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Solomon Lowenstein Dead; Mourned by All Leading Jewish Organizations

January 21, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Solomon Lowenstein, executive vice-president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, a director of the National Refugee Service and of the American Jewish Committee, died in the street here today from a heart attack, while on his way to the J.D.C. offices to participate in a meeting there. He was 65 years old.

His sudden death ended the career of one of America’s most distinguished social workers. Born in Philadelphia, he moved at the age of 17 to Cincinnati where he was graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1898 and received a rabbinical degree from the Hebrew Union College in 1901. He went into social work directly from college and became superintendent of the United Hebrew Charities of Cincinnati. In 1904 he came to New York and was appointed manager of the United Hebrew Charities, now the Jewish Social Service Association. From 1905 to 1920 he was superintendent of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and in 1920 he became executive director of the Federation. In 1936 he was elected executive vice-president of the Federation.

Mr. Lowenstein represented the Joint Distribution Committee and was a member of the American Red Cross Commission to Palestine in 1918-1919. He had been president of the National Conference of Jewish Social Service, the New York State Conference of Social Work and the New York City Conference of Social Work. In 1938 he was elected president of the National Conference of Social Work, the parent body for social work of all creeds and faiths in the country.

Mr. Lowenstein was also a member of the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and vice-president of the American Friends of the Hebrew University. He also held important positions in various welfare institutions in New York State and City. He is survived by a son and three daughters.


The Joint Distribution Committee, in a statement issued under the signatures of Paul Baerwald, honorary chairman Edward M. M. Warburg, chairman and Joseph C. Hymen, executive vice-chairman, emphasized the active participation of Dr. Lowenstein in almost every aspect of the J.D.C.’s work from the inception of war relief efforts in behalf of stricken Jews abroad.

"The imprint of Solomon Lowenstein’s personality," the statement says, "his keen intelligence, his clear and impartial appraisal of all problems, his warm human sympathies, his deep and abiding devotion to the work of this Committee, remains with us as a monument and testimonial to this great-hearted friend, adviser and colleague. His title was Vice-Chairman of the J.D.C, but no title could do justice to the position he held. He enjoyed, as did no other man, the respect, the love and the affection of all who had any measure of contact with him. His loss to us, and to many other important causes in the general community, can never be repaid. He was truly a great American and a man who was deeply conscious of his spiritual heritage and his Jewish tradition. The members of the Joint Distribution Committee feel deeply bereaved in the passing of Solomon Lowenstein, and extend their heartfelt sympathy to his family.


William Rosenwald, President of the National Refugee Service, in a statement said: "Solomon Lowenstein was a leader from the very first in American efforts to aid the oppressed people who sought haven here. His wise and inspiring council represents an enduring contribution to the refugee cause. All of us associated with him in the work of the National Refugee Service, where he was a member of the Executive Committee, have suffered a profound personal loss."


Sidney Hollander, President of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, stated: "The whole Jewish community has suffered an irreplaceable loss. Solomon Lowenstein was a leader in communal work, a mainstay of movements for human betterment and social advance, a guide to the translation of social ideals into practical programs. For nearly four decades Solomon Lowenstein had been the keystone of the organizations which expressed the best instincts of man as a social being. His versatile interests and skills, his intellectual vigor, his determined optimism and his unyielding faith gave vitality and direction to a host of social movements. He was a founder of the Bureau of Social Research and of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, which he served as Treasurer and a member of its directing board."


Morris D. Waldman, general secretary of the American Jewish Committee, made the following statement: "By virtue of exceptional character and abilities, Solomon Lowenstein acquired a unique position of leadership in Jewish community life. Only a few days ago a distinguished citizen characterized him to me as ‘The nearest thing to a perfect man.’ In this judgement all who have been intimately associated with him heartily concur. Of no man could it be said more truly that he sacrificed himself for the community. Many organizations have claimed him as one of their outstanding leaders. This reflects the catholicity of his interests. It also reflects his realization that all these activities were only facets of one all-embracing interest, the welfare of the community. Of no man could it be more truly said that his passing will leave a vacant place, difficult, if not impossible to fill. Of no man could it be more truly said that he fully earned, but did not seek, the many honors which were conferred upon him."


The American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs, through Emanuel Neumann its director, issued a statement reading. "The death of Dr. Solomon Lowenstein comes as a great shock. It is a severe loss which American Jewry could ill afford to sustain at this critical time. He was a non-Zionist in the organizational sense but was wholly imbued with a love for Zionism which stemmed from his love of Israel and of our great cultural heritage. He was one of the few among American Jewish leaders who could serve as a link and bridge between Zionism and non-Zionism and was sincerely devoted to the ideal of Jewish unity. This is a bad day for the Jewish cause and the cause of Jewish Palestine."

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