90th commemoration

The Great Depression

The financial misery of the Great Depression caused a large spike in antisemitism and xenophobia as people looked for someone to blame for the adversity caused by the Depression.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, unemployment was very high and living conditions were difficult. As the economic situation worsened throughout the decade, anti-Jewish feelings grew even more intense around the world, including in Toronto. Stereotypes connecting the Jewish people to financial institutions led to Jews being used as a scapegoat for the Great Depression.

The uncertainty that was created by the Great Depression caused many people to look beyond Canada's current political or economic systems for solutions. For some, fascism became the best way to deal with the effects of the Depression while preserving democracy and fending off communism.

A crowd of unemployed people hold a meeting in front of a house at Rogers Road and Silverthorne, May 13, 1932. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 26799.
Correspondence between the Jewish Family Welfare Bureau and Toronto's Commissioner of Public Welfare regarding the provision of relief to single unemployed women, 10 Aug. 1934. Ontario Jewish Archives, fonds 87, series 2, file 7.
Lineup at soup kitchen, 1934. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1683.