Today is the tenth anniversary of the death of the late Dr. Israel Friedlander, who together with Dr. Bernard Cantor was killed in the Ukraine while on a mission for the Joint Distribution Committee. Dr. Friedlander was professor of Biblical literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York. While carrying a bag containing $400,000 in American money, Dr. Friedlander and Dr. Cantor were slain on the Yarmolince road by a trio of bandits posing as Bolshevik soldiers, who had stopped their automobile. Their bodies were found later.
Dr. Friedlander was born in Russian Poland. In his early youth he acquired a knowledge of all the Semitic and Slavic tongues, especially Arabic, and, in addition was a Biblical authority with a rare instinct for Jewish history. As a young man he went to Berlin and enrolled at the University of Strassburg, where he also taught. In 1903, at the age of twenty-six, his reputation had already spread so far that Dr. Solomon Schechter wrote and persuaded him to join the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
In 1920 Dr. Friedlander was chosen to go together with Rabbi Cantor upon a dangerous mission to the war-torn territory of Russian Poland to distribute personally relief monies to hundreds of thousands of starving Jews. They were working their way back to the relief headquarters in Warsaw when they were slain. Two great memorial meetings, in which their bravery and martyrdom were lauded by American Jewish leaders, were held for them in New York, after news of their tragic death reached this country ten years ago.