Shontaler, Jim

Jim Shontaler was born in the Canadian west, growing up in the difficult days of the Great Depression.  As there were some family problems, Jim spent many of his early years in an orphanage.  With the war underway and with no firm direction before him, he joined up as soon as he was able, heading off to training and then overseas.  Jim headed first to north Africa and Italy, to begin his “baptism under fire”.  He were in the thick of it, right away, fighting through the defensive lines in Italy, where he was wounded.  From there his unit was shipped north, and they participated in the liberation of France, Belgium, and especially the Netherlands, where Jim had many good experiencess.  Jim’s memories of those times are clear, and his stories are ideal for Canadians looking to find insights in the minds of young Canadian men in the 1940s.

We met Jim in his room at the Sunnybrook Veterans Wing, where he was interviewed for this project in April 2015.