Justice for the fallen: Canadian Jewish war heroes’ graves corrected, just in time for Remembrance Day

The gravestones for Jules Freedman, past and present. (Left photo courtesy Commonwealth War Graves Commission; right photo courtesy Chris Taylor/WW2TV)

Jules Freedman, Max Sucharov and Archie Adelman have a few things in common. All three served in the Canadian military; all three were killed in 1944; all three were Jews. But history would bind them together in a different way, too: for decades, on each of their gravestones in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in Normandy, France, was not a Jewish Star of David, but a Christian cross.

It took six months and several emails and calls flying between The CJN Daily host Ellin Bessner, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Martin Sugarman, the archivist for the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, in London, England—but, eventually, the error was corrected. Today, all three tombstones bear the proper Star of David, cementing their legacy as Canadian Jewish war heroes.

Sugarman joins the show to discuss how the mistake was made and how it was resolved. Sugarman has made it his personal mission to find incorrect or missing Jewish soldiers’ graves around the world and fix any errors. He’s helped 200 fallen soldiers over 30 years so far—and is still working on more.

What we talked about:

  • Watch the WW2TV episode with Ellin leading a virtual tour of Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery on YouTube
  • Read “Britain to replace crosses for 3 Jewish Canadians killed in WWII” at ellinbessner.com
  • Watch the ceremony of Lawrence MacAulay awarding the Veterans Affairs Canada Commendation medal to the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka of Ottawa on YouTube


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network; find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.