Abraham Moses Klein was born in Ratno, Ukraine, in 1909. The following year his family emigrated to Montreal, where he was raised in the city’s Jewish immigrant district. Klein studied political science and classics at McGill University, earning his B.A. in 1930. Three years later, he took a law degree from the Université de Montréal. He practiced law until his retirement in 1956.
While at McGill, Klein associated himself as a writer, editor, and educational director with Young Judaea, the Canadian Zionist youth movement. While his early poetry examined his relationship to his Jewish heritage, the Depression and the rise of Nazism led him into the realm of political and social satire. His final volume of poetry, The Rocking Chair and Other Poems (1948), which won the Governor General’s Award, explores and responds to a broad spectrum of Canadian life and its traditions.
In 1949 Klein travelled on behalf of the Canadian Jewish Congress to the new state of Israel and to Jewish refugee camps in Europe and North Africa. This mission inspired his novel, The Second Scroll (1951). Shortly after its publication, Klein suffered a nervous breakdown. After his recovery, he became reclusive, relinquishing his seventeen-year editorship of the Canadian Jewish Chronicle and retiring from his law practice. He also stopped writing.
A.M. Klein died in Montreal in 1972.
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