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Sgt. Clifford Shnier. He served when he was 24 to 27 years old.

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Naomi Finkelstein (Clifford's neice) has scanned and sent many pictures, such as these, along with several documents (such as the May 1943 newspaper clippings and the three-page January 17, 1984 letter from Pip Beck).

This is a picture of Clifford and his younger sister Babe (Charlotte Finkelstein), taken in 1940 (so she would be about 17 years old here, and Cliff 24), in front of his older sister Bertha Kliman (and her husband Gordon's) house at 2277 Winnipeg Street in Regina.

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Another picture of Clifford and Babe. As the picture was apparently taken in 1940 and Clifford's date of enlistment was November 4, 1940, this must have been November or December, which would fit with the snow on the ground.

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This picture is from Babe, no doubt taken at the same time as the previous two.

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On the back it says: “Cliff & Babe in front of Bertha's house, Regina, 1941, before he left for overseas”.

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This picture was developed August 12, 1941, so was taken sometime before that at a Sunday brunch also at Bertha and Gordon Kliman's house in Regina. Clifford is in the centre at the front.

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Here are everyone's names.

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These next few pictures were likely taken the same day. Here is Clifford's younger sister Esther on the left, with sister Babe to her right, and her head is on brother Cecil's shoulder, Clifford is in front, and his sister Bertha is behind him, and brother Irving is at the right.

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On the left is Clifford's older brother Irving holding Bertha's daughter's (now Myra Wolch) puppy Beau and a stuffed panda bear (see the January 14, 2005 Remembrances section for more on “Panda”), with Clifford's younger sister Babe (Charlotte Finkelstein). To the right is Clifford's younger sister Esther, and older sister Bertha Kliman.

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Starting at the left is Eleanor (Clifford's older brother Irving's wife), Clifford's older brother Cecil, younger sister Babe, Ruth Paull kissing Clifford, and Clifford's Uncle Saul Silverman (his mother Sarah Shnier's sister Bertha Bernstein's husband), and Clifford's younger sister Esther.

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Here Clifford is in front of a lingerie store. The back of this picture is the next photograph.

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On the back of the above picture, in Clifford's handwriting, it says “I didn't have any coupons anyhow”.

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These next pictures are from Lanny Remis (husband of Esther, Clifford's younger sister). Lanny took this picture at the hospital near London, when Clifford was recovering from malaria (in June and July 1942). He is with Moe Fieldbloom.

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Here is Clifford. Carla Goldstein (Clifford's younger sister Esther's daughter) says that her father Lanny Remis confirms that this picture was taken by Lanny, in Lanny's room at his gunsite in England, at Hadleigh (which is just west of Leigh-on-Sea, which is just west of Southend-on-Sea). Lanny was also serving in the Canadian Army, and was posted overseas in the War.

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On the wall behind Clifford are two photographs, and here they are.

One picture is a portrait, and the other is of a woman in high heels and a long coat leaning against a building. Carla says that both pictures are of Carla's mother Esther, the “leaning” picture was probably taken at Casa Loma, during a visit to Toronto during the War, and Esther is wearing “her lovely sealskin coat”.

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Here is a picture of Clifford. This was taken by Lanny at his gunsite in Hadleigh (near Southend-on-Sea, in the south of England).

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Here is a picture of Clifford (left) with Lanny (Leonard) Remis, at Lanny's gunsite in England.

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Another picture of Clifford (right) and Lanny.

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These next photographs are from Naomi, who was looking through photographs that her mother Babe had. This is Bertha Bernstein Silverman, her daughter Pearl Silverman Herson, and Ruth Paull Shier, with Clifford.

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This is Clifford with Ruth Paull Shier, the photograph is stamped with the date "23 April 1941".

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Clifford while stationed in England.

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Clifford in front of a car, perhaps this suit was for the many-hour flights in the winter.

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On the back of the photograph Clifford has written "Smile for the birdie".

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Clifford with a moustache.

