34 photographs : b&w, some sepia toned ; 17 x 23 cm or smaller
1 cm of textual records
Scope and Content
Accession consists of photographs and textual records that document Bernard's activities in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Included are images of Bernard and his photography school classmates; shots taken just after the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated, including shots of captured SS guards and of the Sunday picnics organized for the children; and images taken by Bernard while he was on leave. Accession also includes Bernard's unpublished memoir of his war experience (2000) and one letter written by Bernard to his family while he was stationed in Germany (1945).
Bernard Louis Yale was born in Toronto on 3 May 1922 to Morris Yalofsky and Ann Yalofsky (née Krasnanski). Although Morris and Ann were both born in the Ukraine, they resided in Romania prior to their immigration to Canada in 1922 Morris worked in Toronto as an upholsterer until his untimely death at the age of thirty-five.
Bernard attended Central Commerce high school and upon graduating registered for a chartered accounting course. He worked as an accounting student for the chartered accountant Jules Newman.
During the Second World War, Bernard served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a photographer. He arrived in England in 1944 and was posted shortly thereafter to 443 Squadron, 144 Wing (a Spitfire Wing) in the town of Ford. While stationed there, he was responsible for servicing cinegun cameras that captured the damage caused each time the Spitfires fired ammunition at a target.
From Ford, Bernard moved with his squadron to various other towns including Sainte-Croix-sur-Mer (during the invasion of Normandy), Chartres, Louvain, and other towns in Belgium and Holland. In 1945, his squadron began moving into Germany and encountered slave labourers who had just been liberated. Soon after, Bernard was posted to serve in the occupation forces with 84 Group Disarmament Staff. His unit was responsible for disarming and dismantling the German air force. As part of this unit, Bernard processed photographs of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp guards, the burning of the wooden quarters used for Bergen-Belsen’s inmates, and other structures and remains found there. A squadron leader in Bernard’s unit, Ted Aplin, organized Sunday picnics for the children of Bergen Belsen during the summer of 1945. Bernard captured many photographs of these outings.
After the war, Bernard returned to Toronto and resumed work as a chartered accountant. He married Esther Wineberg in 1950 and together they had three children: Robert Yale (b. 1954), Sharon Yale (b. 1957), and Martin Yale (b. 1960). Bernard passed away on 16 September 2001.
Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.
Associated Material Note: See Ted Aplin fonds at Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections at York University, Toronto.