None Is Too Many:
A Cause For Canadians To Repent
This is a brief summary of NONE IS TOO MANY -- by IRVING ABELLA & HAROLD TROPER
Published by Lester & Dennys, Toronto
Summary by Laureen Moe
Canada had a restrictionist immigration policy through the 20's and 30's
1938 -- Canada did not want any immigrants
1933 -- It was in 1933 that Hitler took the oath of office, on Jan 30 as Chancellor of Germany. This power of office shifted Anti-Semitism from speech making to policy and soon from policy to law. In April of that year the first of more than 400 Anti-Semitic laws was decreed. Jews were eliminated from all civil services, lawyers were disbarred, teachers, (University also) and quotas for Jewish children were applied in school--Jewish doctors were restricted.
1935--In September the Nuremberg laws were passed.
Racial purity was decreed, marriage of Germans to Jews was outlawed. Jews were disenfranchised, citizenship was revoked.
No protection from the law as Jews were openly terrorized, Jewish businesses were destroyed, children barred from schools, the sick from hospitals, the hungry from state assistance.
1938 Germany annexed the Rhineland and Austria, and Czechoslovakia.
Thousands of Jews fled to Poland, France, Britain, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, but even these countries began restrictions. No countries came forward to accept these refugees.
They could not enter Canada in 1938. No one was welcome as an Immigrant in the 1930's.
Canadian immigration has always been ethnically selective.
Jews, Orientals, and blacks have always been at the bottom of our list. The lie was spread that Jews were city people and that Canada couldn't use the farmers or agricultural Jews because it would be impossible to keep them on the land. The federal government fought every effort by the European refugees to enter the country.
Oct 1 Nazis marched into Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia.
A Jewish woman in Toronto had to wire back to her brother who was fleeing to Vienna and wanted to come to Canada "Kosher not wanted in Canada." But they were encouraged to re-apply to enter as Christians and did. They made it to Canada.
1935 In 1935 Frederick Charles Blair was director of the Immigration Branch of the Department of Mines and Resources. He was entrusted with the task of upholding the restrictions on immigration. Blair made policy and implemented it. Blair made all decisions about who got into Canada. He was Anti-Semitic and a Christian. He was born in Carlisle Ontario in 1874 to Scottish parents.
1924 He was appointed assistant deputy minister of immigration.
1936 He became Director of the immigration branch. He was an elder in His Church (Baptist) and a dedicated civil servant. He retired in 1943. He believed "that people should be kept out of Canada instead of being allowed in." This actually was in keeping with Government policy. James Gibson, a Department of External Affairs official, recalled "He was the single most difficult individual I have had to deal with the whole time I was a public servant. He was a "Holy terror."
Perhaps this is why he stayed in office so long: he was precisely the man the ruling Liberal government wanted. His inflexibility suited an administration that had no intention of allowing Jewish refugees in. He was later inordinately proud of his success in keeping out Jews. He saw Jews as being "utterly selfish in their attempts to force through a permit for the admission of relatives or friends." He saw a "conspiracy" behind all Jewish attempts to get their people into the country. He said he was doing them a favor keeping them out. It might create Anti-Semitism he said. In a revealing letter to a strong opponent of Jewish immigration he said the following:"I suggested recently to three Jewish gentlemen with whom I am well acquainted, but it might be a very good thing if they would call a conference and have a day of humiliation and prayer, which might profitably be extended for a week or more, where they would honestly try to answer the question of why they are so unpopular almost everywhere...I often think that instead of persecution it would be far better if we more often told them frankly why many of them are unpopular. If they would divest themselves of certain of their habits I am sure they could be just as popular in Canada as our Scandinavian friends are."However he was only a civil servant whose actions reflect the wishes and values of his superiors. Mackenzie King was the Liberal Prime Minister throughout the 20's and after 1935, He was responsible for keeping Jews out of Canada. They did not care about refugees. They lost a tremendous chance to influence other nations to help the Jews when the League of Nations wanted to appoint a canadian to replace the high commissioner for Refugees in the League of Nations. Canada did not want this. Jewish organizations had little money to help in the early thirties and little power. Three Jewish M.P's Jacobs, Factor and Heaps won seats in the Liberal sweep of 1935 but they had little power and no success in talking with Blair or Mackenzie King over the years. They had no power to change Liberal policy. Crerar of the Immigration branch said that no exception would be made for Jewish German immigrants over others.
1938 Blair said they didn't want Jews who could farm because they were not capable. He scrutinized all Jewish applications himself.
1938 The Jewish Congress said possibilities were nil of Jews entering Canada. When Germany invaded Austria Roosevelt called 30 Nations to discuss the refugee problem---THE EVIAN CONFERENCE According to the American Secretary of State, it was called not to really help Jews, but to divert the pressure on nations to change immigration laws. Mackenzie King recorded in his diary that any action permitting an appreciable number of Jews to settle in Canada would undermine the unity of the Nation. He said "This is no time for Canada to act on humanitarian grounds. but that Canada must be guided by realities and political considerations."
