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October 02, 1959 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1959-10-02

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS --- Friday, October 2, 1959 --

Dorothy Canfield Fisher: Fiery Friend of the Jews

"It never occurred to me
that if you give a cupful . . .
of good will . . . out of your
heart to someone, you have
less for the next person. I've
always felt that what's in the
heart comes welling up con-
tinuously so that there can
never be as many dippers-full
taken out from it' as one has
strength to handle."
Writer Dorothy Canfield
Fisher, known for her "local
color realism" of her native
state of Vermont, is called an
"untiring humanitarian" and
friend of the Jews by her Ger-
man-born friend, Dr. David
Baum g ardt, former professor
of philosophy, in a tribute to
her in the American Jewish
Historical Society's monthly
According to Baumgardt,
"she took an interest not only
in Jewish history but became
one of the most understanding,
and even fiery friends of pres-
ent-day Jewry."
Mrs. Fisher, who died
shortly before her 80th birth-

day, in November, 19 5 8 ,
wrote her last great novel,
"Seasoned -Timber," in 1939.
It was meant to be, Dr.
Baumgardt writes, "a well-
weighed and subtle, but all
the more passionate, declara-
tion of war against the corn-
placeny with which the
world looked on at Hitler's
slaughters of Jews and lib-
In her "American Portits,"
which appeared in 1946, she
presented 68 short biographies
of leading Americans, six of
them Jews: Bernard Baruch,
Felix Frankfurter, Rose
Schneiderman, Arthur Hays
Sulzberger, Louis Finkelstein
and David Lilienthal.
"Whenever appropriate," Dr.
Baumgardt adds, "the Jewish-
ness of the selected Jews is
vividly appreciated as a valu-
able mark of their individuali-
ties. Dorothy Fisher once told
me with a slightly amused
smile that, strangely, she never
met at the home of some Jew-
ish friends any other Jew.


Extends Heartiest Greetings on the New Year to
All Its Members and Sup-porters and to the Entire
Jewish Community.

Mrs. Morris Miller, President
Harry Stolsky, Secretary

New Year Greetings


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Sincere Best Wishes
for the New Year


Federal Savings and Loan Corp.

31/2% Current Rate

Friendly, Convenient Home of Savings Service
Member of

Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation
Federal Home Loan System
All Accounts Insured to $10,000

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KE 7-3400

HOURS: Mon. thru Thurs., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fridays, 10 a.m. to . 8 p.m.

Most likely these people
thought such an arrangement
particularly smart. But she
herself, in all her naturalness,
was obviously not exactly of
the same opinion."
Another of her works
which brought out Dorothy
Fisher's Jewish sympathies
was the short story "The City
of Refuge" in the volume,
"The Real Motive," which
tells of "the unavoidable con-
flict between the life of a
lonely Jewish genius and
the world of social pleasant-
ness and big worldly suc-
A similar theme turns up in
"The Artist," a short story out
of the volume, "Hillsboro Peo-
ple," and "Professor P a u 1
Meyer, Master of the Word"
out of the collection of stories
entitled "Raw Material."
The latter is based on an ex-
perience Dorothy Canfield en-
countered when she was a stu-
dent of Dr. Meyer's in Paris.
A leading Jewish philologist,
Dr. Meyer had testified as a
handwriting expert in favor of
Alfred Dreyfus at the second
trial in the much-publicized
treason case.
"A crowd of jeering anti-
Semites stormed into his lec-
ture room; 'mostly young men
. . .' Dorothy Canfield writes,
stamped and hooted and
shrieked out, 'Dirty Jew! What
were you paid? . . . What was
your price, dirty Jew?' and
other things less printable. I
cannot forget his bearing. He
did not resent it, he made no
effort to resist it, he struck no
melodramatic attitude, as did
many of the fine men then
fighting for justice in France.
He smothered the flame out,
down to the last spark by his
total disregard of it . . . his
was the . . . waiting look of a
man in ordinary talk who waits
to go on with what he has to
say - until a pounding truck of
iron rails has time to pass the
Emanating a sense of their
entire unimportance, Mrs.
Fisher continues, Dr. Meyer
gradually reduced his an-
tagonists to silence. "Their
furious voices flattened out
to an occasional scream
which sounded foolish even
to their own ears. . ."
This "silent treatment" was
characteristic of D o r o thy
Fisher, even with regard to
the "up and down evaluations"
of her talent. Dr. Baumgardt
writes: "As far as her own
work was concerned, she en-
dured them up to her last day
with quite a unique inner su-
periority, without the slightest
trace of resentment or embit-
As a friend of the Jews, she
refused a publisher's request
to translate into English Pa-
pini's successful "Life of
Christ" unless a "stupidly and
revoltingly anti-Semitic chap-
ter on the wandering Jew
would be omitted; and so it
As a friend of the Jews, she
was pleased with her son Jim-
my, who studied in the Ger-
man "Odenwaldschule,"
financed by German Jews, left
his fraternity in Pennsylvania
when it refused to admit Jews.
As a friend of the Jews,
the humanitarian Dorothy
Fisher arranged summer va-
cations at the homes of Ver-
mont farmers for 52 Jewish
German and Austrian refu:
gee children living in New
And as a friend of Israel,
she refused to endorse the
program of the Council for
Judaism. For although she
had "personal high esteem for
Lessing J. Rosenwald, she
would not comply with this
request of the Council, after
she had often publicly de-

Mr. and Mrs.
Paul Silver & Family

clared her great interest in
Zionism." She believed it mis-
of 19777 Rutherford
taken, she said, "to think that
Best Wishes to Their
one cannot have a strong in-
Relatives and Friends for
terest in another country with-
A Happy New Year
out having less in his own."
A few days before her death,
Dorothy Canfield Fisher wrote cASUL9_9_9_9
Dr. Baumgardt, in reference to
her old friend Senator Ralph
E. Flanders' questionable atti-
ture toward Zionism: "If only
we old New Englanders could
do something worthwhile for
Israel to remove that frighten-
wish all their relatives
ing tension in the Middle East."

Lillian Bias
Posner and

The beginning of strife is
as when one letteth out water:
therefore leave off contention,
before it be meddled with.—
Prov. 17:14.

and Friends A Happy
and Healthy New Year
Gmar Chsimo Tovo

C6-2SIMS1C615-trtnraaaacsaa ,

Best Wishes
For A
Year of Health and Happiness
To Our
Relatives and Friends

and Family
Mitchel Fishman

Benjamin Fishman
and Family


UN 2-1335

8418 W. McNichols


Extend heartiest wishes for a

appy new ear

to all their friends and all Chaverim of the

Labor Zionist Movement throughout the

World. May the coming year see the con-

sumation of everlasting world-wide peace.

Central Overall Supply Co.

Detroit, Michigan

The Officers and Directors

of the



2995 Joy Road

Extend their best wishes for

Wappy and

grospe•ous new gear
to -

All their Members, their Ladies
Auxiliary, their Ladies Chevra
Kadisha, Synagogues, Organizations,
and Detroit Jewry.

Nathan P. Rossen, Pres.
Louis Rose, Vice Pres.
Ben Schneider, Treas.
Sam Nelson, Hon. Pres.

Solomon Rubin, Sec.
Morris Dorn, Trustee
Peter S. Goldstein, Trustee
Edward Miller, Trustee'

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