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Andre Blumel, French Zionist Leader, Dies at Age 80

May 29, 1973
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Andre Blumel, a former president of the French Zionist Federation who later became a Paris municipal councillor on the Communist ticket, died here at the age of 80. He had been president of the France-USSR Friendship League. Blumel’s family announced that he died early Saturday morning from a heart attack and that his body will be given to Paris University for medical research in accordance with his wishes.

Mr. Blumel, a lifelong Socialist, became Leon Blum’s chief of staff in 1936 and played an active role in laying down France’s social legislation and the 40-hour week for which the “Popular Front” government is remembered.

A member of the underground resistance during the German occupation of France he was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 but managed to survive. After the war he became a senior official in the French Ministry of Interior at the time of the “Exodus” affair, He exerted all available pressure to influence the French government to withstand British pressure and prevent the Royal Navy from forcibly disembarking the passengers in France.

Elected president of the French Zionist Federation he resigned in 1960, reportedly in disagreement with the policy of the Israeli government. In 1965 he became a member of the Paris Municipal Council representing the Communist Party and president of the France-USSR Friendship League. During his numerous trips to the Soviet Union he interceded on behalf of Russia’s Jews. He tried to attend the Leningrad trials as a legal observer.

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