Funeral services were held here today for Julius Klein, former commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA. He died here in his native city April 6 at the age of 82.
Klein, who attained the rank of Major General in his military career, was attending a college in Berlin when World War I started. He was placed under house arrest when the United States entered the war but, with the help of a friend, he got a Swedish passport to France where he joined the American army and became a war correspondent. He was 17 years old at the time.
In 1933, Klein reentered the army as a Private. His friend, Gen. George Marshall (then a Colonel) appointed Klein as chief of a secret investigation of the German American Bund. Klein’s reports became the basis for the FBI’s efforts to counter subversive activities during World War II. During the war, Klein served in the Pacific Theater, receiving a battlefield promotion to Colonel in 1944. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the Soldiers Medal for Heroism, the ribbon of the French Legion of Honor, and the Philippine Distinguished Service Star. In 1946, Klein served as special assistant to Secretary of War Robert Patterson.
VARIED INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
In 1947, he was elected commander of the Jewish War Veterans and led American Jewish efforts to win U.S. support for recognition of an independent Jewish state in Palestine. He organized parades and demonstrations of veterans of all faiths, and led “The Shirt off Your Back Campaign,” during which 100,000 uniforms were collected and shipped to the Haganah in April, 1948.
In 1948, at the request of the U.S. government, Klein arranged a successful meeting between German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben Gurion to expedite reparation payments to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. The Israeli government awarded Klein the War of Independence Medal. A month ago, the government of Israel awarded him the Remembrance Medal commemorating Jewish resistance and combat during World War II.
Klein also pursued a successful career in journalism and public relations. He served as an editor of the Hearst newspaper chain from 1926 to 1933 and as an executive of RKO Universal Pictures from 1934 to 1939 before establishing his own public relations firm after the war. In the famous play, “Front Page,” the character named Dutch was modeled after Klein.
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.