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Pierre Dreyfus, Prof. Alexander Pekelis Killed in Airplane Crash En Route to U.S.

December 30, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Pierre Dreyfus, prominent French-Jewish leader, and Prof. Alexander H. Pekelis, member of the American Zionist Emergency Council and one of the leaders of the World Jewish Congress and of the Zionist Laborites in the United States, were killed yesterday in the crash and explosion of a Paris-New York Constellation at Shannon Airport, Eire. Dr. David Tannenbaum, director of the Palestine Economic Bureau of the Zionist Organization of America, who was also on board, was among the injured.

Dreyfus, who was 55 years old, was the son of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus whose conviction on charges of treason–which was subsequently reversed–shook political circles throughout France during the latter part of the last century. Although a member of the Legion of Honor and a veteran of both World Wars who was decorated by Marshal Petain in 1916, he was forced to flee France to the United States in June 1942 because of the Vichy Government’s anti-Jewish laws. During the remainder of the war he lived in this country lecturing and writing.

Dreyfus took a particular interest in ORT work. Beside serving as head of the French ORT, he was also a member of the central board of the World Ort Union and a member of its executive committee. He was also a member of the executive of the American OSE, Jewish health society, and of the French OSE and was vice-president of the American Friends of the Alliance Israelite and a member of the central committee of the Alliance in Paris. Dreyfus was returning to the United States following an inspection tour of Jewish orphanages in France and was due to make a report to the American OSE which had sent him on the mission. He had also conferred on Alliance matters while in Paris.

Dr. Pekelis, chief consultant to the Commission on Law and Social Action of the American Jewish Congress and Associate Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School for Social Research, was returning from the World Zionist Congress in Basle. He was born in Odessa forty-four years ago. He studied and lectured in the Universities of Leipzig, Vienna, Florence and Paris and, after coming to this country in 1941, at Columbia University. He was elected editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review for 1942-43, the first foreign born person to hold that post. He had served as chairman of the European Council of the World Jewish Congress.

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