Salsberg, J.B.

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Salsberg, J.B.

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  • Salsberg, Joseph Baruch

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Joseph (Yosef) Baruch Salsberg was born in Lagow, in the Opatow district of Radom Gubernica, (now Poland, then under Russian rule) in 1902. He was the son of Sarah-Gitel and Abraham, a baker who worked in Canada as a junk peddler after immigrating in 1910. In 1913, the Salsberg family immigrated to Toronto to join Abraham, and settled Toronto’s Jewish district on Cecil Street. J.B. quit school at age fourteen and acquired a trade in the textile industry; he later joined the United Hatters, Cap, and Millinery Worker International Union and became a union organizer. He married Dora Wilensky (1901-1959), a social worker who would later head Toronto Jewish Family and Child Services. Salsberg organized in Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Chicago and became a key figure in the Worker’s Unity League, the Canadian Friends of the Soviet Union, and the Communist Party of Canada. He was elected to Toronto City Council as an alderman of Ward 4 in 1938 and 1943. Between 1943 and 1955 he represented the St. Andrew riding in Toronto in the Ontario Parliament as a member of the Labor-Progressive party. Due to his criticism of the Soviet Union, he was expelled from the CPC in October 1956. In 1959, he founded the New Fraternal Jewish Association. Following the end of his political career, he continued to write and speak on Leftist and Jewish topics.


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C. Long, 2021.




Tulchinsky, Gerald. (2005). “Family Quarrel: Joe Salsberg, the ’Jewish’ Question, and Canadian Communism.” Labour / Le Travail, 56, 149-173. Retrieved from

Tulchinsky, Gerald. (2013). Joe Salsberg: A Life of Commitment. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

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