CSL holds its annual Remembrance Day Ceremony

A Remembrance Day commemoration ceremony took place on Friday, November 8, in the Council Chamber at City Hall. Members from the local Legion Brigadier Frederick Kish Branch 97, local schools and dignitaries  took part.


A group shot.


It was moved indoors due to the cold temperatures.  Three local veterans were recognized: George Nashen, Allan Rubin and former city councillor Isadore Goldberg.  Jean-Marc Dubois, the impeccably bilingual and valuable Manager of Operations  for Public Safety, served as the emcee. Former Councillor Allan J. Levine, whose late father was a veteran, is the president of the Legion. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, delivered remarks

With Isadore Goldberg.

There was the laying of wreaths and the participation of six  local schools: Merton and John Grant from the EMSB, JPPS and Bialik, Hebrew Academy, des Amis-du-Monde. The latter is the most significant take back from this ceremony. We need to continue to educate youngsters about the reason for Remembrance Day. There are few veterans with us today to share their stories. Eventually Remembrance Day will also place more of focus on the modern-day wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.


Student participation.

See Glenn J. Nashen's outstanding blog.

Veteran's Day marked at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall in dignified ceremony

The City of Côte Saint-Luc marked Remembrance Day on Friday, November 10 in the Council Chamber at City Hall, moving the event indoors rather than brave the chilly temperatures outside at Veteran's Park.

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Officials with our few veterans and students after the event.

 There was a lot of warmth inside as our Director of Public Safety Jordy Reichson oversee an excellent program. The hall was filled to capacity and when explaining why  we were holding this a day prior to Remembrance Day, Director Reichson pointed behind him to a large group of students from Merton Elementary School, Jewish People's and Peretz Schools (JPPS) and Hebrew Academy.

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The room was full.

 Each year there are less veterans who fought for our country in World War II with us, At the ceremony, members of the Royal Canadian Legion Brigadier  Frederick Kish Branch #97 were represented. Their president is Allan  J. Levine, who served as a city councillor for 32 years up until his defeat in last week's elections. Allan did not fight in any wars, but his late father Sol did. So each year he devotes his time to selling poppies and working closely with the vets.

This marked the first public appearance for new Councillors David Tordjman, Mitch Kujavsky and Oren Sebag. Former Councillor Sam  Goldbloom also joined us.

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Allan J. Levine speaks.

The indoor ceremony was very dignified, with remarks by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and  D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, Director Reichson served as emcee. Police Station 9 Commander Jean O'Malley, Richard Liebmann of the Montreal Fire Department,  Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich  from Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation and Father Peter Laviolette from St. Richard's Parish did some readings as did students from the three schools, some of whom became overwhelmed with emotions.

Having the students with us was essential as we provided a lesson in authentic learning. Afterwards some Merton students approached one of the veterans. "Thank you for your service," they said, honoured to make his acquaintance.



VE Day 2017 was a pedagogical affair

For many years the annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration took place on a Sunday. In attendance were veterans from the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, dignitaries and members of the community. The crowds were never exceptionally large and what we clearly missed was the younger generation.

A Merton student reads "In Flander's Field" as Jordy Reichson looks on.

When fellow Councillor Sidney Benizri and I were appointed co-chairs of this year’s VE Day event, we were committed to making it an educational exercise. So we scheduled it for a Monday morning (May 8) at a centrally located school – the Marymount Adult Education Centre  on Parkhaven Avenue. Principal Jacques Monfette was most gracious in making all of the arrangements. We virtually filled the 350 seat Syd Wise Auditorium with students from the two host schools – Marymount Adult Education Centre and John Grant High School; Merton and Willingdon Elementary Schools; and Solomon Schechter Academy.

The ceremony highlighted the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945. Our Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson coordinated much of the ceremony and served as a superb master of ceremonies. He put VE Day into perspective, provided some historical notes and showed this  excellent video.


Two students helped lay wreaths at the front of the stage. English Montreal School Board Commissioner Bernard Praw and Mr. Monfette read the Act of Remembrance. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, Israel Consul General Ziv Nevo Kulman and Elisabeth Prass (on behalf of D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum) gave remarks. Two students from Merton read From Flanders Field. We concluded with the singing of the national anthem.

A group photo of dignitaries and the Merton students.

We were fortunate to have with us veteran Sonny Rubin, 92 years young.

“Seventy-two years ago very young men went to war,” said Mayor Brownstein. “You had to be 18 years of age. Some 15, 16 and 17 year olds got fake IDs so they could get into the armed forces. They did this to insure our freedom.”

