his tank, which he had nicknamed “Geraldine,” to flush out enemy snipers in a German-held French village. Hurwitz followed up that courageous act of bravado during the Battle of the Scheldt when he single-handedly rushed a German machine-gun position in a Dutch farmhouse, knocking out the enemy resistance and taking 23 prisoners.

Sergeant Hurwitz would earn both the Military Medal and the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his heroism during the war but lost his life in late October 1944 as a result of an attack in southern Holland. He was shot in the back and captured, dying of his wounds in a German field hospital a few days later. Sergeant Hurwitz was only 25 years old and is buried in the Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands.

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