The Riot at Christie Pits
Published: February 2018© 2018
Imprint: New Jewish Press
Page Count: 320 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
320 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.70 in
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Ethnic tensions had been rising in Toronto throughout the hot summer of 1933. Hitler had recently come to power in Germany and some residents of the eastern beaches neighbourhood had formed "Swastika Clubs" to protect their community from "undesirable elements."
On August 16, at Toronto’s Christie Pits, a baseball game between two local teams - one made up of Jewish players - ignited the simmering resentments. Some troublemakers unfurled a huge swastika flag, shouting, "Heil Hitler!" Retaliation from Jewish spectators and players was swift and reinforcements for both sides poured into the park. The result - never experienced in Toronto before or since - was a four-hour race riot.
The riot at Christie Pits remains a disturbing, even legendary part of the city's history. Authors Cyril Levitt and William Shaffir, carefully sifting fact from fiction, provide a compelling perspective on how ordinary Canadians reacted to the intensifying antisemitism in Europe.
Note to the Reader
Chapter 1 Toronto the Good—1933
Chapter 2 “Every Evil is Jewish”
Chapter 3 “Keep the Beaches Clean”
Chapter 4 “Jews Flee in Terror From Nazi Torture”
Chapter 5 “Swastika Club Must Be Outlawed”
Chapter 6 Kipling or Hitler?
Chapter 7 “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
Chapter 8 “Dismissed All Charges”
Chapter 9 Protest
Chapter 10 “…Lies, Lies, Lies”
"[Major’s book] results in a detailed study that impressively brings out the handling of biblical texts across a range of retellings throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, even as he convincingly demonstrates that there may be less at stake in these retellings than meets the eye."Paula J. Draper, Multicultural History Society of Ontario, Urban History Review, vol 17 no 3, February 1989
“Recreating the atmosphere of depression-era Toronto and its shifting demographic composition through an emphasis on oral interviews and newspaper accounts, Levitt and Shaffir demonstrate how prejudice and xenophobia could escalate into condoned violence…The authors have given us a valuable case study of the effects on the urban landscape of economic recession, xenophobia and prejudice.” Paula J. Draper, Research Associate, Multicultural History Society of Ontario