Ziv Nevo Kulman

Housefather pointed out that this year’s commemoration of VE Day coincides with the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “No matter who is in power,” he said, “you have rights.”

Regarding VE Day, Housefather noted that when he was our mayor VE Day was coordinated by the veterans. “We had dozens of veterans in their 70s who had fought and come back and created Côte Saint-Luc,” he recalled. “They could have come back jaded or disgruntled. But they came back and built our community.”

The Consul General told the audience that his father was a survivor of the Holocaust whose family hid in a little underground shelter and was liberated by the Soviets. “I would not be here had it not been for the Allies,” he said.

Raising the elections in France, the Consul General expressed deep concern over the fact that Marine Le Pen, a candidate whose party denies the Holocaust, got 11 million votes. “We have a very important role to remedy that so denial and revisionism does not happen again,” he said.

Thanks to staffer Jordy Reichson, Regine Banon, Cornelia Ziga and Laura Trihas for coordinating the event. We will next convene to honour our veterans on Friday, November 10 (11 am) for our Remembrance Day commemoration at Veteran’s Park next to City Hall.

“Côte Saint-Luc is proud to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Mayor Brownstein. “Our veterans contributed in ending the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis. Attending this ceremony is a concrete and visible manner to honour them and to reflect on the sacrifices made.”

VE Day commemoration moves to a weekday to attract students

The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration takes place on Monday, May 8 at 10 am at the Marymount Adult Educational Centre at 5785 Parkhaven . This is the former Wagar High School, which will soon be renamed Wagar Adult Education Centre.

The ceremony will highlight the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Europe form the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945.

A scene from last year's VE Day.

In attendance will be members of the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of the Côte Saint-Luc city council, dignitaries, veterans and residents.  Also this year, in order to sensitize children to this commemoration and in attendance, the city has decided to hold the event on a weekday. Several local schools will be present with their Grade 5 students.

“Côte Saint-Luc is proud to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “Our veterans contributed in ending the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis. Attending this ceremony is a concrete and visible manner to honour them and to reflect on the sacrifices made.” 

I am proud to be co-chairing the event with  my fellow Councillor Sidney Benizri.

Link to moving obituary of former CSL resident John Herman Franken

Anthony Davis recently wrote this excellent obituary about the late  John Herman Franken, a long-time Côte Saint-Luc resident and member of the Canadian Legion Brigadier Kisch Branch #97. He was a familiar site at our commemorations of VE and Remembrance Days and regulary spoke to students at schools.

"To me he was always uncle Johnny, a close family friend ever since I can remember," recalled Councillor Ruth Kovac. "His late wife Sonja probably one of the sweetest human beings. My mom and he died about a week or so apartL two survivors with a great outlook on life.  Johnny was a mensch. He had a wonderful sense of humour and as I child loved his few slight of hand tricks. He was unique man."

Click here to read about John Herman Franken




A salute to our Veterans on the eve of V-E Day

Veterans and dignitaries. I am third from the top left.

The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration in the City of Côte Saint-Luc took place on Sunday, May 1. Due to inclement weather we could not have it at Veterans Park, so we moved it inside to the Council Chamber for a very dignified and well run ceremony, which highlight the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945.

The room was crowded, but with very few young people.

In attendance were members of the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, our entire city council, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum and members of the diplomatic corps. The room was full, but with the exception of the relatives of some of the veterans and others in the room the lack of youth in attendance was once again very evident. This was an exercise of authentic learning. We still have veterans who fought for this country among us. I spoke to many of my colleagues after the event, notably Councillor Allan J. Levine. He is our liaison with the Legion. His late dad was a veteran. Allan was a school teacher.

“If the students do not come to us, we must go to them,” Allan stated.

I agree whole heartedly.

Some of our vets.
Jeremy Nashen

My colleague, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, brought his nearly seven year old son Jeremy to the event. Jeremy is a sharp kid and he knew exactly what this ceremony was about. It does not hurt that his grandfather George Nashen is a veteran.

Councillor Ruth Kovac was there with her mom, Ilse Zilversmit, 89, a survivor of the Holocaust. They laid a wreath along with Ruth’s daughter Debra and her two little girls.

Ruth Kovac, her mom daughter and grandchildren.

Housefather noted how this was his first time speaking at this event as one of 338 Members of Parliament who now decide whether to send our troops off to war. He spoke proudly of his government is giving more funding to veterans’ hospitals and to soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning from action.

MNA Birnbaum linked this ceremony to Yom Hashoah, the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day and the annual commemoration which will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at the Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in CSL. The Quebec government formally acknowledges this day thanks to the actions of Birnbaum’s predecessor Lawrence Bergman, who was also in the room.

