Felix M. Warburg Dead at 66

FELIX MORITZ WARBURG, JEWISH LEADER, AMERICA’S OUTSTANDING JEWISH PHILANTHROPIST AND A LEADING FINANCIER, DIED OF A HEART ATTACK EARLY THIS AFTERNOON AT HIS HOME, 1109 FIFTH AVENUE, AFTER A FEW DAYS’ ILLNESS.

SENIOR PARTNER IN KUHN, LOEB AND COMPANY, MR. WARBURG WAS AN INFLUENTIAL BANKER, BUT HE WAS BETTER KNOWN FOR HIS COUNTLESS BENEFACTIONS WHICH SUCCORED JEWS IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD, AND WHICH HELPED TO FOSTER NUMEROUS BRANCHES OF THE ARTS, SCIENCES AND EDUCATION.

MORE THAN A PHILANTHROPIST, MR. WARBURG PLAYED AN ACTIVE PART IN JEWISH AFFAIRS, HELPING TO GUIDE THE DESTINES OF THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR PALESTINE, THE JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE, THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, THE UNITED PALESTINE APPEAL, AND MANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, JEWISH AND NON-JEWISH. THE LAST GREAT PUBLIC ISSUE IN WHICH HE WAS CONCERNED REACHED A CLIMAX LAST MONTH AT THE JEWISH AGENCY COUNCIL SESSION IN ZURICH, WHERE HE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN HAVING INCLUDED IN THE POLITICAL RESOLUTION A PROVISION FOR AN EFFORT TO MAKE PEACE WITH THE ARABS WITHOUT THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE.

ONE OF HIS LAST ACTS IN JEWISH AFFAIRS WAS TO ATTEND THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY, OF WHICH HE WAS VICE-CHAIRMAN, HELD ON OCT. 12 AT THE CHATHAM HOTEL.

MR. WARBURG IS SURVIVED BY HIS WIFE, MRS. FRIEDA SCHIFF WARBURG, WHOM HE MARRIED IN 1895; FIVE CHILDREN, MRS. CAROLA WARBURG ROTHSCHILD, FREDERICK M., GERALD F., PAUL F. AND EDWARD M.M.; AND A BROTHER, MAX WARBURG, THE HAMBURG (GERMANY) BANKER.

HE WAS A MEMBER OF CONGREGATION TEMPLE EMANU-EL. HIS CLUBS WERE: BANKERS, BEACH POINT, BOND, BROAD STREET, CENTURY, COUNTRY, CITY ATHLETIC, CITY MIDDAY, EASTERN YACHT, HARMONIE, LOTOS, METROPOLIS, RECESS, NATIONAL ARTS, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN, RUMSON COUNTRY, ST. ANDREWS GOLF, TOWN HALL AND WESTCHESTER COUNTRY.

SOME OF THE POSITIONS MR. WARBURG HELD IN JEWISH LIFE WERE: HONORARY CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE, HEAD OF THE AMERICAN SECTION OF COUNCIL FOR GERMAN JEWRY, MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, CHAIRMAN OF THE UNITED JEWISH APPEAL IN 1934, MEMBER OF THE JEWISH AGENCY COUNCIL, AND HONORARY CHAIRMAN OF THE UNITED PALESTINE APPEAL.

BORN IN HAMBURG, CAME TO U.S. AT 23

MR. WARBURG WAS BORN JAN. 14, 1871, IN HAMBURG, THE SON OF MORITZ AND CHARLOTTE (OPPENHEIM) WARBURG, AND WAS EDUCATED IN HAMBURG SCHOOLS. HIS FAMILY, WHICH HAS BEEN TRACED BACK TO THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, HAD RAMIFICATIONS IN AMERICA AND ENGLAND. FELIX WAS ONE OF FIVE SONS. HIS FATHER WAS AN ACTIVE COMMUNAL WORKER.

