Danny Heller was born June 16, 1925 in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. He grew up on a farm, working hard and helping out the family during the Great Depression. Danny also attended the local school, and made the most of life in a small town. Danny’s parents were of German descent and had emigrated from the Odessa region early in the 20th century, something that created conflicting identities for the family. But the war came, and the young Danny signed up in 1944, and was sent to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for training. He went overseas on the troopship New Amsterdam that winter, spending about two months in England before crossing the Channel. Danny moved through Belgium, Holland and Germany in those closing months of the war, and he took part in the liberation mission of the Canadian army. Danny stayed in the Army of Occupation after VE Day, staying in Germany until September 1946. The Ile de France returned him to Canada, and he was discharged in Calgary, where he found work at the airport. From there Danny made his own path, and found his own place in postwar Canada. Danny Heller was interviewed by Scott Masters in July 2022; the interview took place over zoom, and we thank the staff at Cypress Lodge for their help in facilitating this.
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