Mayor Brownstein lays a wreath.

Mayor Brownstein noted how the veterans who fought for our country “are our heroes, which is why we mark VE Day each year.

Mary Eileen Earl from the United States Consulate made quite the presentation. She told us that she volunteered to represent her country at this event. Why? It turns out that she was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, who now works as a Foreign Service officer. “I have served my country since the age of 17,” she said. “Canada is my 13th country.”

CSL native Michael Polak, who serves as Honourary Consul for the Netherlands, spoke as did Rabbi Michael Wolff and Father Peter Laviolette and Police Station 9 Commander Jean O’Malley. The Maple Leaf Wing Concert Band played beautiful music to fit with the theme.

US consul
Mary Eileen Earl from the US Consulate.

Congratulations to our staff, notably Laura Trihas and Jordy Reichson, for putting together a first class event. We will reconvene for Remembrance Day on November 11 at the cenotaph at Veterans Park, which honours the memory of those who gave their lives in the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War. Veterans Park is located next to the Bernard Lang Civic Centre, 5801 Cavendish Blvd.

A nice reception was held after the program.

To see all of the photos taken by our Darryl Levine click here.

Councillor Nashen wrote this excellent blog.

Student participation adds a very important touch to CSL Remembrance Day ceremony

Over the years Remembrance Day ceremonies in Côte Saint-Luc have been held in the cold and sparsely attended. For this reason, we do a more elaborate program each May for VE (Victory Day in Europe).   Thanks to the initiative of our Director of Public Safety Jordy Reichson,  November 11, 2015 was a much different story.  First of all, the weather was far better than we can usually expect at this time of year. We also had a very solid attendance, bolstered by students from Bialik High School and Hebrew Academy.

With Bialik students.

"We gather here in Veteran’s Park on Remembrance Day to honour the brave men and women who fought and who fell in the trenches, in the hospitals and on the blood-stained battlefields, in the defence of Canada and in the defence of freedom," said Mr. Reichson. "Those brave Canadians  gave up their lives and their innocence, so that we could live in a world of peace. The Great War, which ended just over 100 years ago, was dubbed the War to End all Wars. Sadly, it was not to be, as Canadian soldiers returned to the front lines in the Second World War, in the Korean War, in peacemaking and peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, in the Persian Gulf, in Cyprus, in Rwanda, in Somalia and most recently, in Afghanistan."

In reference to the students in attendance, Mr. Reichson noted, "this year, we welcome the students of two of our schools to join our Remembrance Day ceremony, for it is they, the children of today that will be the leaders of tomorrow. It is they, who will teach the stories of these veterans when there are none left to tell. It is they that may one day don the uniform, answer the call, and stand guard for the freedoms that we hold dear. To protect the society in which we are free to speak our minds, free to practice our religions, free to elect our leaders, and free to gather. These are not guaranteed universal freedoms, but ones that must be constantly protected and defended, by those who have served, those who continue to serve and those that will serve in the future."

Jordy Reichson

The Public Safety Honour Guard  marched in the colours and the Bialik High School choir sang  our national anthem, followed by the Last Post and two minutes of silence. The choir, guided by Lorna Smith, sang two more songs and a student from Hebrew Academy read  In Flander's Field. Montreal Police Station 9 Chief Jean O'Malley,  veteran Frank Levine of the Brigadier General Frederick Kisch Branch #97 recited the Act of Remembrance in French and English.  I joined Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Ruth Kovac and Sam Goldbloom in laying a wreath as did others.

"The student involvement really made a major difference to the event," said Councillor Brownstein. "I had wonderful conversations with the students before the ceremony began.  They were very glad to participate and learned more than they could at school from their involvement.  Our efforts to provide an educational aspect to this event and others was very much appreciated."

Frank Levine

Added Councillor Kovac: "Remembrance day is solemn and a great occasion to teach the next generation."Councillor Levine, a former school teacher, was elated with the student involvement.

Marking Remembrance Day in Côte Saint-Luc

I attended Remembrance Day ceremonies at Veteran's Park in Côte Saint-Luc on November 11. In past years the weather has been cold and the turnout dismal.

This year, at a time when some members of our military have lost their lives due to homegrown terrorists, Remembrance Day took on a new meaning across the country. In Côte Saint-Luc, warm temperatures for this time of year graced our morning. Our own veterans were out in force, headed by president Frank Levine. We also had a nice turnout from our Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (vCops),  senior staff and Police Station 9 Commander Marc Cournoyer. Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Allan J. Levine, Sam Goldbloom and I represented council.  This was a very brief ceremony. We laid wreaths and heard the last post via trumpet. President Levine thanked all for coming and we went our separate ways, all expressing deep appreciation for the role our veterans have played in different wars.

