Joe B. Salsberg was born in Lagov, Poland and emigrated to Canada in 1913 at the age of 11. His parents names were Sarah and Abraham. He initially studied to become a rabbi, but at the age of 13 was forced by economic circumstances to begin working the sweatshops. These experiences lead him to a life of activism, fighting to improve the wages and working conditions for labourers. Salsberg married Dora Wilensky.
He joined the Zionist worker's group and in 1926 the Communist Party of Canada. He worked as a Labour Zionist executive, a union organizer, Communist Party union strategist, journalist, activist and was president of Model Insurance Agency Limited. He was also a Toronto Alderman in 1938 and again in 1943 and was voted into parliament as an M.P.P. representative of the Labour Progressive Party in 1943-1955. He was actively involved in introducing the Ontario Human Rights Code in reaction to a decision to disallow Jews and blacks into certain pools as well as other anti-Semitic behavior in Ontario.
After visiting Russia on two occasions to study and discuss with Russian leaders the Jewish problems in Russia, Salsberg renounced Stalin and his own participation in Communism.
Scope and Content
Photograph of Joseph B. Salsberg taken by Al Gilbert.
Salsberg, J. B. (Joseph B.), ca. 1903-1998
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
See also Joe Salsberg fonds: Accession # 1998-2-2, 1998-12-5