The realities he had in mind were the attitudes toward refugees in general and Jews in particular within Quebec.
Almost every French-language newspaper had warned the government against opening Canada's doors to European Jews. Le Devoir asked "Why let in Jews?" This was a mild reaction compared to other vicious Anti-Semitic utterances that appeared in La Nation L'Action Catholique and L'Action Nationale. Three Quebec M.P.'s spoke out against the Jews. Wilfrid LaCroix, C.H. Leclerc and H.E. Brunelle led the anti-refugee onslaught. In the House of Commons Brunelle said "Jews have caused great difficulties wherever they have lived." Organizations in Quebec wrote letters to the Immigration Branch and were very anti-Semitic.
St.Jean Baptiste Society, the Provincial Knights of Columbus
128,000 members of the St.Jean Baptiste society signed a petition opposing all immigration and especially Jewish immigration, which Lacroix delivered to the Commons.
CANADA did not respond to the suggestion of the Evian conference, Blair feared its success. He thought Poland, Hungary, and Romania might start deporting Jews. He issued instruction that no Jews could be admitted without passports that endorsed their re-entry into Germany. In other words no one-way only passports. Canada was finally forced to go to Evian simply on the basis of the fact that they didn't want to be the only one except Fascist Italy out of the 30 not attending. Prior to Evian 3 Jewish M.P.'s and 4 Pro-refugee members of Parliament were to meet with a committee of the House but Blair in an unforgivable act appointed 2 of the anti-Semitic M.P.'s from Quebec to the committee --effectively blocking any positive results of the meeting.
1934 - June 2. There was a Jewish proposal to a cabinet committee that 5000 refugees be admitted. All costs would be assumed by Canadian Jews and that meant no expense to Quebec. La Pointe who had been one of the appointed members from Quebec didn't even bother to show up. Blair said behind the scenes to others in immigration that delegates to Evian might more fruitfully apply themselves to ways and means of stopping Germany from exporting its Jewish problem. He said in confidence "any general boycott of refugees would also be welcomed by Canada, because there was not much enthusiasm in many quarters for any increase in...Jewish Immigration." He delayed the admission of the handful of Jewish refugees whose applications had already been approved by his department.
ZITA PLAUT'S STORY IN BRIEF
She escaped into Holland and hoped to enter Canada. She went to the Canadian Consulate there and told the official that she had family in Germany who would like to emigrate 'to Canada and that they had money. $50,000 in foreign currency. He said wonderful, and he let her fill out the whole form and she signed it and returned it to him. Then he said" Oh- their name is Rappaport? They are Jewish? I'm sorry, he said, we have no visas and he tore the form up in front of her." Can you imagine she said-they say Germany alone was at fault. There were eight million people only living in Canada, they were so under populated " In spite of this man Zita Plaut and her family did make it. An American cousin won them lifesaving American visas, which came through on the very eve of their scheduled deportation from Holland back to Germany.
THE EVIAN CONFERENCE
was only a publicity stunt and failed. One Nazi newspaper said "The Evian Conference serves to justify Germany's policy against Jews." AS Jews suspected but never really believed they were on their own.Forty years after the meetings a staff member (aging) said about the delegates:
"Very important people were here and all the delegates had a fine time. They took pleasure cruises on the Lake. They gambled at night at the casino. They took mineral baths and massages. Some of them took the excursion to Chamoix to go summer skiing. Some went riding - we have one of the finest stables in France. Some played Golf. Some attended the meetings of course, it is difficult to sit indoors hearing speeches when all the pleasures that Evian offers are waiting right outside. Evian is on the Swiss border."
On another occasion Blair said to a pro-refugee Anglican clergyman, Canon W.W.Judd of Toronto, that he.feared that Jews were facing virtual extinction, in Europe but to allow more of them into Canada, would not solve the problem. The Jewish M.P.Heaps said in a letter that the existing regulations are inhuman and anti-Christian... every nation in the world is allowing a limited number to enter their countries.
Mackenzie King himself after Evian said that "as far as he was concerned the admission of refugees perhaps posed a greater menace to Canada in 1938 than did Hitler." At an informal gathering at his summer residence he fondly recalled his meeting with Hitler in Germany a year earlier. He described him as being SWEET.He had a good face.