Members of council with veterans, Police Commander Cournoyer and Public Safety officials.

It is sad to think that today, with terrorism rearing its ugly head around the world, young Canadian soldiers are being sent out to battle...sad because it ensures that we will be marking Remembrance Day for many generations to come.










Experiencing a day of remembrance in Côte Saint-Luc at VE Day and Yom Hashoah

Sunday, April 27 was quite a day in the City of Côte Saint-Luc. In the morning we hosted the annual Victory in Europe (VE  Day)  program at Veteran’s Park and City Hall.  That same evening, well more than 1,000 people packed Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation for the annual Yom Hashoah commemoration.

While Côte Saint-Luc still does mark Remembrance Day on November 11, over the years we have done VE Day in a much bigger way. The weather is generally nicer, an important factor given the age of our surviving veterans, and therefore it makes more sense. Due a number of scheduling conflicts, we held the event a bit earlier this year. There was a good crowd on hand at Veteran’s Park. Frank Levine, the dynamic president of The Brigadier Kish Branch #97 of the Royal Canadian Legion oversaw the ceremony with Councillors Allan J. Levine and Ruth Kovac as co-chairs. Our invaluable communications manager Regine Banon coordinated all of the logistics. The Consul Generals of Israel, Great Britain and the Netherlands (in this case the honourary Consul Michael Polak) laid wreaths as did  Mayor Anthony Housefather, newly elected D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum,  his predecessor Lawrence Bergman, Men’s Club president Sidney Margles and Station 9 Police Commander Marc Cournoyer .

Mike George Vets
With Mayor Housefather and veterans Sidney Barnet and George Nashen.


“World War II was fought because of a lust for power and prejudice,” said Frank Levine. “Discrimination based on race, religion or sex is no longer acceptable. Has this new world erased the lust for power and prejudice? The informed citizen would say no.”

Israel  Consul General Joel Lion said he knows about wars firsthand only too well. He shared with us the fact that his own son is now serving in an elite unit in the Israeli Army. “I know what it is like to be the father of a child at war,” he said.


The  Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre once again did an outstanding job with the presentation of Yom Hashoah.  The format they have in place does not change year to year, nor should it. We are so fortunate to have survivors of this terrible period in human history with us to share their stories. Following an introduction from event co-chairs Judith Nemes Black Joyce Rappaport and Raizel Candib, Consul General Lion took to the bimah.  In a powerful address he provided shocking accounts of 21 incidents of anti-Semitism which have occurred in the last two weeks alone around the world in places like New York City, Ohio, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Franceand the Ukraine. “History told us that only an independent State of Israel will ensure that we do not have another Holocaust,” he stated.

The traditional six candles were lit – symbolizing the six   million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

The Schlomowitz family light a candle.


The ceremony perpetuates the memory of all those who were murdered during the Holocaust and honours those who survived. It reminds us of our collective responsibility to remember the Holocaust and to protect individuals and communities from oppression, hate, racism and discriminatory policies.

This year’s theme, 1944 – and the trains kept going, spoke to the horrific events of 1944 and as a sub-theme, honoured the memory of the Jews of Hungary, most of whom were deported and murdered in the space of a few months during that year. Six Holocaust survivors, symbolizing the six million victims of the genocide of the Jews during World War II,  lit memorial candles. They  shared their memories of 1944 through short video testimonies.

In these video clips, Agnes Kent recouned how she was saved by Raoul Wallenberg. Charles Akerman spoke  about his family and his mother’s courage in leaving him with a Catholic family that would save him in a small French village. Daisy Gross spoke with great emotion of her hidden childhood under the protection of her parents’ cook, while they were murdered by the Nazis. Joe Fellner shared his journey from a ghetto in Hungary, through deportation to Auschwitz and forced labor, and finally survival of a death march. Meier Schlomowitz reflected on his life in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania, until his deportation to the Landsberg concentration camp, where he was released. Lilly Toth explained how she escaped a shooting by the Arrow Cross in Hungary, pretending she was dead, washing up on the shore of a river and being rescued by German soldiers who did not know she was Jewish.

The commemoration included poems and short readings in English, French, Hebrew and Yiddish, as well as songs performed by the Bialik High School Choir. A song in Ladino was performed by well-known soprano and cantor, Sharon Azrieli Perez.

