90th commemoration

Fears of Communism

Communism as a political ideology was increasingly viewed as a threat to western democracy. Antisemitism was at the forefront of anti-communist speech.

Following the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, many western countries began to fear communism and the threats it posed to democracy. Canada was no exception with many Canadian newspapers discussing the dangers of communist ideology and how the spread of communism locally put democracy in Canada at risk.

The Jewish community was often closely tied to communism because of their Eastern European roots and the labour-friendly policies communism offered. Although only a small portion of the Jewish community supported communism, these comparisons led to the community being equated with the Communist party. They helped supporters of fascism spread antisemitic language as a front to fighting the threat of communism. 

Even when discussing the riots at Christie Pits, some sources at the Toronto Telegram claimed that the spark for the riot was caused by Jewish Communists.

Antisemitic propaganda distributed by the Canadian Nationalist Party, ca. 1930s. Ontario Jewish Archives, accession 2018-4-12.

On the cover of the pamphlet is the Jewish Magen David (Star of David) with the words, “The Sign of Satan: If you want to save Canada from communism never vote for a freemason or a Jew!” The Canadian Nationalist Party was led by William Whittaker and based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In October 1934, it merged with the Parti National Social Chrétien/Christian National Socialist Party.
Article on the dangers of communism on western civilizations, 12 Jan. 1933. "RED WORDS AND ACTS." The Globe, pg. 4.
Article quoting police authorities stating that communists were responsible for inciting the riot at Christie Pits. “Communists Incited Riot Police Authority States.” 17 Aug. 1933. The Evening Telegram, pg. 1.