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Kalmen was born on 5 January 1912 in Poland. He worked in Montreal as a typesetter and linotype operator. He was active in the labour and human rights movements in Canada. Kalmen served as the director of the Jewish Labour Committee in 1945. In collaboration with the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canadian government, and trade unions, the Jewish Labour Committee helped Jewish displaced persons immigrate to Canada by securing them employment. Kalman sat on the Refugee Status Advisory Committee for the federal government.
In this clip, Kalmen Kaplansky discusses some of the obstacles to the relocation of displaced Jews to Canada after the Second World War. He describes a tripartite proposal involving consultation and cooperation among trade unions, management, and government, which enabled the immigration project.
In this clip, Kalmen Kaplansky explains that bribery, corruption, and perjury were a way of life after the Second World War. He relates anecdotes as an example.