Fred Rose, originally Fishel Rosenberg, was a trade union organizer who became the first Canadian MP to ever be elected as a Communist, before famously being convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union.
Rose was born in Lublin, Poland in 1907, to parents of Russian descent. He was one of six children and his father was a carpenter. He attended the Gymnaste Humaniste de Lublin, a Jewish high school for girls and boys, where he learned French.
The family immigrated to Canada in 1916, when Rose was 13. Among other jobs, he was a factory worker and electrician. In 1924, he joined the Young Communist League; as a member, he organized unions of unemployed and unskilled workers. In the 1935 federal election, Rose ran as a candidate for the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) in the working class Jewish and French Canadian neighbourhood of Cartier, ultimately coming in second.
In 1942, Rose published a pamphlet entitled Hitler’s Fifth Column in Quebec, which exposed the ties between Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Quebec Premiere Maurice Duplessis, turning public opinion largely against Duplessis. In 1940, the Communist Party was banned, but it reappeared two years later as the Labour Progressive Party. Rose ran as the candidate for this newly-created party in 1943, and beat Lazarus Phillips and David Lewis. He was re-elected in 1945. He was popular among many Jewish Montrealers because they believed that the Soviet Union, which Rose was linked to, was the only hope for saving European Jewry from the Nazis.
In 1946, Rose was arrested and imprisoned for conspiring to forward sensitive information about the Canadian explosive RDX to the Soviets. He was tried and convicted during the Cold War spy trials, though he always maintained his innocence. He was released from jail in 1951. Stigmatized, Rose was unable to find work, so he decided to return to Poland in 1953. His Canadian citizenship was revoked in 1957. He spent the rest of his life in Poland, dying in 1983.
Although Rose left a complicated legacy, he is remembered for his devotion to the plight of the working class and to the living conditions of the Jewish people.
Special thanks to the Museum of Jewish Montreal.
http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/obituary-of-fred-rose-soviet-spy (Includes short documentary)