Polish immigrants to Lambton County couldn’t go back home after the Second World War

John DeMars speaks with Krystyna Stalmach following her presentation at the Sombra Museum in April. Stalmach spoke about her project commemorating the sacrifices of Lambton-area Polish war veterans entitled Our History, Our Heroes: Polish War Veterans — From Fighting Wars to Farming Fields in Lambton.(HANDOUT/ SARNIA OBSERVER/ POSTMEDIA NETWORK)

John DeMars speaks with Krystyna Stalmach following her presentation at the Sombra Museum in April. Stalmach spoke about her project commemorating the sacrifices of Lambton-area Polish war veterans entitled Our History, Our Heroes: Polish War Veterans — From Fighting Wars to Farming Fields in Lambton. (HANDOUT/ SARNIA OBSERVER/ POSTMEDIA NETWORK)

 Shortly after the end of the Second World War, thousands of displaced Polish immigrants and veterans arrived in Canada, seeking to carve out a life out after their homeland had been witness to tragedy for six years.

While Nazism had been wiped out in Europe, the encroachment of Stalin’s Red Army behind the Iron Curtain meant thousands of Poles who had fought against Hitler’s legions weren’t able to return to their homes, their families or to their land. Soviet oppression had replaced German tyranny as the occupying force in their homeland.

Recognizing that reality and appreciative of the valiant contributions of Polish soldiers during the war, the Canadian government offered refuge to many Polish vets, prisoners-of-war and refugees who were left stateless after the conflict. With a shortage of manual labour in rural Canada, the government offered full citizenship for these immigrants, provided they spent two years working on a farm.

The government’s offer attracted thousands of applicants. From 1946 to 1952, approximately 39,000 Polish veterans, displaced people and refugees poured into Canada. Over half of the new arrivals settled in Ontario and some sought to make their future in Lambton County.

Krystyna Stalmach’s father, Jan Pradyszczuk, was one of those new arrivals in Lambton. Pradyszczuk was a veteran who had fought alongside Allied forces at the Battle of Monte Cassino, a bloody, costly struggle in southern Italy that was the prelude to the Allies’ capture of Rome.

When fighting ceased in Italy and the young veteran realized there was no returning to his occupied homeland, so he decided to take up the Canadian government on its offer.

CALGARY: Sean Chu apologizes after linking Ireland marriage vote and bike lanes that ‘screw’ downtown

Published on: May 24, 2015
Last Updated: May 24, 2015 1:49 PM MDT

A Calgary city councillor has said he’s sorry he wrote on Twitter that Ireland voters’ endorsement of same-sex marriage was akin to a Calgary “social revolution” of separated bike lanes that would harm downtown businesses.

Sean Chu, a first-term councillor known for his inflammatory language on social media and at council, composed the tweet Saturday, and it was immediately met with surprise and anger.

The message read: “Congrats, Irish’s ‘social revolution’ on same sex marriage. We’ve our own ‘social revolution’its called ‘screw the D/T businesses’Cycletracks.”

Chu has been council’s most outspoken critic of the newly installed safe cycle tracks on several downtown streets. But he’s not spoken out on same-sex marriage, and some people questioned if he was criticizing it with his message.

“We really need to address how offensive Councillor Chu’s tweet is,” said Mike Morrison, a prominent activist in the recent push for gay-straight alliances to be allowed throughout the school system.

“Sean … No … just……..no,” remarked Kevin Olenick, who has hosted Chu on his local podcast.

Chu apologized by Sunday afternoon, and said he looks forward to marching in the Calgary Pride Parade in September.

“I unequivocally apologize for the tweet. Bad comparison. I absolutely support human & equal rights. I have marched before and will again,” he wrote.


After that tweet, council privately concluded Chu had violated the ethical conduct policy, and he personally apologized to the civil servant.

