Who Gets In
An Immigration Story
One man’s immigration to the Canadian Prairies in the early 1930s reveals the character of Canada today as sharply as it did long ago.
In 1930, a young Jewish man, Yehuda Eisenstein, arrived in Canada from Poland to escape persecution and in the hopes of starting a new life for himself and his young family. Like countless other young European men who came to Canada from “non-preferred” countries, Yehuda was only granted entry because he claimed to be single, starting his Canadian life with a lie. He trusted that his wife and children would be able to follow after he had gained legal entry and found work. For years, Yehuda was given two choices: remain in Canada alone, or return home to Poland to be with his family.
Who Gets In is author Norman Ravvin’s pursuit of his grandfather’s first years in Canada. It is a deeply personal family memoir born from literary and archival recovery. It is also a shocking critique of Canadian immigration policies that directly challenges Canada’s reputation as a tolerant, multicultural country, a criticism that extends to our present moment, as war once again continues to displace millions from their homes.