Menu JTA Search

American Jewish Leaders Mourn Roosevelt’s Death, Emphasize Loss to the Jewish People

Leaders of American Jewry today joined the nation in mourning the sudden death of President Roosevelt whose friendship for the Jewish people was displayed in words and in deeds on many occasions, particularly in the last decade, the darkest in Jewish history.

Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and a personal friend of the President, made the following statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “The loss is too great to be measured in words. His achievements had made an immortal of him in his own lifetime. Alas, death makes him take his place with those immortals who have wrought most for human freedom. I said of him after his recent re-election that he was the friend of man. History claims him, freedom sings his requiem, but he belongs to us. Above all, the Jewish people have never known a more understanding friend, who sorrowed over their oppressions and misfortunes and who sought with all his strength to bring about a new world where justice to Jews would be inevitable and the Jewish people would be restored in their ancient home.”

Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, President of the American Jewish Committee, in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, said, “President Roosevelt’s tragic death at this critical time brings tragic sorrow not only to everyone of his stricken countrymen, but to citizens of every nation which is fighting for freedom and decency against barbarism and inhumanity. He led superbly in many fields of human aspiration, but above all he was a warrior for the principles of fraternity on which our Bill of Rights is based, and an indomitable fee of intolerance and bigotry. We mourn his loss as a champion in the age-old struggle to create a common brotherhood of man under a common fatherhood of God.”

The American Jewish Conference issued a statement which reads as follows: “It is with great grief that we learn of the death of our beloved President. This grief befalls the world on the eve of victory over the forces of tyranny. A victory achieved because our late President gave the liberty loving people of the world supreme leadership in mankind’s struggle for life and liberty for all men. It is one of the greatest of tragedies for the world now sorely needed his leadership in the establishment of a new order to secure the peace for future generations. As Americans and as Jews we of the American Jewish Conference join with our fellow-men everywhere in mourning the death of a man who symbolized the passionate desire to build a world founded on justice for all men.”

Henry Monsky, president of the B’nai B’rith, declared: ” The death of President Roosevelt is a cruel blow to all mankind. The people are bowed down in grief. One of the immemorial champions of human rights is gone. We vow that the struggle to which he gave his life will be carried on and we pledge that the victory which he was not destined to see will end in a peace worthy of his great life.”

Dr. Israel Goldstein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, stated: “We are stunned by the tragic news. America has lost its famous leader. The United States have lost their architeet-in-chief. The Jewish people have lost an understanding friend. Zionism has lost a self-avowed supporter of its program. Coming at a time when Germany is practically finished, Japan is heading for defeat, President Roosevelt died on the mountain top of his career, seeing the promised land but not privileged to enter it. The Zionist Organization of America is in deep sorrow.

“President Roosevelt’s meeting with Dr. Stephen S. Wise shortly after his return from his conference abroad left us assured that he would be an advocate of the Zionist solution of the Jewish problem through Palestine’s reconstitution as a Jewish Commonwealth. We hope and pray that the spirit of President Roosevelt will go marohing on. He will rank in American history with Washington, Lincoln and Wilson. A world order and international concord will be a monument to his memory.”

NEXT STORY