FELIX M. WARBURG CAME TO THE UNITED STATES WHEN HE WAS 23 YEARS OLD AND BECAME NATURALIZED IN 1900 AS A CITIZEN. SHORTLY AFTER HIS ARRIVAL IN AMERICA HE MARRIED FRIEDA SCHIFF, DAUGHTER OF THE LATE BANKER AND PHILANTHROPIST, JACOB, AND IN 1896 JOINED HIS BANKING HOUSE OF KUHN, LOEB AND COMPANY. HIS RISE IN THE FIELD OF FINANCE WAS RAPID.

FROM THE BEGINNING HE DEVOTED MUCH OF HIS ACTIVITY TO SOCIAL WORK. HE INTERESTED HIMSELF IN EAST SIDE WELFARE SOCIETIES, WHICH WERE DEALING WITH THE PROBLEM PRESENTED BY THE GREAT JEWISH IMMIGRATION. HE TOOK AN ACTIVE PART IN THE WORK OF THE EDUCATIONAL ALLIANCE, THE IMMIGRANT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION AND THE UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT. MR. WARBURG WAS THE FOUNDER AND FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATION FOR THE SUPPORT OF JEWISH PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETIES AND WAS AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. HE WAS A FOUNDER OF THE JEWISH WELFARE BOARD AND WAS ITS VICE-PRESIDENT. HE WAS A VICE DIRECTOR AND MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. HE WAS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL FOR JEWISH SOCIAL WORK AND WAS CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE BUREAU OF JEWISH SOCIAL RESEARCH.

LED POST-WAR RELIEF DRIVES

WHEN THE WORLD WAR AND POST-WAR DISTRESS CREATED THE PROBLEM OF THE JEWISH WAR VICTIMS IN EASTERN EUROPE, AND ALL SECTIONS OF AMERICAN JEWRY UNITED IN ORGANIZING THE JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE FOR JEWISH WAR VICTIMS, MR. WARBURG WAS CHAIRMAN OF ITS ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE, OVERSEEING THE TREMENDOUS JOB OF ESTABLISHING CREDIT COOPERATIVES, EXTENDING RELIEF AND HELPING TO TRAIN JEWISH YOUTH IN PRODUCTIVE OCCUPATIONS.

THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SETTLEMENT IN PALESTINE OPENED BY THE BALFOUR DECLARATION AND THE MANDATE FOUND MR. WARBURG, ALTHOUGH A NON-ZIONIST, AN ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORTER OF THE COLONIZATION. HE VISITED THE HOLY LAND SEVERAL TIMES AND WAS ONE OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PALESTINE ECONOMIC CORPORATION. HE PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART IN THE ORGANIZATION OF THE JEWISH AGENCY, OF WHOSE ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE HE WAS CHAIRMAN, FROM WHICH POSITION HE RESIGNED IN 1930 IN PROTEST AGAINST THE PASSFIELD WHITE PAPER.

“MY DEVOTION TO THE JEWISH CAUSE AND TO PALESTINE IS UNABATED,” HE STATED ON HIS RESIGNATION, “AND I SHALL CONTINUE TO LEND MY BEST EFFORTS TO SUPPORT OUR WORK, WHICH CHALLENGES OUR DEEPEST INTEREST. TO DEVELOP PALESTINE, ZIONISTS AND NON-ZIONISTS COME TO GATHER IN A PERIOD OF HOPE AND ENTHUSIASM. THEY WILL UNITE MORE CLOSELY IN THE FACE OF TRAGIC DISAPPOINTMENT.”

GIFTS IN 10 YEARS PUT AT $10,000,000

THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY WAS OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO MR. WARBURG, AND HE DONATED A HALF MILLION DOLLARS IN GIFTS TO THE INSTITUTION ON MT. SCOPUS. HE HEADED THE AMERICAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE UNIVERSITY.