Toronto police investigate east end newsletter for anti-Semitism

Toronto police investigate east end newsletter for hate

Friday, May 22, 2015
Tags: Canada Beach Beaches Bernie Farber Canada Post CIJA Der Sturmer East York Ernst Zundel James Sears Jim Keegstra Len Rudner Leroy St. Germaine New Constitution Party Toronto Police Service Warren Kinsella Your Ward News


The cover of May’s Your Ward News

TORONTO — The Toronto Police Service’s hate crimes unit has opened an investigation into a newsletter delivered in the Beach and East York neighbourhoods of Toronto that residents say is anti-Semitic.

Police are acting on a complaint from a member of the public who received the May edition of Your Ward News in their mailbox, said Det.-Const. Kiren Bisla.

“We’re looking at it to see if it violates any hate laws,” Bisla told The CJN.

Complaints about the publication were first raised by a Jewish postal worker who objected to delivering the newsletter, which claims it is delivered to 48,000 homes and has 200,000 readers.

The May edition of the publication features on its cover photo-shopped images of a purportedly Jewish postal worker, with a beard, kippah and payot (sidelocks), a bagel by his side and spraying bagel crumbs from his mouth, saying “It’s the Holocaust all over again.” Next to that image is a pictures of two stereotypical Jewish lawyers, with long noses, seeking to determine whether a past issue of the magazine promoted hate.

Inside the magazine, you’ll find references to Jews and Israel that paints them as powerful, manipulative and invariably in a negative light. There is a  claim that the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris was “a staged false-flag operation likely perpetrated by the Israeli Mossad and the American CIA (the same two groups that dragged us into wars for Israel, by destroying  the Twin Towers and created the fake ‘ISIS’ threat.)”

Much of the material aimed at Jews was also employed by notorious anti-Semitic propagandists Jim Keegstra and Ernst Zundel: references to “ZioMarxist-controlled mainstream media;” a claim that “Marxist Jews in the Soviet Union” were responsible for killing 50 million Orthodox Christians; suggestions that the Holocaust “supposedly happened to your people;” that Jews have “an inherent supremacist attitude;” the claim that Ashkenazi Jews are really descendants of Turkish Khazars; and that Jews perpetrate massacres. A novel twist is the assertion that Jews were behind the Armenian genocide.

Canadian prisons are home to some 200 Jews whose kosher food is provided by the government

COVER STORY: Jews in Jail


Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Tags: News Chabad Chabad Chabanel Correctional Service Canada Dina-Hasida Mercy Jewish Family & Child Maison Belfield Menachem Matusof Montreal Ronald Weiss Zushe Silberstein


Canadian prisons are home to some 200 Jews. From kosher food to prayer services and religious counselling, a small, but dedicated group of rabbis are ensuring their needs aren’t forgotten.

When Rabbi Zushe Silberstein heard that the Jewish inmate standing before him in a Montreal jail was due to be released in just three days, he didn’t hesitate.

“My daughter is getting married this weekend,” he said. “I would be honoured if you could attend the wedding.”

The prisoner stared at him with unbelieving eyes, certain he had misheard. A rabbi inviting a newly released prisoner to a family wedding? It seemed impossible. But in the next breath, Rabbi Silberstein was offering to help arrange a suit if needed. It was clear his invitation came from the heart.

The conversation between the two men occurred two years ago, and that weekend, the ex-convict did indeed attend the wedding.

“No one knew where he came from, and at the wedding he danced with presidents of synagogues, family and friends, just like anyone else,” Rabbi Silberstein recalls. “At one point he approached me, clearly emotional, asking what kind of gift he could give the bride and groom. I told him, “The gift you’ll give will be a promise that never again will you go back to jail.’ He gave that gift and he’s leading a straight life now.”

The encounter was nothing extraordinary for Rabbi Silberstein, who heads Chabad Chabanel in Montreal and regularly visits Jewish inmates in Quebec jails. “We bring them food and sandwiches, we daven, put on tfillin with them and celebrate Jewish holidays with them,” he says. There’s a seder at Pesach, a Megillah reading on Purim, menorahs on Chanukah and services on Rosh Hashanah.

But it’s not just about pushing spirituality, he insists.

“My main thrust has always been to tell these marginalized Jews, ‘You’re not alone, you’re not forgotten. There’s someone out there who cares about you.’ We’re there to comfort, to advise them and to show them the Jewish community cares about them… Chabad is at the forefront of this care, here and everywhere else,” Rabbi Silberstein says. 

