Montreal WW II hero honoured as Dutch town’s saviour: One-eyed soldier Léo Major single-handedly chased the Nazis from Zwolle in 1945 (CBC, May 21, 2018)
A May 21, 2018 CBC article is entitled: “Montreal WW II hero, largely unknown at home, honoured as Dutch town’s saviour: One-eyed soldier Léo Major single-handedly chased the Nazis from Zwolle in 1945.”
An excerpt reads:
Arsenault was killed early on in the mission, and in his grief and rage, Major decided to do something unthinkable.
He took his comrade’s firearms and munitions and charged the city, alone. His exploits are in a new documentary that aired last month on Radio-Canada.
Zwolle, located about 100 kilometres east of Amsterdam, was then a town of 50,000, but it didn’t take Major long to locate a German soldier and disarm him.
He spoke to the soldier in French, employing a risky gambit that ultimately paid off.
Major managed to convince the German soldier that the town was surrounded by Canadian troops, and that if the Germans left right away, they would be spared.
He let the Nazi soldier go to relay the message and gave him back his gun as a sign of good faith.
Fearing his bluff would not stick, Major started to run through the streets of Zwolle firing his machine gun and setting off grenades.
As if this wasn’t enough, Major located the Gestapo headquarters and set the building on fire.
He also took dozens of German prisoners, with the help of some local resistance fighters.
“It’s such a crazy story, it’s almost surreal,” said Daniel-Aimé.
It’s a story that his father never spoke of, until the messages of gratitude from the Dutch town began to pour in.
[End of excerpt]
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