Maurice Perlzweig Dead at 89

Rabbi Maurice Perlzweig, a founder of the World Jewish Congress who served as the first chairman of the British Section and who headed the WJC delegation in 1945 to the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco, died here Monday at the age of 89.

Perlzweig was born in Poland in 1895 and was educated in England where he received acclaim for his oratorical skills and his athletic abilities as a world-class runner at Cambridge. He was founder and chairman of the University Labor Federation of Great Britain and president of the World Union of Jewish Students. After receiving his ordination he officiated at the Liberal Synagogue in London.

Joining Nahum Goldmann and Stephen Wise at the founding assembly of the WJC in Geneva in 1936, Perlzweig shortly thereafter was elected chairman of the British Section. During the critical war years, Perlzweig was appointed director of the WJC international affairs department in New York.

In the post-war years he represented the WJC at the Economic and Social Council of the UN, drafting many documents submitted to the Commission on Human Rights. Notably, he served as a chief spokesman and negotiator at the UN on behalf of the rights of the North African Jewish communities during the turbulent period in the 1950′s when the Maghreb states were achieving independence.

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