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Clifford while stationed in England.

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Clifford with H. L. Davis, in Barrie ?

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Clifford while stationed in England, perhaps this is his 1936, eight horsepower car, described by the Military as: "one Morris 8 tourer automobile, in a generally dilapidated condition of an approximate value of 15 to 20".

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Clifford and a buddy.

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This is the necklace which Clifford sent to his younger sister Babe for her wedding, which was on December 27, 1942. Naomi says “It is absolutely gorgeous”.

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Here is the note (larger image
here) that Clifford included when he sent the necklace to his sister Babe as a wedding gift. At the top, Babe has written “Sent Silver & Gold inlaid necklace from Africa for wedding gift, Dec. 42”.

Clifford writes:



On accounts I don't think I'll be able to get away in time (writing being ?? ??) I'm afraid I'll have to send this along to you without me.

If you don't receive it, write me at once and I'll try to find out if any of our ships went down around that time.

Everything OK here. Is Normie?? on his way over? I haven't heard from him yet. Does he know my address and how or where to get in touch with me?

You've been doing marvelously lately keep it up. Even if your letters soon start getting full of a wonderful guy. They'd still be something to read.


P.S. Can't get any engraving done over here so if you want to put anything on you'll have to do it there.


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These next two photographs are from Clifford Franklin Shnier. This first picture is of Irving and Clifford, taken in February 1941.

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Of this picture, Clifford Franklin writes:
The most notable item is the photo Pip sent me in 1984 or 1985 that she got from one of the surviving squadron members, showing Clifford shirtless at the controls of a Lancaster during some on-the-ground testing of the plane. Pip wrote that that sitting on the ground in the summer those planes were like greenhouses, and it's obviously a bright summer day – so bright that the picture quality suffered. What's interesting is seeing the dials in front of him exactly the same as the ones on the websites showing reconstructed Lancasters. And that aviator sunglasses were around in WWII.

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This picture is from Babe. At the top it says “Cliff far left”. They are in front of the right engine and propeller of an airplane.

As shown in the photographs of the Background section of this web site (and noted by Clifford Franklin Shnier), this plane is not a Lancaster (which had a different engine cowling, and a three-bladed propeller – and was much, much larger).

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This photograph is also from Babe. These are the controls of an aircraft, presumably one that Clifford flew. On the back of the photograph it seems to say “Glamor”.

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This picture is from Babe, perhaps it is the print she made from the negative Clifford sent her in his April 6, 1941 letter to her. I can't tell if this is Clifford or not. This picture is on heavier paper with a matte finish, and on the back it says “ard” and “Address”, so it could be part of a post card.

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This last picture from Babe shows someone on a ship at sea aiming an anti-aircraft gun, which is apparently a
Lewis automatic machine gun.

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In the summer of 2005, Norman Shnier (Clifford's brother, who also served in the War), Norman's wife Roberta and their oldest son John went to visit the Becklingen War Cemetery, in which Clifford Shnier is buried. The Cemetery is near Soltau, Germany, and they took these pictures.

Roberta later commented that Norman had intended to go for many years, but work and other distractions kept him from doing this until, Roberta says, Norman must have had “an inkling” that it was time to go. Indeed, Norman passed away two years later.

In fact, Norman had had a dream so vivid, he told his family about it – that Clifford came to him, upset, and demanded why he had never visited his grave. Norman's middle son David wonders if it was to see that Clifford's headstone needed a Mogen Dovid.

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This is Clifford's grave. Adjacent are the graves of the other crew from his aircraft.

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A request was submitted (in June 2007) to have the stone replaced with one without a cross. The story of this is at the bottom of the Scrapbook section, and a picture of the current headstone is a few photographs down.

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This is Norman Shnier at Clifford's grave, on May 23, 2005.

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On July 30, 2009, exactly 66 years after Clifford Shnier was shot down, this headstone, with Mogen Dovid, was erected.

