Monday, August 29, 2022

Victory, Defeat, And A Capacity For Evil

Mary Reid was a member of the Cree and the first Indigenous servicewoman in the country's history. A famous photograph of her accompanies her profile. 

At home, propaganda posters like these might be seen.

One of those instances of ordinary men rising to the occasion. James Roberts had been a manager at an ice cream facility before the war, started off as a junior officer and rose to the rank of a brigader by the end of it. Highly decorated for his efforts, he would take part in war crimes proceedings, but give all credit to his men, calling them "the finest group of men I had ever known."

His uniform and medal set are here.

Bert Kahrel was a teenager in the Netherlands during the last months of the occupation. His identification papers, altered to hide his age, saved him from being conscripted by the Germans.

Faces that say it all: Canadian soldiers and Dutch civilians on VE-Day.

That same day, photos from Ottawa and London- a day of all days.

Aba Bayefsky went to war as a commissioned war artist, and documented Bergen-Belsen. A couple of his works from that concentration camp are reproduced alongside his profile, but just too disturbing to photograph. His quote about the Holocaust speaks volumes, and reminds me of a quote of a Canadian serviceman in the permanent galleries of the War Museum in regards to the Holocaust- this is why we fought World War Two.

Women served during the war and in its aftermath. We'll pick up here tomorrow.


  1. Hello,
    I am thankful for these brave men and women! Take care, have a happy new week!

  2. ...humans are a complex bunch.

  3. i notice the pipe. my grandpa did smoke. never knew him but i like to think of him. always learning when you visit here. have a super great week. ( ;

  4. @italiafinlandia: there was.

    @Gemel: he did.

    @Eileen: me too.

    @Tom: we are.

    @Beth: my grandfather did too.

  5. Very, very brave people. Thank you for introducing them to us William. Great post!

  6. Bayesfsky would be sad to know a monstrous evil continues in the Ukraine.

  7. History can be depressing and we will never learn from it.

  8. Fascinating post and photos of WWII ~ especially Mary Reid of the Cree ~ grateful for all the heroines and heroes.

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  9. The faces say it all about the end of the war.

  10. @Denise: you're welcome.

    @Maywyn: indeed.

    @RedPat: it does.

    @Magiceye: so it seems.

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Sharon: there are.

    @Red: they do indeed.

  11. I love photos of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian Forces. Men from this island were involved in the liberation and spoke of that time.

  12. Thank you, William. These photos do tell such a powerful story.

  13. Any historical stories about the germans/nazis etc makes me sad especially since I have Jewish ancestry, I feel for my people.

  14. Nive photograph of Mary 'Greyeyes' Reid and the chief of her tribe.

  15. Some good human interest here. How different people get along in situations is unique.