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May 06, 1988 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PURELY COMMENTARY

Louis Berry

Continued from Page 2

justifies respect to the term "vision" in
his family saga. He states in his
biographical data that turns into a
family record of pride:

Harold Berry

the purchase of the Fisher
Building, New Center Building
and 11 acres of parking lots on
Dec. 7, 1962.
Sam Leland did not know it
at the moment he said it, but his
nephew was tied to both of the
buildings he so admired. Our
firm, Berry & Seyburn, con-
tinued to occupy quarters on
the top floor of the 35-story
David Stott Building in down-
town Detroit until September
1965. We were then able to move
to the 28th floor of the Fisher
Building when WJR decided to
consolidate their executive of-
fices with their studios on the
21st and 22nd floors. We were
now the people in the famous
"Golden Tower of the Fisher
Building." One of my favorite
quips is that this spot is the on-
ly place where you can look
down on General Motors. Also,
my father and I, having each
served as president of Shaarey
Zedek, could do a special story
on material and spiritual adven-
tures entitled "From the Golden
Tower to the Towering Peak."
In addition to his general
partner, George Seyburn, Lou
invited Max Fisher to par-
ticipate with him in the owner-
ship of Fisher-New Center Com-
pany, which was formed to own
and operate these landmark
properties. Unlike most of our
other purchases of income pro-
perty, we did not have a great
deal of detail about the physical
and financial aspects of the
complex. It was a little bit like
the Louisiana Purchase; we
bought first and explored later.
There was a certain amount
of safety in one's intuition in this
case. We were purchasing a
piece of the history of Detroit
and the automotive industry.
The challenge was to run it as a
business with a healthy bottom
line without diminishing the
prestigious aura which the
Fisher family had bestowed
upon it.
An interesting comment by Berry

Alt

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There is such a thing as fail-
ing while succeeding. In the late
1960's, we tried and almost suc-
ceeded in persuading General
Motors to join us in a massive
expansion and enhancement of
the New Center area. Had they
been ready to do so at that time,
the history of Detroit could well
have been somewhat different.
A few new major buildings
in the New Center would have
triggered a chain of develop-
ments in housing, retail trade
and restaurants by smaller in-
vestors. A natural momentum of
unforced development would
have been created. Although we
failed in this mission, the Fisher-
New Center Co., after retiring all
its short-term debts and paying
several dividends, returned to
its stockholders many times the
original investment.
Here are a few other words with
which Harold concludes his memo with
pride: "Lou has an insightful way of
looking at things. When people ask him
what is best and most exciting deal, he
answers, 'The next one, which only pro-
ves that to the young at heart, memory
is but a prelude to anticipation."
From the time Louis Berry sold
"Shkarpetkes" — socks — to my father
to the era of great national business
achievements, Louis Berry was the
charming personality who made
friends. They were the associations that
inspired all who labored with him and
drew their admiration. All these factors
in the life of cigar-smoking Louis Berry
were minimal contrasted to the role he
had in the world Jewish community
He rose to great heights in the
United Jewish Appeal when, after
visiting the DE (Displaced Persons)
camps in Germany in the post-war
period he was among the chief activists
for the UJA. He had visited the camps
with Joseph Holtzman and the
magnitude of the communal attain-
ment they enrolled are represented in
the present triumphs of the Detroit
Allied Jewish Campaign.
From the DP Camps, Louis Berry
went on to what was then Palestine, on
the eve of the rebirth of the State of
Israel. On Feb. 15, 1948 he wrote his im-
pressions to Rabbi Morris Adler and
stated in part:

In Europe we saw darkness
and shadows. Here in Israel we
see light. The conditions and
suffering of our people in Ger-
many and Italy are incredible.
One would have to be without a
soul not to be moved emotional-
ly. Even when you see it, you
don't believe it. The dirt, the
squalor, the untold misery of
these unfortunate people
pierces your heart and crushes
your spirit. The determination
to live by these unfortunates
who have been suffering a living
death these many years is
admirable.