Naor Narkis encourages Israelis to emigrate to Germany, Canada and Australia

Israel’s high cost of living drive some elsewhere

Posted on 26 April 2015.

By Rabbi Dow Marmur

Rabbi Dow Marmur

Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM — Ideology, which was the backbone of Zionism before the State of Israel was established and decades thereafter, is said to be yielding to economics. A growing number of Israelis are allegedly more concerned about how to make ends meet and how to afford to buy a home than about national aspirations or the future of Jews and Judaism.

That’s why some expect great things from the new party Kulanu that has been assured a place in the next government and whose leader is to concentrate on improving the economic conditions for the country’s poorer citizens. The religious needs of the ultra-Orthodox and the nationalist aspirations of the right-wing politicians will have to yield at least a little to the financial needs of ordinary folk, particularly the young.

Naor Narkis purports to speak for many of them. Like most of his generation, after the end of his army service last year, he went abroad “to see the world,” first to Paris and then to Berlin. In Berlin he discovered that food and accommodation are considerably cheaper than in Israel. He wrote about it on Facebook by showing that the same Milky chocolate pudding snack cost much less in Berlin than in Tel Aviv. The response from his readers was massive and more young people sought to go to Berlin.

He has now turned his observation into something of a mission and is currently urging young Israelis to join him in Berlin because it’s cheaper to live there. To make it more dramatic he now also argues in favour of leaving Israel because of growing nationalism and too much religion in the country. Germany’s Nazi past that once deterred Israelis from even visiting has ceased to be a hurdle for even living there.

Though no doubt Narkis will encourage some to leave – he has now extended his mission also to Canada and Australia – nationalism and religion are two of the main reasons that continue to bring many Jews – from Germany, Canada and Australia and other countries – to Israel. The influx of young Jews to the Jewish state is infinitely greater than the outflow. Though there’s by now a sizeable community of young Israelis in Berlin and elsewhere in Europe and beyond, they’re said to constitute less than one percent of the young who’ve stayed put.

ALBERTA: Edmonton Police Service ready to offer job to USA Somali


The Edmonton (Alberta) Police Service in Canada has reached out to Isse, a29-year-old Somali-American from Columbus who said she dropped out of the Columbus police academy this year because she was prohibited from wearing her head scarf, or hijab.

Muslim woman receives other offers after quitting police academy
Head scarves for police OK elsewhere


Ismahan Isse
By Mark Ferenchik & Encarnacion Pyle
The Columbus Dispatch • Wednesday May 6, 2015 9:46 AM
Comments: 15 4754 66 5262
If the Columbus Police Division doesn’t change its policy banning head scarves for female Muslim officers, Ismahan Isse might have a couple of options outside Ohio.

The Edmonton (Alberta) Police Service in Canada has reached out to Isse, a29-year-old Somali-American from Columbus who said she dropped out of the Columbus police academy this year because she was prohibited from wearing her head scarf, or hijab.

The Dispatch wrote about Isse last week, and Staff Sgt. Mark Farnell, an Edmonton police recruiter, read about her dilemma online. He said Edmonton police designed a uniform for Muslim women that includes the head scarf.

“She really wanted to be a police officer,” Farnell said. “Why not touch base (and) see if she is interested in coming to Canada and take a look? She’s a great potential applicant to us.”

If interested, Isse would first have to become a permanent resident of Canada, a status she could be granted because of the job,Farnell said.

Edmonton has a growing Somali community and wants its police force to better reflect the city’s diversity, Farnell said. It currently has no Somali police officers.

Isse said she spoke to Farnell on Friday.“I’m actually considering it strongly,” she said of his offer.

She said she also was contacted by a representative of the Somali-American Police Association in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has the largest Somali population in the country. Columbus is No. 2.

But Isse, who has an associate degree in criminal justice and works as a temporary office worker for alogistics company, said she would prefer to stay in Columbus.

Isse said she did not wear her hijab during her four months at the academy, but wore it during preceding background interviews. She said the detective interviewing her told her she could not wear it during training.