February 19: Nazis invade Winnipeg; Rachmaninoff plays; Portage hanging.

February 19, 1923 -Composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff plays his first Winnipeg concert. (He would perform again in 1925.) The concert was held at the Winnipeg Board of Trade Auditorium located at Water and Main.

For more, see the MHS essay
“Rachmaninoff in Winnipeg”.

Winnipeg Free Press Feb 19, 1942

February 19, 1942 - At 6 a.m. air raid sirens sound over Winnipeg. Within the hour 3,500 Nazi troops in convoys of armoured vehicles seize many key points in the city including city hall and the legislature.

Arresting citizens (Source)

Over the next 12 hours dozens are arrested. Buses and streetcars are stopped and searched for people without proper identification. Some stores and restaurants are ordered shut by soldiers. The William Avenue library is sacked and hundreds of books are burned on the front lawn.

At 5:30 the next evening the Nazis left Winnipeg in parade format and that marked the end of Winnipeg’s “IF Day”, a mock invasion staged in support of Manitoba's Victory Loan campaign .

For more on Winnipeg's IF Day.

City Hall
February 19, 1926 - John Kooting, 47, is hanged in Portage La Prairie for the 1921 murder of Dymetro Czayka in Shoal Lake, MB.

Kooting, the last man seen with Czayka, was questioned in 1921 but without a body no charges were laid.

In 1925 a gravely ill Kooting made a death-bed confession that he killed the man with an axe, burned the body and hid the remains under the floorboards of a pig pen. His motive ? To take Czayka's money and give it to the estranged
Mrs. Czayka who was homeless and destitute after he left her.

Unfortunately for Kooting, he recovered from his illness and was tried and convicted for the murder.

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