Paris (Sep. 17)
Louis Oungre, director-general of the Jewish Colonization Association, the famous Jewish organization founded by Baron de Hirsch in 1891, will reach his 50th birthday on September 21. Born at Arlon, Belgium, M. Oungre is the grandson of a rabbi, and his father was the officiating minister of the town, having come there originally from Lorraine.
M. Oungre received his classical education at the Athenee d’Arlon and then took up philosophy and arts at the University of Ghent where he obtained his doctorate. Shortly after he settled in Paris, where although continuing his studies at the University, he became interested in banking and finance and soon came to the notice of several members of the council of the Jewish Colonization Association.
In 1910 they persuaded him to give the Association the benefit of his services. He began by undertaking an important mission to the Argentine. On his suggestion a series of measures were adopted by the ICA, as the Association is generally called, for providing the colonies in the Argentine with an opportunity of developing along proper lines and to enable the colonists to reach a much higher level of prosperity.
The following year M. Oungre became joint director of the Paris branch of the ICA together with M. Meyerson, the well-known philosopher. On the latter’s retirement some years later, M. Oungre was named chief director-general of the Jewish Colonization Association. Placed at the head of this great Jewish organization, he threw himself into its multitudinous activities with ardor and succeeded in giving new life to its various enterprises which he has directed for the past 20 years.
Throughout his entire connection with the ICA, M. Oungre has endeavored to establish real cooperation between the old-established ICA and the Jews of the United States where Jewish life since the World War has become so important a factor. He was, accordingly, one of the founders of the Joint-ICA-Foundation, a combination of the American Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Colonization Association, which since 1924 has been conducting reconstructive work on behalf of the Jewish population in most of the countries of Eastern Europe.
A great deal of credit is also due to him for the formation of the HICEM, the international Jewish emigration trust, which unites the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) of New York, the ICA and the Emigdirect of Berlin. In its three years of work the HICEM has been productive of remarkable results on behalf of Jewish emigrants. In recognition of M. Oungre’s achievements the French government conferred on him a few years ago the ribbon of the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and the Consistoire Central of Israelites in Belgium invited him to become a member of their body.