ALTHOUGH EXACT FIGURES ON MR. WARBURG’S TOTAL BENEFACTIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, MANY OF HIS DONATIONS HAVING BEEN ANONYMOUS, IT IS ESTIMATED THAT IN THE DECADE ENDING 1930 HE GAVE TO CHARITABLE CAUSES AT LEAST $10,000,000.

IN THE PALESTINE PARTITION ISSUE MR. WARBURG WAS A STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF THE PROPOSAL FOR A ROUND-TABLE CONFERENCE BETWEEN ARABS AND JEWS AS THE WAY OUT OF THE DIFFICULTIES IN PALESTINE.

“WE BELIEVE THAT NO LASTING PEACE IN PALESTINE CAN BE OBTAINED UNTIL THE PARTIES DIRECTLY AFFECTED, NAMELY THE ARABS AND THE JEWS, HAVE BEEN GIVEN A FULL OPPORTUNITY TO ENDEAVOR TO ARRIVE AT A PEACEFUL UNDERSTANDING,” HE SAID ON LEAVING FOR ZURICH ON AUG. 11.

AND RETURNING ON SEPT. 3, AFTER THE JEWISH AGENCY COUNCIL HAD ADOPTED A RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR AN EFFORT TO REACH AGREEMENT WITH THE ARABS, AS WELL AS FOR NEGOTIATIONS ON A JEWISH STATE, MR. WARBURG STATED ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN NON-ZIONIST DELEGATION THAT THE AGENCY RESOLUTION “WILL SHOW THE WORLD GENERALLY AND THE ARABS IN PARTICULAR THAT WE ARE IN EARNEST IN TRYING TO REACH AN UNDERSTANDING AROUND THE TABLE IF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WILL SUGGEST SUCH A CONFERENCE WHICH WILL BRING THE TWO GROUPS TOGETHER.”

MR. WARBURG’S PHILOSOPHY OF JEWISH LEADERSHIP MAY BE SUMMED UP IN A STATEMENT HE MADE IN 1930, “I CONSIDER MYSELF A SERVANT OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND MY DUTY IS TO HELP CARRY OUT THOSE MEASURES WHICH ARE WANTED BY THEM,” HE SAID.

IT WAS IN THIS SPIRIT THAT HE WENT TO LONDON IN 1936 TO HELP ORGANIZE THE COUNCIL FOR GERMAN JEWRY, OF WHOSE AMERICAN SECTION HE WAS CHAIRMAN.

MR. WARBURG’S INTERESTS WERE WIDE, AND HE COULD HARDLY FIND THE TIME TO DEVOTE TO ALL THE CULTURAL ACTIVITIES TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE LIKED TO GIVE HIS ATTENTION. HE EXERCISED A CONSIDERABLE INFLUENCE ON THE MUSICAL LIFE OF AMERICA, SERVING AS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE INSTITUTE OF MUSICAL ART, A SUPPORTER OF THE NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS AND A FOUNDER OF THE WARBURG QUARTET, IN WHICH HIS SON, GERALD, PLAYED THE ‘CELLO.’

IN 1930, HE WAS AWARDED THE GOTTHEIL MEDAL FOR THE GREATEST SERVICE TO AMERICAN JEWRY, AND HE ALSO RECEIVED IN THE SAME YEAR ONE OF THE THREE MEDALS FOR “DISTINGUISHED SOCIAL SERVICE TO THE CITY OF NEW YORK” GIVEN BY “BETTER TIMES.”

“FELIX M. WARBURG, FINANCIER, PHILANTHROPIST, PATRON OF THE ARTS, A CITIZEN WHOSE HUMANITARIANISM IS WITHOUT FRONTIERS,” SAID THE INSCRIPTION.

WORLD LEADERS JOIN IN TRIBUTE

HIGH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, JEWISH LEADERS IN EVERY FIELD OF LIFE, AND SCORES OF ORGANIZATIONS, IN MANY COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD, JOINED IN EXPRESSING REGRET AT MR. WARBURG’S PASSING AND VOICING HIGH TRIBUTE TO HIS SERVICE TO HUMANITY.

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