In Sept. 1938 less than a year before Canada declared war on Germany King was still mixed in his attitude to Hitler--"He might come to be thought of as one of the saviours of the world" he wrote:' He had the chance at Nuremberg, but was looking to Force, to might, and to violence as means to achieving his ends, which were, I believe at heart, the well-being of his fellow-man, not all fellow men, but those of his own race. " In 1939 he said to a Jewish delegation that "Kristallnacht might turn out to be a blessing". That was the night of broken glass when Jews were kicked out of their homes in Germany, windows were broken in businesses, synagogues were set on fire etc. Men, women and children were wrenched from their homes, beaten and shot or dragged off to concentration camps. Scores were killed, hundreds injured, thousands arrested. This actually mellowed King and he went to a funeral of Mrs. Heaps, the Jewish M.P.'s wife. He wrote in his diary that he was going to fight for the admission of some Jewish refugees because it was right and lust and Christian. It didn't last long when he found opposition to his change of heart.
Meanwhile the Canadian High Commissioner in London, Vincent Massey had become a fringe member of the aristocratic, largely pro-German and anti-Semitic Cliveden set, centred around Lord and Lady Astor. He was enthusiastic about the anti-Nazi Sudetens displaced by the Munich agreement most of whom were Social Democrats or Catholics. Would it not be a wonderful tactic at this time said Massey to accept as many as possible Aryan Sudeten Germans as refugees. The Chairman on Intergovernmental committee on refugees, Lord Winterton had assured the Canadian Prime Minister that although many of the Sudetens were called "Non Aryan Christians...in fact they had very little Jewish blood and would make excellent settlers. Within days of receiving the high commissioners recommendation, the government decided again to keep out the Jews and let in the Sudeten Germans. In 1939 Ernest LaPointe and Vincent Massey working through External Affairs did their best to keep Jews out. Blair found obstacles to put in the way of immigration for Jews.
The Premier of British Columbia T.D. Pattullo, whom Patullo bridge in New Westminster is named after did not want Jews in B.C. either.
Although some organizations and high-placed members of religious groups such as the Anglican and United Churches, actively campaigned on behalf of Jewish refugees, most Canadians seemed indifferent.to the suff ering of German Jews and hostile to their admission to Canada. Rev.Silcox spoke out in Toronto. The Globe and Mail asked "does Canada stand for anything?" In New Brunswick the Lieutenant Governor George Stanley condemned those who shed tears over the fate of Jews in Europe. IN March 1939 Blair was attempting to deport Jews back to Germany who were here on tourist visas. Even the famous "voyage of the dammed" received no mercy in Canada. This ship loaded with 907 Jews from Hamburg was on its way to Cuba but Cuba refused it. The U.S. and Canada refused them and Canada even sent out a "gun boat" to shadow them.
Cannon W.W. Judd spoke out against our policy and Raymond Booth of the Quakers did too. C.C.F'er J.S. Woodsworth spoke out as did Stanley Knowles who castigated the opposition's policy. It is interesting to note the following: Scripture does say I will Bless those who Bless Israel and I will curse whose who curse Israel. In past years M.P. Stanley Knowles is still in the Canadian Parliament even though his health is failing. He has now been given a special place in our House of Commons to sit and watch the proceedings. On T.V. when the House is in session you may see him often, sitting near the Speaker's Chair observing the proceedings. Has anyone else been so privileged. (one can do a study on this Biblical principal and be surprised how true it is...)
The Chapter in this book that deals with our refusal to bring in Jewish children is the most shocking of all. We could have brought in thousands but all the stumbling blocks that were placed in the way eventually succeeded in preventing this and in the end none of those thousands came.They had been deported to Auschwitz and were gassed. The title of the long chapter that contains all the information on this incredible injustice is "the children who never came."
The saga of unbelievable remarks by Blair continues to the end of the book. He said in regards to Jews leaving Japan where they had managed to escape "I am reminded of what I have seen on a farm at hog feeding time when they are all trying to get their feet into the trough."
Canada declared war in Sept. 1939. Blair said the jews in Japan were Nazi agents. He refused to bring into Canada 370 Rabbinical students. In 1942 and 1943 when news started coming out of Poland about atrocities our government remained silent, when others asked the government to denounce Nazi atrocity.
By 1939 we had only accepted a couple of hundred Jews and they were now talking about another conference.----THE BERMUDA CONFERENCE Blair told his minister that the refugee problem was a Jewish problem. Robertson recommended to the House that no preference be given to Jews to a plea for close relatives to enter Canada. Blair claimed that since 1933 Canada had brought in 4500 but this was not true. One day before the Bermuda Conf. when a Jewish delegation came to see him he became unavailable. On April 19 1943 the conference convened. Not one Jew was saved from the efforts of that conference. It was a charade. On that day it was the eve of Passover and the final struggle for the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto began.
In 1943 Blair retired,and was given the highest award that can be given to a public official for meritorious service to the country. Joliffe succeeded him. The Immigration branch would continue in one way or another to keep the door of immigration for jews as tight as possible until 1949.