At the top is the insignia for the Royal Canadian Air Force, which reads “Per Ardua ad Astra, Royal Canadian Air Force”. This latin is also used by the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces, such as Australia's, and has many translations, such as Through adversity to the stars, Through struggles to the stars, and Soaring to the heights and beyond to the stars.

Below that, the headstone reads: “Flying Officer C. Shnier, Pilot, Royal Canadian Air Force, 30th July 1943, Age 27.

Within the Star of David (Mogen Dovid) are the hebrew letters ת׳נ׳צ׳ב׳ה׳. This is typically included on all Jewish headstones, and is an acronym of the hebrew T’hee Nafsho Tz’rurah b’Tzror haChayeem – “May his soul be bound up in the bonds of life” (this paraphrases an excerpt from the Bible, first book of Samuel, verses 25:29) – that is, that he be remembered by the living, which gives him eternal life.

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This picture is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site at Searching for “Shnier” shows the Grave/Memorial Ref. as “14. E. 7.”. The Casualty Details include Casualty Type as “Commonwealth War Dead”, and Rank as “Flying Officer (Pilot)”. Becklingen War Cemetery details are here (you can click at the bottom of that page for a listing of the names, and the photograph).

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As promised by the RCAF, they sure take good care of the grounds.

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Allan Paull's daughter's mother-in-law (Renia Yontef) passed away in October, 2007 and I was at the Mount Sinai Memorial Park cemetery, which is on the north side of Wilson Avenue, east of Keele Street, in Toronto, Canada.

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While there, I noticed a memorial at the north end of the cemetery, and later went back to have a closer look.

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The memorial is in the Jewish War Veterans Memorial Park Association section, and to the right the sign (which appears to have been made using the sand-blasting method of headstones, but as it is stainless steel, it is very difficult to read) says:
D. Lou Harris Memorial Park, Owned by Toronto Hebrew Memorial Park. Administered by Jewish War Veterans Memorial Park Association.

Finding this on the Internet, Matthew Harris (a great-nephew of D. Lou Harris) forwarded the following information.

David Louis Harris was a leader in the Toronto and Canadian Jewish communities for many years (a picture and part of an article is here). Oldest of 13 children, he was born in Birmingham England on April 15, 1897 (to Harris Liborwich – later one of the first Jews on the Toronto Police Force, going by the name Harry Harris – and Esther Sklarek) and at 11 years won a scholarship and studied Electrical Engineering at the Polytechnic School of Birmingham. The family immigrated from England in 1911, and he enlisted in the army and went overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary forces, with whom he saw action in France in World War II. He remained in Europe for one year after the end of the Great War and returned to Canada. In late 1919 he established his own sales office and began importing merchandise from Europe. In 1921 he changed his business interests to the radio industry, and founded the Atlas Radio Corporation which became a pioneer in radio, television, and electronics in Canada. He travelled to Israel during the 1948 War of Independence to see first-hand what the people and troops needed. He was the national chairman of the State of Israel bond organization in Canada, a national vice-president of the Zionist Organization of Canada, national executive member of the Canadian Jewish Congress, vice-president of the American Technion Society, president of Holy Blossom Temple, and this list of volunteer leadership involvement goes on and on. He died October 22, 1972 while in Chicago campaigning for Israel. A beautiful letter written by his younger brother Fred is here.

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The well-maintained memorial is a four-sided column with a globe above it, with two Magen Davids as a roof (sort of sukkah-style), all surrounded by white cylindrical walls.

To the left of the walkway, a stone commemorates those who died in the Korean War, 1950 to 1953.

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To the right, the stone reads:
This Memorial Was Dedicated In Memory Of Our Canadian Jewish War Dead, September 16, 1979.
The stone continues with the names of the senior staff of the General Wingate Branch (see below for more about this) and J.W.V. (Jewish War Veterans) Memorial Park.

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This view better shows one of the Magen Davids.

