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Saul Hayes Dead at 73

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A funeral service for Saul Hayes, the former executive vice president of the Canadian Jewish congress (CJC) and a leader of Canadian Jewry for some 40 years, will be held at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue here Wednesday. He died last Saturday night at his home in Saint Adele, Quebec, at the age of 73.

Hayes’ direction of the CJC coincided in time with the late Samuel Bronfman’s presidency of the organization and the two worked closely together. Hayes left a law practice in 1938 to become director of the Jewish Refugee Committee which later become the United Jewish Refugee and War Relief Agencies, the Canadian agency for the Joint Distribution Committee and other international relief agencies. In 1942, he also become CJC executive director, a title that was later changed to executive vice president.

Before his retirement as CJC executive vice president in 1974, Hayes led every major effort of the Jewish community in Canada. This included the was effort and the relief work afterwards. He was the sole representative of Canadian Jewry at the peace conference in Paris in 1946.


Hayes directed the fight against anti-Semitism in Canada. He helped reverse the Canadian government’s anti-Semitic policy in the 1930s and was instrumental in having the government adopt laws against racial and religious discrimination both on a national and provincial level.

Hayes fought against the Canadian government’s closed-door policy toward Jewish immigration and organized the largest Jewish immigration to Canada with the result that some 30,000 Jews came here between 1947 and 1952. He helped to develop Jewish education in Quebec, where all schools are operated along religious lines, to the point where the provincial government today bears most of the financial burden for the Jewish schools.

Hayes organized the Israel Bond Organization in Canada, Canadian investment in Israel and the fight against Arab propaganda in Canada. After his retirement he continued as legal counsel to the CJC and remained active with the CJC’s Archives which he had helped organize.

Born in Montreal on May 28, 1906, he received his bachelor’s master’s and law degrees from McGill University which has also awarded him an honorary degree. He was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest distinction, in 1974.

Alan Rose, who succeeded Hayes as executive vice president, said that the death of Hayes ” was a great loss, out just to Montreal but to the nation. Hayes had led an active life right up to his death. He was a consultant and statesman for all of us, drawing ad his vast experiences in the national and international affairs to give advice when needed.

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