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Louis Marshall, Leader of World Jewry, Died One Year Ago Today in Zurich; Melchett Pays Tribute to D

September 11, 1930
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A year ago today Louis Marshall died in Zurich. On September 11, 1929, world Jewry, already grief-stricken over the victims of the Palestine riots, was plunged into deep mourning as the news was flashed to the farthest corners of the earth that Louis Marshall, the leader of world Jewry, honored and respected by multitudes of all races and creeds and nations, was no more.

Well past the Biblical three score, Mr. Marshall was fatally stricken shortly after he had brought to a successful consummation the unity of Israel with the signing of what he called the “pact of glory” that gave birth to the extended Jewish Agency for Palestine. Mr. Marshall was mourned not only by Jews the world over, whose acknowledged leader he was, but by everyone familiar with the ideals, achievements and character of this American Jew.

In an article released by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency for publication on the first anniversary of Mr. Marshall’s death, Henry Schneiderman, assistant secretary of the American Jewish Committee, of which Mr. Marshall was president for many years, pays notable tribute to the life and achievements of his late chief.


Mr. Schneiderman writes that “of the many services which he rendered to the Jewish people, a few stand out as of unusual importance and significance. He was the leader in the movement which brought about the solution of the vexatious passport question, which arose out of the refusal on the part of the Russian government to recognize the validity of the American passport in the hands of Jews, and a few other categories of American citizens. When the American Jewish Committee decided that the only solution was the abrogation of the treaty which was violated by this attitude of the Russian government, Mr. Marshall led the fight which resulted in the passage by both House and Senate of a resolution asking the President to denounce the treaty. Mr. Marshall will also be remembered very vividly because of the vigor and skill with which he combatted anti-Semitism and for his part in the dramatic apology and retraction by Henry Ford, after the latter’s Dearborn Independent had for years carried on a campaign of vilification against the Jews. The Jewish people owe to Mr. Marshall a debt of gratitude for the tactful, dignified and statesmanlike manner in which he conducted the negotiations leading up to Henry Ford’s apology. The thousands of letters which Mr. Marshall wrote as answers to anti-Jewish attacks are masterpieces in their field.

“Among the Jews of Europe, Mr. Marshall’s memory will be kept green because of his leadership in the raising and distribution of funds for the relief of the Jewish sufferers during and after the World War, and also because of his efforts to obtain at the Peace Conference the so-called minority treaties which removed cases of injustice against racial, linguistic, and religious minorities in European countries from the category of internal events to that of matters of international concern. In world Jewish history, Mr. Marshall will also be remembered because of his years of work in the direction of bringing about the union of all those forces in Jewry which are working for the rehabilitation of Palestine, whether these forces are motivated by Zionist ideals or merely by sentimental or philanthropic concern for the new settlement in Palestine.”


Lord Melchett, British industrialist and president of the English Zionist Federation, on the eve of his departure for Europe recalled the great services of Mr. Marshall to world Jewry. In a statement released through the Allied Jewish Campaign, Lord Melchett declared that the “great work of Louis Marshall in connection with all matters affecting the Jewish community, and more especially the services he rendered in the cause of the Jewish minorities in Central and Eastern Europe, stand forever as evidence of what can be achieved by a man of courage, character, ability and endless persistence and patience, and of the respect he engendered in all those who came in contact with him for his fearless appeal to justice and moral rectitude, which enabled him to achieve so much.”

Recalling that he had known him best in connection with their joint work in Palestine, both with the Commission of which Lord Melchett was chairman, and in the economic development of Palestine as well as in the construction of the Jewish Agency, Lord Melchett said, “Marshall may be said to have died on the field of endeavor. No one will forget the last great speech he made at Zurich at the Agency meeting when, already sore stricken by the disease which so shortly carried him to his grave, he thrilled us all by the lucid, clear, and forceful manner of his presentation and the the fervor of his utterance.

“Looking back over our troubled path of events of the last year, political and economical, I have often regretted that we no longer have his clear counsel, his courageous and steadfast help to assist us. He set a great example which will never be forgotten, and handed down a great tradition which inspired us all for the future.

“We want more men like Louis Marshall and I sincerely trust that his example and memory will be kept forever before us.”


David M. Bressler, one of the chairmen of the Allied Jewish Campaign, said of Mr. Marshall yesterday: “The place that Louis Marshall held in Jewish life not only in this country but throughout the world is one, I sincerely believe, which will never be filled by any other man. At least not in our time.

“For the relief of the millions of Jews in Eastern and Central Europe, rendered destitute with the outbreak of the World War in 1914, he gave himself without stint. Together with the late Jacob H. Schiff he was the prime mover in 1914 of the organization of the American Jewish Relief Committee, which initiated those famous war-relief campaigns that have been conducted in this country. In each of these campaigns he rendered inspiring, unsurpassable service, and made generous contributions.

“Just prior to the meeting of the Jewish Agency in Zurich last August, he attended a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Joint Distribution Committee, which is the distributing body of the Jewish overseas relief funds. At that meeting, Joseph C. Hyman, as member of a commission designated for the purpose, reported on the economic status of European Jewry after a tour of some thirteen countries which he had made in advance of this meeting:

“I cherish in my memory still, as it is cherished by all who heard them, the words he uttered when he had completed the unfolding of the tragic tale of Jewish agony:

“‘I feel that it would be a betrayal of a whole people for us to discontinue this life-saving work—a betrayal doubly culpable in view of the fact that the activities which the Joint Distribution Committee has launched are beginning to take root in the lives of the many thousands who have only us to look to for help. I feel sure that once the facts are made known, the Jews of America will want us to go on, and that they will give us the means, as they have so splendidly done in the past, for us to continue our task of saving East European Jewry from the terrible fate that would otherwise be theirs.’

“Had Louis Marshall lived, he would have been the directing genius of the effort to raise $6,000,000 which is now being sought in this country for the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Palestine, for the reason that the present campaign, in which the two major Jewish causes are combined, would have been regarded by him as the symbol of his great life-ideal, the unity of the Jewish people. It is well known to his friends and coworkers that he had planned to start this campaign upon his return to this country. We who are endeavoring to carry on in his stead miss him sorely—as he is missed by his people the world over.”


Morris Rothenberg, another of the national chairmen of the Allied Jewish Campaign and one of the leading Zionists of this country said:

“Those of us who are devoted to the ideal of Palestine rebuilt cherish the memory of Louis Marshall as one of our great friends. Although he was not a Zionist, he was, as an ardent Jew, sincerely devoted to Palestine. From the very beginning of the Zionist movement he, though critical of some of its aspects, was ever ready to cooperate with its endeavors to colonize the land with Jews and to revive Hebraic culture.

“When in 1917, the Balfour Declaration recognizing the historic Jewish claims to Palestine was issued by Great Britain, Louis Marshall caused the adoption a few months later by the American Jewish Committe of a resolution which, among others, contained this clause:

“‘The opportunity will be welcomed by this Committee to aid in the realization of the British declaration, under such protectorate or suzerainty as the Peace Congress may determine, and, to that end, to cooperate with those who, attracted by religious or historic associations, shall seek to establish in Palestine a center for Judaism, for the stimulation of our faith, for the pursuit and development of literature, science, and art in a Jewish environment, and for the rehabilitation of the land’.”

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