Charlotte Witton had not wanted Jewish children to be brought into Canada. She wanted British children brought in and fought the Jewish community on this issue. In 1945 Britain had asked that 9000 refugee children be taken in but MacKenzie King had immediately rejected the idea. Yet they could accept 10,000 British children. Canada told Georges Vanier the Ambassador to France that they would take French children and pay their way. All the time Jewish officials were told to be silent so as not to cause problems.
Maurice Dupleissis who had once been Premier of Quebec but was now leader of the opposition party in Quebec assaulted the liberals verbally over a rumour that they were going to allow 100,000 Jews in. He got the citizens all riled up over the possibility of it coming to pass, claiming that there was an international Zionist conspiracy. Shortly after he was elected :Preztiier again, of the Province. There was one magazine that did publish something of value and it was the LIBERTY MAGAZINE--they showed the horrible details of the Babi Yar massacre when 60,000 Jews died.
For Canadians, this was the first time that the truth of the death camps was revealed. Liberty made a profound statement."" Call the Jew an alien race if you want, wash your hands of responsibility as Pilate did. But a Gentile race that does not call for Justice for the Jews will be forever accused."
Let me end this by saying that to me almost the greatest shock of all in this book is the description on Page 168 of how Jewish refugees were finally brought into Canada. They came into port in PHiladelphia bound for Canada. They were put into railway cars and locked in. There were enough police to provide an armed guard for each refugee.
How Vancouver Jews or any Canadian Jews could read all this and not be in despair is a real mystery to me.
One last story that I will mention is from Page 190 of None is Too Many Work came to an abrupt halt one morning in the Globe Bedding Mattress manufacturer's company in Winnipeg in May 1945. Women in the plant gathered around a fellow worker. The worker, a fifteen year employee at this place had just received a letter from her sister in Russian liberated Poland. This was the first word she had received since the German invasion of Poland in the autumn of 1939. From her family of 85 people, everyone had been killed with the exception of this sister and her child." The company owner appealed to the Canadian Jewish Congress to help. But there was no hope of her coming.
"Immigration prospects out of Poland are poor... at the moment.. it is out of the question. " Unfortunately there are millions of stories of this kind.
HERE IS AN ACCOUNTING OF CANADA'S RECORD DURING THE 12 YEARS OF THE NAZI REGIME.
Country Number of Jewish refugees brought in: United States 200,000 Palestine 125,000 Britain 70,000 Argentina 50,000 Brazil 27,000 China 25,000 Bolivia and Chile 14,000 CANADA 5,000
CONCLUDING REMARKS ABOUT Canada's archival record published in the book NONE IS TOO MANY.
OF OUR CHANCES TO HELP THE JEWISH PEOPLE during W.W. 2 but we did very little. After my remarks when we had our day of repentance we read the Kol Nidre prayer that is used in the Synagogue on the eve of Yom Kippur Following that the Shofar was blown and also read were the two prayers that had been read in the Synagogue during the Gulf war--a prayer for Israel and a prayer for Canada. (all follow this page) I also read some scriptures that show how the judgment of the Nations who do not favor Israel will be severe.
For two hours people came to the microphone weeping and praying for Israel and our Jewish friends.
Basilea Schlink, founder of the Sisterhood of Mary in Darmstadt Germany wrote in her book Israel My chosen People about the need for German Christians to repent. I recommend you get a copy and read it. She points out that Paul warned us not to have a superior attitude--- it is in Romans 11: 18,20,---to verse 25. It says:"Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee...The Jews are the root of the tree--they bear us, not we them, we are grafted in. We need to repent of our arrogance. That is what led to the Crusades--Since Constantine, Christians have looked down from the throne of the Church in judgment of the Jew."If German Christians share the guilt of the Holocaust so do Canadian Christians because our government kept a closed door policy towards them and we voted these people into office. It is interesting to note and keep in mind what Basilea Schlink points out, that the countries that offered refuge to the Jews and cared for them were spared the worst ravages of W.W.2.
Something we can rejoice about is- -Denmark alone with the King rose as one in Unity and resisted. They brought Jews to safety. God can use a hand full of people if they are in a spirit of repentance.He can turn this nation around. Didn't He say He would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if only a few people would have repented? He waits in vain for people to repent. we can't have revival without repentance.
Blair was known as a Christian and was an elder in the Baptist Church. Most of the Church in Canada is still silent about Israel and the Jewish people. The Church needs to repent and pray for the past history of Canada. Specifically in relationship to Parliament.
"and found wanting" said it all. Nazi's could come to Canada after the war but Jews were still looked on as undesirables. In Daniel 9 verse 16 we read that Daniel accepted the guilt of his people and prayed a prayer of repentance.We will take time now to pray and focus our attention on the Kol Nidre.................
This was a beginning - I hope it will continue and that eventually we might have a day of repentance in Ottawa. Pray for it. . .
By Laureen Moe: