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Max M. Warburg, Noted Jewish Philanthropist, Dies in New York; Left Germany in 1938

December 29, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Max M. Warburg, noted philanthropist and Jewish communal leader who left Nazi Germany in 1938 and became an American citizen at the age of 77, died last night at his home here. He was 79 years old.

Funeral services will be held Monday morning at the Park Avenue Synagogue. He will be interred in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Mr. Warburg, a brother of the late Felix M. Warburg, was for nearly fifty years the head of the four-generation-old German banking house of M.M. Warburg and Co, until it was taken over by the Nazis. For years he was a director of the Central-Veroin Deutschen Staatsbuerger Juedischen Glaubens (Central Union of German Jews,) which was a representative body of all German Jews. His most important Jewish work was with the Hilfsverein fer Deutschen Juden (German Jewish Aid Society,) major agency in Germany for the relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of distressed Jews, founded in 1901 by his father, Moritz Warburg.

In this country he continued his interest in Jewish communal affairs and was elected a member of the Joint Distribution Committee board of directors and executive committee in December, 1939. He was also elected to active membership of the American Jewish Committee and became prominent as a leader in organizations formed here to speed the integration into the American scene of European refugees. Among these was the Refugee Economic Corporation, of which he was a director.

Continuing his active participation in overseas relief, reconstruction and resettlement activities, Mr. Warburg and his brother Fritz offered to the J.D.C. in 1945 as a child-care center the use of his estate in Blankenese, near Hamburg, which had been seized by the Nazis and returned to him after liberation. Two hundred orphaned Jewish children up to the age of 16, survivors of Nazi concentration camps, are new living on the estate.


The active and abiding interest which Max Warburg displayed in the welfare of distressed Jews overseas was emphasized in a statement on his death made today by Paul Baerwald, honorary chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee.

“It was the good fortune of the J.D.C. to have enjoyed the wise counsel and outstanding assistance of Max Warburg for the entire period of its history,” the statement said. “To us of the J.D.C. he represented the overseas counterpart of his brother, our own beloved chairman and leader, Felix M.Warburg. With his passing, the cause of the distressed has lost a great champion. And humanity is his debtor. In behalf of the officers and members of the Joint Distribution Committee, of which Max Warburg became a member of the executive, I extend to his widow and the other surviving members of his family our most heartfelt expressions of sorrow and sympathy.”

Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee and Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president, issued a statement declaring that Warburg’s “wisdom and counsel in humanitarian causes and in efforts to alleviate the plight of Jewish victims of war and persecution, will be sorely missed by his admiring associates.” He was a member of the administrative committee of the American Jewish Committee.

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