Leon Bramson, World Ort Leader, Dead in Marseille at 72
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Leon Bramson, World Ort Leader, Dead in Marseille at 72

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Dr. Leon Bramson, noted leader of Jewish rehabilitation work for half a century, a member of the first Russian Duma and author of the Russian Equalities Act of 1917 which outlawed discrimination against Jews based on their religion, died here today.

Dr. Bramson, who would have been 73 years old on May 7, had been ill for several weeks and had recently undergone an operation. He came here from Paris when France was defeated, having lived in the French capital since 1933, to which he came after more than 10 years in Berlin.

One of the organizers and until his death president of the World ORT Federation, society for the promotion of agriculture and artisanship among Jews, Dr. Bramson was active in Jewish public life and Russian politics since the age of 20.

Dr. Bramson, who was born in Kaunas and received his law degree at Moscow University, early in his career engaged in political activities which twice brought him prison terms and ultimately to an active role in the Russian Revolution in 1917.

Elected to the first Russian Duma at the age of 37, in 1906, he was later imprisoned and deprived of his right to be re-elected to the Duma because he was a signatory to the famous "Viborg Proclamation" demanding a constitutional monarchy for Russia. Following his release, Dr. Bramson immediately resumed his political activities in behalf of Jewish emancipation, becoming one of the most active members of the Jewish Political Club created by Jewish deputies to carry on with Jewish political work in Russia. This led to more trouble with the authorities and he was imprisoned a second time.

Dr. Bramson gained international recognition for his work in combatting anti-Semitism and promoting Jewish rehabilitation through vocational retraining. He visited the United States several times in behalf of the ORT.

In 1894, Dr. Bramson was named director of the schools founded by the Society for the Enlightenment of Jews in Russia. Later he directed all the Jewish Colonization Association enterprises in that country, created a network of vocational institutions supported by the association and organized a census of Russian Jews.During this period, he began energetic action for the establishment of loan banks among Jews, was active in the furtherance of agriculture for Jews and took a keen interest in all Jewish emigration problems.

During the World War, Dr. Bramson took part in the work of the Jewish relief organization "Ikofo" on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish homeless families. During the Russian civil war and before the October revolution, he took an active part in the work of the ORT. In 1920 and again in 1930 he traveled to America and western European countries as the chief representative of the Russian ORT Society, It was mainly due to his energy and influence that the Russian society developed in the course of years into a world organization with branches in 18 countries.

Since 1924, Dr. Bramson was a member of the Council of the American Jewish Reconstruction Foundation, and since 1925 of the Council of the Union of Jewish Emigration Societies.

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