For Immediate Release
October 4, 2023
“Very few books have had the impact of None Is Too Many.”
Bob Rae, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
“None is too many,” replied a high-level Canadian government official in 1945, when asked how many European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution Canada should accept. Irving Abella and Harold Troper reclaim the phrase in their landmark work, None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933–1948. After Malcolm Lester published the book in 1983, “none is too many” was, in Abella’s words, “an ethical yardstick against which contemporaneous government policies are gauged.” To continue Lester’s literary legacy, University of Toronto Press (UTP) recently founded a dynamic imprint, New Jewish Press (NJP), in partnership with the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. This month NJP is honouring the 40th anniversary of Abella and Troper’s workby releasing a special edition of None Is Too Many.
While Canada is known today as a welcoming and compassionate nation, None Is Too Many: 40th Anniversary Edition amplifies the echoes of a dark chapter in our not-so-distant past. It is a treasure trove of heartfelt letters penned by desperate European Jews seeking refuge from the looming Nazi threat. Abella and Troper delve into why senior Canadian officials chose to ignore these pleas for sanctuary. Their research exposes the deeply rooted antisemitic views behind such immigration policies. “In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War,” says Abella, “it was easier to get into Canada if you were a Nazi than if you were a Jew.” Canada had one of the most dismal records among developed nations, admitting a mere 5,000 Jews during the critical years of 1933 to 1945. It was only after the State of Israel was established in 1948 that Canada finally began to welcome Jewish refugees in significant numbers.
This new edition sheds light on the ongoing seismic impact of Abella and Troper’s work. A foreword by Richard Menkis tells the story of how the book was received. For instance, Ron Atkey, Canada’s Immigration Minister at the time, says that reading an advance copy of the book emboldened him to avoid the mistakes of his predecessors and take an unpopular yet humane stance during the “Boat People Crisis.” Atkey welcomed about 200,000 people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the 1980s, the highest rate per capita among all the nations accepting refugees from Southeast Asia. David S. Koffman’s afterword emphasizes why the book remains relevant today. It continues to spark debates on a wide range of issues, including immigration policies, the moral responsibility of bystanders, rectifying historical injustices, and the role of historians as witnesses.
None Is Too Many: 40th Anniversary Edition asks Canadians again forty years later: What kind of country are we? What kind of country do we want to be? Recent events underscore the significance of such questions. Over the past decade, several proponents of intolerance and antisemitism have gained footholds around the world. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has led to global instability and a tidal wave of asylum seekers. The new edition of Abella and Troper’s pivotal work invites readers to reflect on Canada’s past actions and their implications for its future as a benevolent and open country.
IRVING ABELLA was the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry and professor emeritus of history at York University.
HAROLD TROPER is professor emeritus of education and history at the University of Toronto.
RICHARD MENKIS is an associate professor in the Departments of History and Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is co-editor with Norman Ravvin of The Canadian Jewish Studies Reader.
DAVID S. KOFFMAN is the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry and an associate professor in the Department of History at York University.
PRAISE FOR NONE IS TOO MANY
“A brilliant work of history.”
The Globe and Mail
“[A] heart-rending book.”
The Toronto Star
“Of all of Canada’s monuments erected to memorialize the Shoah, none is more impactful than this book. Not made of metal or stone, but of hard truths, it stands the test of time.”
Rabbi Yael Splansky, Senior Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple
“This is a must-read in Canadian history.”
Howard Adelman, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University
None Is Too Many: 40th Anniversary Edition is available in bookstores and online
Paperback | ISBN: 9781487554385 | $39.95
NEW JEWISH PRESS (NJP) proudly creates a literary space for vital Jewish voices and debates.
An imprint of University of Toronto Press (UTP), NJP publishes books for people interested in Jewish life in a global age. Our books stand on three pillars: accessibility, inclusion, and courage. We believe in the power of words to change a conversation.
We have published books on a range of pressing issues for the Jewish community, including intermarriage, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how ancient Jewish wisdom can improve today’s workplace.
Our stunning collection of graphic novellas, But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust, demonstrates the superior editorial and production quality we offer to our authors as well as our unique contribution to Holocaust studies.
New Jewish Press is published in partnership with the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto and builds on the legacy of its founder, Malcolm Lester.
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS (UTP) has published landmark scholarship since 1901. One of the largest university presses in North America, UTP releases over 180 new scholarly, course, and general interest books in both print and ebook format and 55+ journals each year. In addition, UTP also operates UTP Distribution through warehouses in Toronto and Buffalo along with campus bookstores across the University of Toronto. For more information, visit utorontopress.com.
Review Copies of None Is Too Many: 40th Anniversary Edition are available upon request.
Harold Troper, Richard Menkis, and David S. Koffman are available for interviews and events.
For additional background information on None Is Too Many, including a timeline of the book’s publication history, information about its authors and publishers, an essay by the book’s current editor, and photos from the interior of the book, visit our website.