And now we see Palestine —
thriving, throbbing cities (Tel
Aviv, Jerusalem and tomorrow
Haifa). Kibbutzim, flourishing,
growing fruits and vegetables to
serve the needs of the poeple. We
see industries and factories pro-
viding all sorts of commodities.
Certainly the world can't
possibly call these Jews in these
various industrial and
agricultural activities "money
changers:'
This is one of the memos that have
just been made available by the ar-
chives of Congregation Shaarey Zedek.
There is a Jewish National Fund
forest in Israel bearing the Berry name,
and it is among the many recognitions
he has in the Zionist cause.
Congregation Shaarey Zedek owes
much to a group of dedicated people
who raised it to its present status. Louis
Berry remains chief among them — as
a former president and as a generous
one.
The communal appreciation of
Louis Berry's roles in many identifica-
tions continues on a high level. His 85th
birthday will be a special occasion when
he and his wife, Vivian, who is an ac-
tivist in women's movements, are
honored at the dedication of Sinai
Hospital surgery center in Farmington
Hills in the Louis and Vivian Berry
Health Center.
The communal health services thus
will be greatly expanded, as a mark of
honor to the Berrys and in recognition
of their generosity. The Berry name
thereby continues inseparable from the
highest goals in human services.

Holtzman Produces
Ethical 'Guidelines'

B

etter novels and poems than
rocks" is an ethical code that
was pronounced by the promi-
nent Detroit bibliophile Irwin 'Toby"
Holtzman as a comment on the sad
events imposed on Israel by rioters. As
one who gives encouragement to
writers and publishers in Israel, he has
good cause to express this humane
codification. In his friendship and en-
couragement to authors he has not ex-
cluded the Arabs. Providing publishing
assistance and platforms to Hebrew
writers and their works in English and
other translations, he has included the
Arab poets and their translators.
For perhaps a quarter of a century,
Holtzman was the accumulator of the
available published works of Jewish
authors in the Western, American and
Middle East spheres. With that role as
bibliophile commenced an interest in
writers and publishers, and in the pro-
cess he became their patron.
The emphasis is on Israel, and
through the years "Toby," Holtzman not
only assisted in publishing but also
brought some of the authors to this
country and arranged lecture tours for
many of them in universities.
These are the interests that have
gained for him appreciation in literary
ranks. Now he is in the role of a
publisher himself. He has just issued a
brochure entitled "A Check List of

Israeli Literature, 1948-1988 in
English." The compilation by Irwin T.
Holtzman is explained as having been
prepared at the Learning Resource
Center Library of Congregation
Shaarey Zedek, in cooperation with the
Archives of Israeli Literature at the
Israel National and Hebrew Universi-
ty Library in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.
In a sense, this provides a valuable
explanation of an impressive undertak-
ing by a lover of Hebraic learning and
literary aspirations. The totality of the
publishing results in Israel gives the
Holtzman product even greater
significance. He has assembled
everything available and thereby
makes readers of Israeli literature his
debtors.
There are eight literary divisions in
this brochure of 32 pages. They cover
these categories: prose, poetry, drama,
anthologies, children's books, criticism,
periodicals and bibliographies.
Because the names of the authors
run into the hundreds, it is difficult to
list them here. That would require the
entire text of the enriching Holtzman
book collection. It is necessary to in-
dicate that there is so complete an
assembling of authors and the many
scores of the books and publications in
the eight categories that the Holtzman-
published collected literary record is an
acclaim for acccomplishments by Israeli
authors.
As already indicated, what Holtz-
man accomplishes is unprejudiced.
Arab authors in Israel, some in
neighboring lands, are given recogni-
tion by him.
Therefore a salute to Holtzman for
a notable achievement that must be
considered a definite contribution to the
literary culture of Israel.
On visits in Russia, one most re-
cent, Toby Holtzman helped popularize
Israeli literary accomplishments at
book fairs. He has made extensive

Irwin 'Toby' Holtzman

literary gifts to the Soviet libraries' ex-
hibits. He therefore spreads the literary
gifts and acquires recognition for
authors and their books. He thereby
creates a link between ISrael and
Russia on a very high level.
Irwin "Toby" Holtzman has a good
and long-lasting record for achieve-
ments as bibliophile. His published
Israeli literary compendium adds im-
mensely to this enrichment.

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