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British Parliamentarians, Jewish Leaders Mourn Death of Sydney Silverman at Age 72

Parliamentarians and Jewish leaders expressed condolences today over the death of Sydney S. Silverman, Laborite member of Parliament and a life-long Zionist, who died at London Hospital Friday at the age of 72. Mr. Silverman, a member of Parliament for 33 years, was hospitalized ten days ago following a stroke.

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress, declared that the Congress and he personally were deeply sorrowed. “He was a political leader of admirable courage and unlimited dynamism and a devoted son of the Jewish people,” Dr. Goldmann declared.

A joint statement issued by Eva Marchioness of Reading, president of the British section of the WJC and Jacob Halevy, chairman, said: It is only a week since we elected Sydney Silverman by acclamation as an honorary vice president of the British section of the WJC, Now we have to mourn his passing. He was a doughty champion of all human freedoms but we as Jews shall always cherish his dedicated service to his people.”

The late Mr. Silverman was born in Liverpool of immigrant parents from Jassy, Rumania. He graduated from Liverpool University and was a lecturer in English for three years at the University of Finland in Helsinki. He settled in Liverpool in 1924 where he worked as a solicitor and was active in Labor Party politics. He served on the Liverpool City Council and was elected to Parliament in 1935.

What was considered Mr. Silverman’s greatest parliamentary achievement was his private members bill for the abolition of capital punishment which is now the law of the land. On another occasion he delivered a memorable speech protesting the arrest of Jewish Agency leaders by British Mandate authorities in Palestine shortly after World War II. During the war it was Silverman who asked the historic question in the House of Commons which elicited from the then Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, the Allied declaration warning the Nazis of retribution for their crimes against the Jewish people.

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