|The published works of Simon Belkin are based on his own deep commitment to the Jewish
community and the preservation of that community's history. Immigrating to Canada in 1911 from his native
Ukraine, Belkin was quickly immersed in both the social activism of the Poale Zion and the power of the
written word through his articles and translations of literature for the Keneder Odler, Montreal's Yiddish
daily. Belkin was also a contributor to Reuben Brainin's short-lived Der Veg. His major works include
A History of the Poale Zion in Canada, published in Yiddish (Montreal, 1956) and the critically acclaimed
Through Narrow Gates: A Review of Jewish Immigration, Colonization and Immigrant Aid Work in Canada
(Montreal, 1966). His history of Jewish immigration was honoured with the Manitoba Historical Society's
Margaret McWilliams Award.
Arguably, his most significant contribution to the community was his trip to post-World War I Ukraine.
Belkin was the first North American to gain official entry into Soviet controlled Ukraine.
There he recorded the atrocities of the pogroms perpetrated against the Jews. His visit and
subsequent articles about the visit served to emphasize the urgency of aid needed from Canada,
the United States and Britain.
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