Jacob Landau, Founder of Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dies in N.Y.
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Jacob Landau, Founder of Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dies in N.Y.

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Jacob Landau, founder of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and its managing director until his retirement last July, died suddenly today in a New York hotel following a heart attack. He was 59 years old.

A native of Austria, he studied at the University of Vienna and participated actively in the Zionist student movement there. In 1917, he–with the help of a small group of friends–established the world’s first Jewish news agency at The Hague, primarily to serve as a channel in presenting the Jewish case to the world. The agency, then known as the Jewish Correspondence Bureau, reached a wide audience on both sides of the war front as well as in central lands and succeeded in creating a strong body of sentiment in favor of Jewish claims.

After World War I, Jacob Landau, in association with Meir Grossman, re-established the agency in London as a world-wide news service under the name of Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Offices were established in Paris, Warsaw, Berlin and New York. The Palestine Telegraphic Agency, now the Israel News Agency, was established in Jerusalem. JTA news was carried by the major world news agencies.

Mr. Landau transferred his headquarters to New York in the early twenties and New York became the central point of the JTA system which was subsequently extended to Latin America and South Africa. The agency scon acquized the status of a primary source of Jewish information for the general press as well as for the Jewish press and community.

As managing director of JTA, Mr. Landau’s duties took him to all parts of the world and resulted in close associations with leading statesman in many countries, including the late President Masaryk of Czechoslovakia, Aristide Briand of France and General Jan C. Smuts of South Africa. Mr. Landau succeeded in securing the support and participation of many outstanding Jewish personalities for the JTA.

The JTA was the world’s major source of information on the 1929 riots in Palestine and on the Hitlerite persecution of the Jews in Germany from 1933 to 1940 when the Nazis banned its operations there. The JTA first revealed to the world the systematic extermination of the Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

During World War II, Mr. Landau took an active part in organizing and launching the Overseas News Agency, a general news agency devoted to strengthening the Allied position and the democratic front throughout the world. The ONA, which he served as managing director, worked in close association with the JTA until their separation in 1949.

Funeral services are being arranged for Sunday from the Riverside Memorial Chapel.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund