President Roosevelt and Governor Lehman of New York today joined the scores of leaders in every walk of life sending messages of condolence to the family of Aldermanic President Bernard S. Deutsch, who died at the age of fifty-one last night of angina pectoris after a few days illness brought on by overwork.
His sudden death came as a shock to city officials and leaders in American Jewish life. With tears in his eyes Mayor LaGuardia announced the death today to the meeting of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which Mr. Deutsch had expected to attend. The board adjourned after a short session devoted to tribute to Mr. Deutsch.
Police lines guarded the Deutsch home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Newspapermen and other callers were refused admittance. It was learned Mrs. Frances Deutsch, his wife, was prostrated with grief.
Funeral services will be held ten o’clock Sunday morning at Temple Emanu-El with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise officiating. Burial will be in Mount Hebron Cemetery, Queens. Governor Lehman and a representative of President Roosevelt will be present. The Board of Aldermen will attend in a body.
Mr. Deutsch’s death first became known two o’clock this morning when a message went out over the police telegraph system to rush a police car to the home of Rabbi Wise and speed him to the Deutsch home.
Mayor LaGuardia was awakened and also rushed to the Deutsch home. He emerged later, weeping, and ordered a police line thrown about the home.
Later the mayor ordered flags on all city buildings half-staffed for ten days. At the Board of Estimate meeting he declared:
“The cause of good city government has suffered another loss. Mr. Deutsch died in the line of duty with full honors. He gave all that was in him and more to the people of the city.”
The American Jewish Congress, of which Mr. Deutsch was president for seven years, called an emergency meeting of its governing board, which passed a resolution of grief and then ordered the offices closed in mourning until Monday.
The Congress will hold a memorial meeting Dec. 1 at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Deutsch is survived by his wife and two daughters, Eleanor and Dorothy Edith.
It was disclosed that earlier in the week Mr. Deutsch suffered a heart attack in his office and had been ordered home by his physician to rest. A statement issued at that time ascribed the confinement to “the strain occasioned by innumerable luncheons, dinner meetings and other functions.”
In addition to being a prominent lawyer and civic worker, Mr. Deutsch stood in the forefront of the leaders of American Jewry. As president of the American Jewish Congress between 1928 and this year, he guided the organization through the difficult first years of Hitler’s regime in Germany, placing it in the position of an agressive defender of Jewish rights.
Among the other positions in Jewish life he held were: member of the Board of Directors of Young Judea, member of the National Council of the Jewish Agency, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Conciliation Court of America, member of the National Council of the Joint Distribution Committee, member of the American Committee on Rights of Religious Minorities, vice president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, member of the executive committee of the Menorah Association and of the Jewish Council of Greater New York.
Born in Baltimore in 1884, he made his way rapidly through the College of the City of New York and the New York Law School and had been practicing law since 1905.
His law career was marked by phemonenal success. He was president of the Bronx County Bar Association and a member of the Admissions Committee of the New York Bar Association. In 1925 he was appointed member of the New York State Municipal Law Commission.
Mr. Deutsch first became prominent in politics in 1932 when the City Bar Association declined to approve either the Democratic or Republican nomees for Supreme Court Justice. Mr. Deutsch polled 300,000 votes as an independent.
His popularity led to his nomination for Aldermanic President on the Fusion ticket in 1933. He was elected, and lifted the position from a routine post to one of great civic importance.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.