Toronto Daily Star, January 20, 1943
Section 2c: World War II

“Know Russia Will Endure,” Mrs. Roosevelt Tells Montreal Forum Throng as Minds Carried to Country of Gigantic Battles and Endurance and Heroism

By M. H. Halton

Montreal, Jan. 20 — Last night Montreal and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt paid magnificent tribute to the grandeur of Russia.

Twelve thousand people of this city gathered in a large sports arena, The Forum, to hear Mrs. Roosevelt speak in support of the Canadian Aid to Russia Fund. They cheered this great woman when she spoke in moving accents of the courage and steadfastness of England. They cheered in surging waves of applause when she spoke of the grandeur of Russia.

“We know Russia will endure,” said Mrs. Roosevelt.

Hush Follows Applause

There was a hush of seconds as if the minds of the 12,000 were taken across 5,000 miles to Schluesselburg, and the heroes of Leningrad, to Velikie Lukie and Voronezh, to Millerovo and Kotelnikovski, to Stalingrad and to the vast frozen plains and forests which entomb the cream of the German legions — and of Russia.

There was a similar hush when Feodor Gousev, Russian minister to Canada, said in quiet, measured tones: “While we meet here in Montreal, gigantic battles rage thousands of miles away in my country, from the Arctic ocean to the Caucasian mountains.

“For 20 months we have endured battles without precedent in the history of mankind —millions of our people suffer and die.” [...]

Contrast in Rallies

It was a great demonstration last night. [...]

It was spectacular, too — there were the army and air force bands playing the Star Spangled Banner, playing God Save the King, playing the Internationale; and there was the high sweet voice of a girl singing O Canada. There were the enormous flowing flags, the Union Jack, the Stars and Stripes and the Russian flag, a deep red banner with the hammer and sickle in gold. [...] And there was the tier on tier of Canadians, conscious of a moment, saluting the red flag in a hall which five years ago was prohibited to the tattered remnants of the Mackenzie-Papineau battalion of Canadians which had fought in Spain for the cause we fight for now.

Stand for Internationale

And 12,000 people standing at attention for the Internationale in Montreal. Beside me was a French-Canadian girl who whispered: “Five years ago the police searched my rooms for gramophone records of the Internationale.” [...]

Russian Minister Cheered

The Russian minister, the quiet, slightly-built intelligent-faced man who spoke next, was applauded as one would hardly have thought a Communist could ever be applauded in Canada. And when he mentioned Stalin the hall shook with cheers. “And Stalingrad is a steel rope round the enemy’s throat — and Velikie Lukie — and Stalingrad. And millions of the deluded Germans have found their graves in the vast spaces of the Soviet Union and we know we are not alone,” he said.

If only things go on like this after the war, I thought.

Source: M.H. Halton, "Cheering 12,000 Offer Salute From Canada To Russia's Grandeur," Toronto Daily Star, January 20, 1943

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