One Canadian’s quest to identify 861 unknown Israeli soldiers

The grave of Bella Papierowicz, 21, on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. (Photo courtesy Giving a Face to the Fallen)

This year, June 10 marks is the 54th anniversary of the end of Israel’s Six Day War, which claimed the lives of nearly 800 Israeli soldiers. It was hardly the only war that led to sacrifices by Israeli men and women. According to official estimates, about 25,000 Israelis have died for their country, spanning from the years before, during and in the aftermath of the establishment of the State of Israel.

However, not all of the deceased have had their stories properly told. As many as 861 Israelis gave their lives and remain unknown. That’s where Giving a Face to the Fallen comes in. It’s a non-profit, volunteer-run Israeli group that memorializes those who have fallen in military operations around the time of Israel’s independence in 1948.

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, our news podcast, host Ellin Bessner speaks with Toronto-born Stephen Glazer, a social worker and the only Canadian currently volunteering with Giving a Face to the Fallen. Glazer is working to track down the identities of these unknown soldiers and seek out any living relatives.

What we talked about:

  • Learn more about Giving a Face to the Fallen at their website,
  • Watch an Israel news broadcast about Bella Papierowicz, 21, who was a member of the Haganah, and Lechi, who was killed in 1947 in Jerusalem, at YouTube
  • Browse the official list of known fallen Israeli soldiers at

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. Find more great Jewish podcasts at

The best is yet to come.

This website—the one you’re on right now—is just the tip of the iceberg. The CJN is building a whole new platform, which will be launching summer 2021. Jewish Canadians will be able to find community events, listen to relevant podcasts, connect with national networks and, of course, read breaking news stories, in-depth analysis and unique perspectives that matter. Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on social media, to be the first to see our newest iteration go live.