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The four sides of the column have the names of servicemen who died in the wars, perhaps 100 names on each side. On the “S to Z” side, about 15 from the top, reads “F/O Clifford Charles Shnier” (complete with a “c” in Shnier – oh well, what can you do – but note that the names are alphabetical by surname and this order was done correctly). Clifford did not actually have a middle name, as shown for some of the entries in the Scrapbook section of this web site, somehow some records show him as having a middle name of Charles, and in some places he has a middle initial of C.

In October 2007, I mentioned this memorial to Roberta Shnier, who told me that many years ago (perhaps in 1990 or so), she and Norman would frequently take their friend Maggie Reeves (from whom I bought my condominium in about 1984) to Mount Sinai cemetery, to visit the grave of Maggie's husband Otto. While there, they were the first in the family to notice this memorial, and Clifford's name on it.

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I had never heard of The General Wingate Branch, but just a few weeks later this exhibit was in the lobby at
Temple Sinai.

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In each of the top corners of this first panel is the official badge of the Royal Canadian Legion, which includes the latin “Memoriam Eorum Retinebimus” (We Will Remember Them). The text is as follows:

General Wingate
Branch 256

Throughout Canadian History, there is an impressive Jewish presence in the Armed Forces.
Wingate 256 Veterans stand tall among those who gave selfless service to Canada

In the 1920s, long before the name it now bears, the Jewish Brigade was a member of the Great War Association. While its first President was installed in 1932, a charter for a Jewish Veteran's Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion was granted in 1934. As a compromise, 1933 was chosen for the “Anniversary” date. In the mid' 40s, the Jewish Brigade officially became the General Wingate Branch. The name was chosen to honour Major General Orde Charles Wingate, D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order), a non-Jew and distinguished British Army officer, who became an ardent Zionist after he arrived in Palestine in 1936.

At the beginning, the Legion Branch met at a Veteran's Hall at Crawford and College Street in Toronto. After assisting the Bloor Jewish Community Centre to raise funds to build the “Y”, Branch 256 was to have a meeting place, but instead was given funds toward the purchase of their own house on Bathurst Street, north of St. Clair Avenue West. The house was expropriated for the Spadina Subway in 1968. The Branch moved to Eglinton Avenue West and finally to its present location in the Zionist Centre on Marlee Avenue.

Wingate 256 helps support the Sunnybrook Hospital Veteran's Wing and was instrumental in forming the Hospital's Jewish Chapel. There are monthly Shabbat Services in cooperation with several Synagogues. Holidays are observed, as well as various programs.

There is an Annual Memorial March and Service at Mt. Sinai Cemetery, where stands a magnificant cenotaph, designed by Toronto architect Bernie Rasch, funded and maintained by the Branch – a place which memorializes Jewish men and women who died during World War II and are buried overseas or missing in action, partisans who fought the Nazis and those who fought in Israel's War of Independence. There is also a Stone of Remembrance for those who died in Korea.

Once a year, Veterans distribute poppies. Funds raised are disbursed to assist Veterans and their families, hospitals and medical research.

In 1995, members of the General Wingate Branch were guests of the City of Amsterdam for 12 memorable days. They marched proudly with thousands of other Canadian Veterans. The Dutch people were deeply grateful to their Canadian liberators.

The members of Wingate Branch 256 reflect with pride and satisfaction their continuing accomplishments and service to Canada.

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Below that panel is the following:

Orde Charles Wingate

Major General (1903-44)

Born to a religious Christian family and a firm believer in the Bible, Orde Charles Wingate passionately embraced the prophetic vision of Jewish redemption and the Jews' ultimate return to Eretz Yisrael. During his service there, he worked to help realize that ideal.

The son of a British officer, Wingate was born in India, received a military education and was commissioned in 1923. He served in India and then Sudan, where he studied Arabic and Semitics, and acquired a familiarity with the Middle East. Wingate was recognized as a talented officer, and by 1936 he earned the rank of Captain. That same year, he was transferred to Eretz Yisrael, and served there for the next three years.

