Cash, Norm

Norman Cash was born January 1, 1920 in Russia, in the city of Odessa.  When he was one year old his family made the decision to emigrate as the anti-Semitic violence associated with the pogroms was intensifying in the wake of the Great War, where Norm’s father had been a veteran.  The family settled in Toronto, in the downtown Manning-Robinson neighbourhood near Queen West. Norm went to school in the neighbourhood, but dropped out before high school as the Depression had made for tough times for the family.  He remembers the anti-Semitism of the period, including the violence at Christie Pits. Norm remembers too that that same ani-Semitism followed him into the army, and he had occasional run-ins with his fellow soldiers. That made Norm a boxing fan, and he took up the sport as a matter of necessity.  Norm’s decision to enlist was based on his knowledge of what was happening in Hitler’s Germany, and he saw the young men of his neighbourhood signing up to go off to fight. Norm shipped over to England early in the war, in 1941, and he was stationed in the Aldershot area, training as a gunner. After several years in England, sometimes on leave and in trouble, Norm was sent to Normandy a few days after D-Day.  He fought his way through France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, crossing the Rhine into Germany at war’s end. Along the way, Norm served in the artillery, so it was his job to provide support to the infantry in the front lines. When VE Day came, Norm was in Nijmegen, and within a few months, he was back in Canada, readjusting to life in Toronto. Norm tried being a furrier for time, but he didn’t take to it, so he bought a cab and took to the city’s streets.  He also married, and together with his wife, he fell into the rhythm of postwar Canadian life. In 2015, Norm answered a casting agent call, and he auditioned for a Royal Canadian Legion commercial for Remembrance Day, which continues to air each year. Norm Cash was interviewed for this project by Scott Masters, who visited him at his home in Toronto in November 2019.