In 1941, Samuel Moses ‘Moe” Hurwitz saw what was happening to his ‘brothers’ overseas and knew he had to do something to help. He decided to trade in his much-loved hockey uniform for a military one and joined the Canadian Army.
The young man who grew up near Montreal, Quebec did well with his new position. He quickly became known for his bravery and heroism after landing in France with the Canadian Grenadier Guards at the height of the Battle of Normandy in July of 1944.
He received the Military Medal (MM) during the Battle of Falaise Road and only six weeks later he took out two Nazi-German machine guns and an anti-tank gun as well as captured 23 enemy prisoners. He carried out all this alone and armed only with a pistol. This act of heroism rightly earned him the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).
In the fall of 1944 Canadian troops decided it was time to make an attempt to liberate The Netherlands city of Bergen-op-Zoom. Hurwitz was determined to shield oncoming Canadian troops and vehicles from Nazi-German attack as they approached the city. Sadly, this heroic act cost him his life. He was only 25.
In the end, Moe Hurwitz became the most highly decorated non-commissioned officer of the Canadian Grenadier Guards and may have been the most highly decorated Jewish Canadian soldiers of the entire Second World War.
He is buried at the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands. A Commander of the Grenadier Guards wrote a fitting epitaph: “[T]his regiment lost one of its greatest men. A man whose character, leadership and personality were such that he will never be forgotten.”