Wingate arrived as an intelligence officer at a time when small bands of Arab rioters were regularly attacking the British and the Jews. To counter this offensive, Wingate organized and trained “Special Night Squads”, comprised primarily of Haganah fighters, who were successfully employed throughout Yishuv. Their tactics were based on the strategic principals of surprise, mobility and night attacks, and they served effectively as defensive units, successfully pre-empting and resisting Arab attacks.

Wingate maintained good contacts with the heads of the Yishuv and the Haganah. He learned Hebrew and demonstrated his ardent belief that the Jews were entitled to their homeland. He also recognized the need for a working military force, and he dreamed of heading the army of the future Jewish state. Because of his efforts and support, he was calld in the Yishuv “Hayedid” ... the friend.

Wingate's intense support for the Zionist viewpoint was controversial, and in 1939, the British succumbed to Arab pressure and transferred Wingate from Eretz Yisrael. His passport was stamped with the restriction that he not be allowed to re-enter the country. His personal involvement with the Zionist cause was curtailed, but many of those he trained became heads of the Palmach and later, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Wingate returned briefly to Great Britain, but recognized for his military talent, he was transferred to further active duty. In 1941, he led the force in Ethopia against the Italians and was a major figure in liberating the country. He then worked in Burma, organizing and training the Chindits, a special jungle unit that operated behind Japanese lines. Wingate was killed in an airplane crash in Burma in 1944, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, USA.

Wingate's friendship for the Yishuv and his contributions to its defense have been recognized at various named sites in Israel, including the College of Physical Education near Netanya.

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The centre three panels have photographs of Jewish war veterans.

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The top of the right panel is about the photographer.

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On April 28, 2012 I was in Winnipeg for Clifford's older brother Cecil's funeral the following day. I visited the Hebrew Sick Benefit Society cemetery (Clifford's parents Sarah and Moishe, and Clifford's Grandfather Mendel are buried in this cemetery) and in front is this war memorial.

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At the base on the west side is the inscription Erected by the Hebrew Sick Benefit Society, followed by the common headstone abbreviation, in hebrew, for May his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.

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And also on the west side, about mid-way is Clifford's name, in both english and hebrew.

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At the base of the east side is the inscription Sacred to the memory of our boys who made the supreme sacrifice in World War II, that all men might be free, 1939 - 1945.

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This notice was placed in the August 2, 2012 issue of the
Canadian Jewish News (a higher-resolution image is here).

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This new war memorial monument is on the grounds of the north Bathurst Street Jewish Community Centre, which used to have the Jewish Y building (which used to be called the YM / YWHA – the Young Men's - Young Women's Hebrew Association). Flanked by the Canadian and Israeli flags, the monument commemorates Jews who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

The monument is a circle with four vertical stone supports, two support a polished stone with text, and the other two are seats.

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This side of the monument commemorates those who died serving Canada.

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This is on the right support of the monument.

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The centre section lists 574 names, in alphabetical order by surname.

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Clifford Shnier is listed among these.

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This is the other side of the memorial.

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It has the text "Dedicated at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 2011 to honour the 16,984 Jewish men and women who served in the Canadian armed forces during the Second World War. We also salute the 1,500,000 Jewish Soldiers and Partisans who served in all Allied Armed Forces. They fought on land, on sea, and in the air, in any and all ways necessary to free the world of Nazi and fascist tyranny and made possible the freedoms we enjoy today. Erected by The Jewish War Veterans of Canada Toronto Post."

Below that is the badge of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada and the text "With the assistance of: Bank of Nova Scotia, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation, The Department of Veterans Affairs, And the Generous Support of the Toronto Jewish Community"

Below that are 16 smaller plaques, each with about 30 names (about 480 names).

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Norman Shnier's name is among those listed. His son Paul tells me that some time before he passed away, he ensured that Clifford's name was included in this memorial.