JANUARY 11, 1954
AKRON, Ohio, Sunday—On Friday night I left New York for Toronto, Canada, where I made a speech Saturday evening on world concepts of Communism.
On the train the immigration officers came through and started asking me where I was born and how long I would be in Canada. Then, suddenly, a look of recognition crossed their faces.
"Oh," they said, "we know you are just coming to make a speech." And my difficulties with the customs were over.
We were almost on time in reaching Toronto, but arrived in a blinding snowstorm. Not much snow was on the ground, however, so the high mountains of snow which I have always heard about as characteristic of Canadian winters still are just a tradition and not a reality to me. It was certainly not good weather, however, and they kept telling me this was not typical Toronto weather.
In spite of the elements, the usual number of photographers and press people, even a TV representative, visited me in the hotel immediately after arrival. Then some members of the committee had lunch with us. Finally I succeeded in getting a newspaper and was about to write this column when two young girl reporters pleaded so effectively on the telephone for a second interview that I agreed to see them. Before I knew it, it was time to dress and visit the Laing Galleries before going to an early dinner which was followed by the meeting and a reception.
I was very glad of the opportunity to see the one-man show of paintings by Arthur Szyk which was sponsored by the Canadian Jewish Congress in Toronto. Mr. Szyk's widow, whom I had not seen for some time, was there and it was a pleasure to look at the paintings under her guidance. Much of Mr. Szyk's work is so fine and delicate in execution, however, that like all miniatures one should examine it with a magnifying glass; and one could spend hours over each one of the paintings, which I had of necessity to review rather rapidly.
The war satires executed between 1940 and 1944, and which were inspired, of course, by Hitler and his master race theory, are a very telling set of cartoons. The "Defenders of the Warsaw Ghetto" tells a wonderful story of the valiant organized resistance of a single group against a common enemy. Then, getting away from the war and the sad story of the Jews in Europe during these years, there are the delightful illustrations done in 1945 of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and also those done the same year illustrating the Canterbury Tales. Perhaps among his most colorful work are those paintings that deal with biblical history. There is a charm about his work that haunts you, and you keep seeing in your mind's eye certain figures and colors that remain as a background to the whole exhibition.
We left Toronto by plane Sunday morning in spite of flurries of snow and a certain amount of fog, and we arrived in Cleveland in a real snowstorm. But we were safely driven to Akron, where I spoke in the evening for Bonds for Israel.