Bendix Corporation Chairman Michael Blumenthal, who was designated today by President-elect Jimmy Carter to be his Secretary of the Treasury is the second refugee from Hitlerism to reach is the second refugee from Hitlerism to reach a pinnacle of political power in the United States.
Like Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger who fled from Germany with his parents and brother in the late 1930s, Blumenthal and his parents and sister departed five years after the Nazis took over Germany’s government.
The Blumenthal family in Berlin was “completely secularized and non-religious,” an side to Blumenthal told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday, “until the Nazis came along to remind them they were Jewish.” The aide said Blumenthal is Jewish, “no question about it–culturally and ethnically Jewish” but “Jewish activities are not in the center of his preoccupations.”
REPORT HE IS PRESBYTERIAN
Time Magazine, however, in its current edition (December 20) describes his parents as non-practicing Jews and Blumenthal as a “baptised Presbyterian.” It was also reported that, according to another source, the family converted to Protestantism when the Nazis were rising to power.
Blumenthal, who was born in Berlin in 1926, is the son of Ewald and Rose Valerie Mark Blumenthal. The family left Berlin in late 1938 or early 1939, the aide said, and made their way to Shanghai where “they were stuck” through World War 11.
While in Shanghai, they were sheltered in a camp conducted by the Joint Distribution Committee. Shanghai was the locale for a large German-Jewish community of refugees in that period. It began disintegrating after the war and is now extinct. The Blumenthal family came to the United States in 1947.
REPORTEDLY CLOSE TO BALL, VANCE
Blumenthal was reported by close friends as being a good friend of Secretary of State-designate Cyrus Vance. He also was said to be a close friend of former Undersecretary of State George Ball, who for a time was considered a front runner as Kissinger’s successor.
However, Blumenthal’s own position towards such matters as the Arab boycott, trade with the Soviet Union hinging on Soviet emigration policy and other matters have not been specified by those close to him.
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.