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Answering the Call to Duty

Heroes Remember

Answering the Call to Duty

It was at this time, the war was probably come upon us. And I knew we had to go, and I had a very close friend, Freddy Harris whose father was our family doctor.

Picture of Freddy and Barney

And we felt that it was best to get in the army at this time, before the war broke out - start getting training, and be ready. And as we were both Jewish, we had the special motivation in the face of Hitler. We had no idea how bad it was going to be but we knew it was going to be very unpleasant and it was an evil that we had to deal with. Oh, it was known to us, I guess this would be after Chrystalnacht which was sort of a wrath

Man looking at a wall with articles of the war.

around the time, and there were German families, Jewish families coming to Canada who we knew. They were just getting out on time They knew something terrible was going to happen, or that they had no future at the very least, they had no future. They couldn't get the proper jobs, they couldn't get in to proper schools, if they were teachers they were eliminated. And so we didn't know what the ultimate consequence of all that would be, but we knew it was something that we had to be concerned about. So, when war broke out actually, our regiment wasn't mobilized immediately which was a great disappointment to us. We were kids, we were 18 and wanting to get into the fighting before it was all over. Queens Own Rifles of Canada, at the University Avenue Armouries in Toronto here. And we went over to camp and hike on the lake.

Crest of the Queens Own Rifles of Canada.

Photograph of the Armouries.

It was terrible, the equipment and uniforms or lack of uniforms at the time.

Mr. Danson explains that, as a Jewish man, he knew there was trouble brewing in Germany. He and a friend joined the army during peacetime so they would be trained and ready for action if war came.

Barnet J (Barney) Danson

Mr. Danson was born in Ontario, 1921. Before the war, Mr. Danson worked for Columbia pictures. As a Jewish man, he was aware of the political situation in Europe. His instincts told him that war was imminent and he felt a sense of urgency to fight. As a result, he joined the Army during peacetime in hopes of being trained and ready to serve if war broke out. Mr. Danson was an Infantry Officer with the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada. In the Fall of 1944 he was wounded, thus ending his war effort. After the war, he had a successful business and later entered politics where he served as the Minister of Defence in the Trudeau Government.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Barnet J (Barney) Danson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

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