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Human Rights in Canada: An Historical Perspective

Obituary

Service held for Judge Harry Batshaw, 83

A funeral service was held yesterday for Judge Harry Batshaw, the Montreal lawyer who became the first member of the Jewish faith to be appointed to a high court in Canada

A funeral service was held at the Paperman and Sons funeral home on Côte des Neiges Road, followed by burial at Shaar Hashomayim Congregation Cemetery, on Mount Royal Blvd.

Judge Batshaw made history in 1950 when then Prime Minister Louis St.Laurent appointed him to the Quebec Superior Court. He retired in 1977 after having served on the bench for more than 27 years.

Judge Batshaw supported many Canadian and international causes. He was founding director of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation and founding chairman of the International Law Association’s committee on human rights.He was also founding president of the Canadian Friends of the Alliance Israelite Universelle. Several of his judgments became classics, including one in which he found 18 paper companies guilty of price fixing. He fined them a total of $250,000.

Judge Batshaw was born in Russia in 1902, and his parents came to Canada in 1904. He graduated with top honors from McGill University’s Faculty of Law in 1924.

He won the McDonald Travelling Scholarship, which enabled him to do postgraduate work at the University of Grenoble and the Sorbonne.

Judge Batshaw practiced law for 25 years on his return to Montreal.

In 1962, Judge Batshaw was awarded the Medal of Merit by the government of France for promoting good relations between France and Canada.

At a gala dinner last year, Judge Batshaw was honored through the establishment of a foundation in his name which will help subsidize the Karem Institute, which trains secondary school humanities teachers in Israel.

Alan B. Gold, the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, once said Judge Batshaw had a "unswerving belief in the worth and dignity of man".

Judge Batshaw is survived by two children and three grandchildren. He was 83 years of age.