September 13, 2004

Two worth remembrance

I'm currently helping organize a memorial for Wednesday, Sept. 15 for J.K. Macalister and Frank Pickersgill, two U of T students who signed up for military intelligence, volunteered to work with the French Resistance, were captured and died in Buchenwald. There's a lovely garden in their memory at U of T that was just recently restored, so we can do the 60-year commemoration properly. It's the only grave they have, really... their bodies were consumed in the same crematory fires as the concentration camp's tens of thousands of other victims.

Work with the Special Operations Executive in 1943 had to one of the most hazardous duties imaginable... of the first ten Canadians parachuted into France with the SOE, seven were tortured and executed. They didn't die on a battlefield, but their passing up of multiple opportunities for safer billets, plus their courage right to the very end, remains an inspiring story. Both men were just out of university, and like so many of us, taking a year off to travel in Europe when the Nazi hammer fell... the choices they made from then on, out of a deep concern for those living under oppression, may have led inexorably to their horrible end, but I still have to believe they were the right ones to make.

Anyway, if you'd like to know more, there's more information about the memorial at the 2 Intelligence Company website.

Posted by BruceR at 02:24 PM