Mr. Julius Rosenwald Enters 70th Year
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Mr. Julius Rosenwald Enters 70th Year

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Mr. Julius Rosenwald, the merchant prince of American Jewry, who is believed to be the richest Jew in the world, entered his 70th year today.

Mr. Rosenwald, who was born on August 12th, 1862, at Springfield, Illinois, started business in New York, in the whole-sale clothing firm of Hammerslough Bros. He soon transferred his activities to Chicago, where he has remained, acquiring the firm of Sears Roebuck and Company, the largest mail order business in the world, of which he is President.

Mr. Rosenwald is a great benefactor both of Jewish and non-Jewish philanthropies and humanitarian institutions. In Jewish affairs, he has been most closely identified with the activities of the Joint Distribution Committee, contributing generously to its funds for the work it is conducting among the Jews of Russia and Eastern Europe. In 1925 he gave a million dollars to the United Jewish Campaign of the Joint Distribution Committee, and in 1928, he followed it up by a contribution of 5 million dollars for its Jewish Colonisation work in Russia conducted under the direction of Dr. Joseph Rosen, which resulted in the establishment of the American Society for Jewish Farming Settlements in Russia, of which he is Honorary President jointly with Mr. Felix M. Warburg.

Mr. Rosenwald is also one of the leaders of the American Jewish Committee, of which he is Vice-President, and when Mr. Louis Marshall, the President of the Committee died, Mr. Rosenwald gave half a million dollars to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, for a Louis Marshall Memorial Endowment Fund.


Mr. Rosenwald is one of the few leading personages in the Joint Distribution Commiee and the American Jewish Committee who did not join the extended Jewish Agency when it came into existence through the efforts of his friends, the late Louis Marshall and Mr. Felix M. Warburg. He explained that he was not entering the Jewish Agency because he does not believe in subsidised immigration, which he considered would be the character of the Jewish Agency’s immigration activity in Palestine.

I have contended, whether rightly or wrongly, he said, that the only way to help our co-religionists is to help them where they are. My unwillingness to join in the Palestine movement is not at all based upon my being opposed to Zionism. I am not opposed to Zionism. I have been willing to do my share to help any efforts made in Palestine for years, and have done so, but I have never been a believer in subsidising immigration to the extent of moving people in masses from one country to another and trying to establish them in Palestine, the Argentine, or anywhere else.

At the same time, when American Jewry was seething with indignation over the Passfield White Paper defining British policy in Palestine, and a big protest demonstration was held in New York, Mr. Rosenwald was among those who appeared on the platform to show that he identified himself with the attitude adopted by American Jewry on this question.


Mr. Rosenwald has established a Julius Rosenwald Fund for the purpose of promoting human welfare, stipulating that the whole amount, principal and interest, must be spent within 25 years of his death. “I believe that we of the present should not try to guide the destinies of oncoming generations,” he has explained in this connection. “They will meet their own needs wisely and generously”. “Being an optimist,” he added, “I have great confidence in the future.”

Mr. Rosenwald is a generous friend and benefactor of the Negro, especially in encouragement of rural education among the coloured people of the Southern states of America. There are over 4,000 such Rosenwald schools in the 14 states of the South, representing an investment of over twenty million dollars.

Mr. Rosenwald’s work on behalf of the Negro has earned him the double hostility of the German Hitlerists who hate both Jews and the coloured people, and the “Voelkischer Beobachter”, the chief Hitlerist organ, published on one occasion a long front-page article headed “Jewish-Negro Army,” with the sub-title “Julius Rosenwald spends twenty million dollars on Negro children,” and asserting that “the purpose of Rosenwald’s contribution towards Negro education is to create a Negro army in order to protect Jewish interests in the event of the 100 percent Americans attempting to liberate themselves from the dictatorship of Jewish capital.”

There are 350,000 Negro children in America obtaining their education through the Rosenwald Fund, it said, and they are all being trained to be of service to the Jews.

Only this month, Mr. Rosenwald gave a million dollars to the Berlin City Council for the establishment of a dental clinic for children in Berlin.

Mr. Rosenwald’s services to humanity have been recognised by the bestowal on him of various distinctions, among them the Harmon Medal for international work, and the Gotthein Medal for the most meritorious service to American Israel.

Mrs. Rosenwald, to whom he had been married for nearly 40 years, died in May 1929, leaving her estate of over a million dollars to her husband and children, relying on them to carry out her wishes with regard to charities. She shared her husband’s philanthropic interests, and she was particularly interested in the Girl Scouts movement in which she was a National Vice-President, and in a fund established for providing day nurseries for coloured children. Mr. Rosenwald remarried recently, his wife being the mother of Mrs. Rosenwald junior, the wife of his son, Mr. Lessing Rosenwald.

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