Yom Hashoah was declared Holocaust Memorial Day in Quebec in 1999 and in Canada in 2005. 

I would like to commend several of my constituents from District 2 who were involved with the committee to organize this event:Joseph Fishman, Paula Bultz, Ruth Najman, Marcel Tenenbaum and Renata Zajdman. Another District 2 resident, Natalie Constantine, performed sign language translation and the Bialik High School Choir headed by Lorna Smith did its usual impressive job.

David Birnbaum was on hand, but nobody from the Charter loving Parti-Québecois nor the CAQ. Municipally it was nice to see a city councillor from Rosemount, Guillaume Lavoie, on hand alongside his NDG colleague from Projet Montréal Peter McQueen, NDG-Côte des Neiges Borough Mayor Russell Copeman, Councillor Lionel Perez, municipal reps from other cities and towns and NDP Member of Parliament Tyrone Benskin. During the recitation of names of those who perished during the Holocaust, radio personality Tommy Schnurmacher (the child of survivors) took part.

Congratulations to the committee and coordinator Eszter Andor for a well run event which should be put on full video and shown in schools. About 4,000 survivors still live in Montreal today. A number of them are still involved as volunteers with the Holocaust Memorial Centre, which, together with its Remembrance Committee, organizes the annual Yom Hashoah commemoration.

The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the Holocaust, while sensitizing the public to the universal perils of antisemitism, racism, hate and indifference.

See Councillor  Glenn J. Nashen's blog and his excellent video.

Remembrance Day in Côte Saint-Luc 2013

The City of Côte Saint-Luc commemorated  Remembrance Day with a small ceremony at our very own Veterans Park on November 11. Leading up to this date, members of the Canadian Legion Brigadier Kisch Branch #97 visited schools and community groups. They also could be scene at neighbourhood stores and locales selling poppies.  Of course, the Legion's significant event each year is held to mark VE Day, when favorable  weather conditions generally prevail.

Jessica Laventure,  the superb weather forecaster/reporter for the Global Television Morning News, broadcast live from Legion headquarters from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Jessica sat with Legion president Frank J. Levine (both pictured below) and over the course of several segments, he shared with her some fascinating stories of his experience during World War II. Here is one of the segments.


Also in Côte Saint-Luc, the Marymount Adult Education Centre held its first Remembrance Day ceremony since relocating to our community a number of years ago. Congratulations to Principal Cynthia Koomas, Vice-Principal Joan MacMillan (the initiator of the event) and their team for a job well done. Marymount caters to adult students, mainly new immigrants, studying English as  a Second Language. They also have 20 classes of special needs students.

The program began with a piper from the Canadian Legion marching into the room with  senior staff and the two guest speakers. One student recited On Flander`s Field while another led the audience in the singing of O Canada.

Students and staff were treated to two firsthand accounts from war: one veteran from WWII, L. Hugh Martin,  and another from the Vietnam War, former English Montreal School Board commissioner Joseph Petraglia.

Mr. Martin joined the British Army in 1942.  He was called to enlist at that time. and was placed in an army division that worked with heavy weapons such as cannons and large guns.  Mr Martin went on from there to apply to a newly formed glider pilot regiment.  These glider planes, with no engines, were known as the “silent wings” and were used to bring supplies to their men.  But like all missions anything can be expected.   Mr. Martin shared some fascinating stories and even pulled out some maps and a model plain to better explain the situation.

PetragliatalksMr.  Petraglia (pictured left) is  a native of Long Island, N.Y. He served as a platoon sergeant in the Vietnam War.  Back in the 70’s a platoon sergeant’s job was very different than it would be today. Today troops would have previously prepared dug in bunkers in the ground and have helicopter support.  Back then troops would walk all day, carry everything they owned on their backs, and dig out their own trench.  

Mr. Petraglia suffered a permanent hearing loss as a result of his two combat tours of duty.  He said that the war and his military experience, "had a profound effect on his whole life, mostly for the better. The military teaches you duty, honour, country. The success in my life has come partly because of my military service."


Mr. Petraglia brought his combat helmet and passed it around the room. Students had many questions, such as whether he was ever injured. Except for his hearing loss, caused by the constant sound of gunfire in one particular 24 hour period, Mr. Petraglia said that he was once shot near the knee by neither he nor any of his platoon members suffered anything serious. “I had two tours of duty in Vietnam and I am fortunate to have never lost any members of my troops,” said Mr. Petraglia, who received a bronze star for bravery. Pictured above I join the piper, Mr. Petraglia, Ms. Koomas, Ms.MacMillan and Mr. Martin.

See Councillor Glenn J. Nashen's blog.