Mickey Heller was born November 3, 1921 in Toronto. Born into a large Jewish family, he grew up in the city’s Bathurst-Harbord neighbourhood against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the prevalent antisemitism of the time. When the war came, Mickey opted for the RCAF. He went through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan regimen, where he was trained as a member of the ground crew. After a few stops on the BCATP Mickey went overseas, and he spent the next several years in England, and was stationed on several bases, including RAF Wigtown. During that time Mickey was selected for and began navigator training, though he did not fly any missions with Bomber Command. Mickey spent his time overseas executing his duties, and he had time to see a bit of England too, connecting with family and other Canadian Jewish service personnel. He was able to return to Canada before the end of the war, and not long after he married and went into business on his own, finding his way in the rhythms of postwar Canadian life. Mickey Heller was interviewed by Scott Masters on May 29, 2022, at his home in Toronto. Not long after, on June 8, 2022, Mickey’s grandson Aron connected from Israel, a journalist on his own quest to fill in the missing pieces of Mickey’s wartime years, and his observations can be heard in the second part of the interview, which was conducted over zoom. Aron has written a number of articles about Mickey, which can be found here:
Mickey Heller passed away on July 8, 2022, at the age of 100.
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