Dr. Wise Dies at 75; Truman and Weizmann Mourn His Passing; Funeral to Be Held Friday
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Dr. Wise Dies at 75; Truman and Weizmann Mourn His Passing; Funeral to Be Held Friday

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Rabbi Stephen S, Wise, outstanding leader of American Jewry, who was one of the founders of the Zionist movement in the United states and of the American and World Jewish Congresses, died here today in Lenox Hill hospital where he underwent an operation on April 7 for a stomach ailment.

Funeral services for Dr. Wise, who celebrated his 75.th birthday last month, will take place on Friday. President Truman and President Weizmann of Israel, who is now visiting the United States, sent messages of condolence to Dr, Wise’s two children, James Waterman Wise and Justine Wise Polier. Numerous members of Congress similarly sent massages of condolence to the surviving members of his family.

Only a month ago, on the occasion of his 75th birthday, Dr. Wise emphasized that his basic hopes were: 1. For a peaceful world in which Justice will reign for all peoples and. faiths and races; 2. That the United States would become “more completely and triumphantly a democracy, a land in which every religious group and race shall be holly free to make its own ethical, spiritual, educational, artistic contribution to the treasure store of American life”; 3. That he wished “to see men and women of good ill in every Christian Church in the world, Protestant and Catholic, come to recognize that it is not only un-Christian but indecent to treat Jews as they have been ?ealt with throughout many centuries.”


In a rapid review of his own life, at the 75th birthday celebration, Dr. Wise said “I was born in Budapest, the birthplace of Max Nordau and Theodore Herzl, on March 17, 1874, Possibly I acquired at birth my Innate love for Zion and my life-long {SPAN}##areer{/SPAN} as a fighter. J came from a fighting family of rabbis. My grandfather fought or Hungary’s freedom. My father fought at his father’s side. I have battled throughout my life for many causes. First for Zionism, together with some of the {SPAN}##t{/SPAN} men of American Israel–men like Dr. Gustave Gottheill, Prof. Richard Gottheil, I.P. Mendos and Justice Louis D, Brandeis, that great Jew and one of the greatest Americans.

“My second battle has been for the Jewish people through the American and ##rld Jewish Congress, for the millions of Jews everywhere who could never become re##ilders of Palestine. They required protection, the only protection Jews ought ever ##k, viz, equal political rights. Together with Justice Brandies, Judge Julian W. ##ck, Justice Felix Frankfurter, Nathan Straus, Louis Lipsky, Pincus Ruttenberg and there, we founded the American Jewish Congress movement. It was largely a protest #ainst the undemocratic management of American Jewish affairs. With Justice Bran#is first as our visible and later our invisible leader, we Insisted that American ##ws regardless of their geographical origin or economic status were intelligent though to manage their community affairs and not have them managed for them by well-#aning, generous philanthropists.”“Then followed the World Jewish Congress in 1936, which I helped organize with he aid of some of the most distinguished Jews of European lands. Among them was Dr. ?hum Goldmann, a brilliant statesman. The World Jewish Congress has endeavored to ?feguard the rights of every minority so that the rights of Jews may not be suffered to become inferior. We who seek to safeguard our minority rights must be prepared to ?attle for the protection of any and every minority. In the course of more than 50 years of service, I have also been privileged to found the Free Synagogue and the Jewish Institute of Religion, the latter now merged with the Hebrew Union College, as one of the outstanding schools for the training of men for the rabbinate,”


President Weizmann, in a statement issued here today, said: “One of the

“America and Israel have sustained in his death an irreparable loss, but for both of them as for countless men and women of the democratic faith throughout the world he will long continue as a living and effective force for good. I have lost one of my dearest friends, the Jewish people one of its most illustrious sons,”

Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Elath said in a statement: “The people of Israel will join with Jews and non-Jews all over the world In mourning the death of one of the great humanitarians of this century. We of Israel owe him much for he was, half a century ago, among the pioneers in Zionism who lifted their voice in the cause of Israel’s redemption. A fearless and tireless advocate of the causes he held dear, he fought our battle tenaciously decade after decade until It was won.

“It is tragic that his failing health did not permit Dr. Wise to accept the invitation extended by President Chaim Weizmann and Prime Minister David Ben Gurion to visit the new state which he helped to bring into being. The world has lost a great crusader who was in the vanguard of every battle for freedom and whose life was one long struggle for living democracy.”


All major Jewish organizations issued statements mourning the death of Dr. Wise. The World Jewish Congress, of which he was president, said: “A prince has fallen this day in Israel. Stephen Wise was not only the founder and leader of the World Jewish Congress and one of the foremost protagonists in the battle for the establishment of the state of Israel, but he was one of the greatest fighters for democracy and human rights of our generation. The passing of this towering personality will leave a void in the ranks of Jewish leadership which cannot be filled; it will be felt wherever men fight for freedom.”

Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president of the Zionist Organization of America, declared: “In the passing of Dr. Stephen S. Wise, American Jewry and the Zionist movement particularly have lost one of the foremost and stalwart champions of the cause of Justice. An intrepid fighter for and outstanding exponent of Zionism, Dr. Stephen Wise personified the ideal to which he ceaselessly dedicated his great gift of mind and heart.”

Statements mourning the passing of Dr. Wise as a loss to both America and the Jewish’ people and characterizing him as a “dedicated and courageous” leader were issued by the American Jewish Committee, Henry Morgenthau, in behalf of the United Jewish Appeal, and Edward M.M Warburg, for the Joint Distribution Committee.

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