Oscar Cohen, a leader in the field of human relations who for 25 years was associated with the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, died here yesterday at the age of 77.
During most of his tenure with the ADL which started in 1948, Cohen served as director of its national Program Division in charge of education programs to combat anti-Semitism and racism and to advance democratic ideals and intergroup understanding.
He was directly responsible for the University of California study entitled “Patterns of American Prejudice” which led to the publication by Harper & Row of eight books on the subject. He worked closely with sociologists Melvin Tumin, Gordon Allport, Arnold Rose, Martin Deutsch and others and was responsible for developing such ADL publications as ” A Nation of Immigrants” by President Kennedy and “American Jews: Their Story” by Oscar Handlin.
Cohen guided the ADL Progam Division’s efforts to develop educational programs on human relations for such groups as the Job Corps, Walter Reade Hospital and various branches of the U.S. armed forces. In addition, the ADL produced a series of 12 filmstrips on Judaism under his leadership for use in Catholic parochial schools. He retired in 1974, but continuted as a consultant.
Cohen, born in Canada and educated at the University of Toronto, helped organize the Canadian National Committee on Refugees in an effort to secure the entry into Canada of refugees of all faiths forced to flee Germany during the Nazi era. He was director of the Detroit Jewish Community Council from 1946-49.
He served in the Canadian army from 1941-1949, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his military service,
A memorial service will be held at the ADL’s national headquarters here on Friday.
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.