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June 30, 1989 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-30

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Archives As A Historiographical Obligation

say. Professor David Tompkins wrote to
me from the university's Chicago office:


Editor Emeritus


esearch is in evidence on a large
scale, in libraries and in the files
of all universities and govern-
ment agencies, to retain historical
records. This is fortunately a trend also
in local as well as state circles and the
duties are not limited to the national
scales. They are definitely on a global
That is why an emphasis now plac-
ed in our own community for such tasks
is of such great importance. The
Michigan Jewish Historical Society's
announcement of priority being given
to the creation of Michigan Jewish ar-
chives should be acclaimed as a most
noteworthy policy and as a move in the
direction of preserving all evidences of
statewide Jewish activities and their
relations to the similar national
We already have the commence-
ment of such records in the earlier
volume, Jews of Detroit by Prof. Robert
Rockaway. In preparation is a follow up
volume which will mark a continuation
of these important tasks. Supplemen-
ting them and enhancing the undertak-
ing should be the planned Michigan
Jewish archives.
If there is a question relative to the
necessity for such efforts it has just been
provided for us in the inquiry I receiv-
ed from a member of the history depart-
ment of Northeastern Illinois Univer-

Dear Mr. Slomovitz:
As editor of the Detroit
Jewish News, you had occasion
to correspond with Senator Ar-
thur H. Vandenberg of Michigan
of whom I am preparing a
Do you possess any
Vandenberg letters which
would shed light on attitudes
towards Jews and particularly
towards the establishment of a
Jewish homeland in Palestine?
I have found few letters on these
topics and practically nothing
on such matters in the State
Department Papers.
Any assistance you may pro-
vide will be deeply appreciated.
Yours sincerely,
C. David Tompkins
Professor of History

This letter came as a great surprise.
Is it possible that it is not generaly
known that Senator Vandenberg was
among the leading factors in the early
years of the American Christian
Palestine Committee and was a com-
mitted Christian Zionist for many
In my initial response to Prof. rIbmp-
kins I indicated that my correspondence
with Senator Vandenberg commenced
with our friendship that began in 1929
when he addressed the Brotherhood of

Arthur J. Vandenberg

Thmple Beth El, whose lecture series in-
cluded some of the country's most pro-
minent personalities. Our cor-
respondence included hundreds of com-
munications. Israel and American
topics were discussed. We com-
municated frequently, often at the re-
quest of Dr. Abba Hillel Silver when he
was national chairman of the Zionist
Emergency Committee. I joined him at
dinner meetings of the American Chris-
tian Palestine Committee in
Washington. Vandenberg was national

co-chairman with Senator Henry
Wagner, of New York, of the American-
Christian Palestine Committee.
Wagner was honorary co-chairman with
Senator Homer Ferguson of the
Michigan Christian Conference on
Palestine of which Judge Frank Picard
was chairman.
Many of these records will surely be
part of the history of the movement now
being prepared under the editorship of
Dr. Carl Hermann Voss, one of the
pioneer Christian leaders in the
It is regrettable that Dr. Tompkins
is one of all-too-many, Jews and non-
Jews, who are uninformed about such
historical records. Therefore the impor-
tance of introducing and assisting in ex-
panding history's archives.
Arthur H. Vandenberg's name
demands a full length and complete-as-
possible biography because of his
Zionist involvements.
I have mentioned that my close
association with him commenced in
1929. One of his strongest com-
mitments to Zionism was contained in
a telegram he sent me in 1939. It was
addressed to the newspaper in existence
then, the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, of
which I was the editor and in which I
published many references to
Vandenberg's activities with me in the
Zionist movement. The 1939 telegram
remains of historic importance. In it he
Continued on Page 36

Shapiro, Stone, Orecklin And Madison


ylvia Lamport Shapiro is a name
to be remembered among the
women who joined with their
husbands in Israel's state-building. Her
husband, Ezra Shapiro, was a native of
Cleveland who established a national
record as a Zionist leader. He succeed-
ed Israel Goldstein as world president
of the Keren Hayesod and held that post
in Jerusalem for several years before his
That's when Sylvia Shapiro herself
became important in the world move-
ment of the Hadassah organization, as
its leading public relations official.
Ezra Shapiro was one of the emi-
nent American Zionists who spoke
Hebrew fluently. We heard him often

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Vol. XCV No. 18


FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 1989

June 30, 1989

delivering addresses at World Zionist
Congresses in Jerusalem.
Sylvia Shapiro, who died on June
17, is a name to be remembered. She
was a member of the famous Lamport
family. The Detroit nonagenarian An-
na Lamport Landau, a founder of the
Detroit Jewish Community Council, is
a Lamport cousin.
Isadore Feinstein Stone is a name
of literary and political fame that will
be remembered and recalled for many
years. He may have been judged ar-
rogant by some, and he really was in the
manner in which he advocated his
He had gone to what was then the
Jewishly-inspired Palestine when he
dared enter the Jewish National Home
against British protests. The result was
the writing of two devotedly Zionist
books, Underground to Palestine in 1946
and This is Israel in 1948.
We met frequently, as he came to
Detroit often for lectures sponsored by
the Zionist Organization of America.
Then came the interim period,
before he turned critic of our movement,
when he advocated the high ideals of
social fairness for the oppressed and
supported all movements leading
toward human rights. He was the
outspoken challenger of all who
negated the American ideals when we
met on numerous occasions at State
Department conferences. It is not an ex-

aggeration to say that he was fearless
in his assertive positions which were
often branded either arrogant or
The sadness for us was his anti-
Zionism of later years. His creative
tasks began with his migration to
Palestine as a challenger to the British
in 1944 and his support of Zionism for
years later. Israel and Zionism con-
tinued to need his encouragement. He
became a strong supporter of the Mid-
dle East peaceniks and, while never
anti-Israel, his unfriendliness was
This has happened to us in
numerous instances and a way must be
found to revive the Zionist spirit among
such dissidents.
Nevertheless, there was a greatness
in I.F. Stone that is undeniable. He will
always be remembered among the most
outspoken civil libertarians.
Bess Orecklin was genuinely a
pioneer. That was her share in the in-
troduction of the Jewish Community
Center annual book fairs. It was not a
limitation in her Jewish Center work.
The major cultural functions were her
brainchildren and she was an inspira-
tion, encouraging them in Jewish
Center executive board leadership.
That was part of her many roles in
the Allied Jewish Campaigns and the
Jewish Welfare Federation.
With her husband, Dr. Leo

Orecklin, she introduced the communi-
ty to the commitments begun here in
behalf of the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem. The initial events that
started the Detroit Chapter of
American Friends of the Hebrew
University were under their leadershp.
This is an inerasable portion of Hebrew
University activities here.
With her husband Leo, Bessie
Orecklin gave encouragement to Yid-
dish literary programming. They
pioneered together in that respect.
Therefore, Bessie Orecklin is
another unforgettable name in
Detroit's Jewish historic records.
Harry Madison was the spokesman
for the veterans and among the nation's
pleaders for the benefits advocted for
For some 30 years, Harry Madison,
as the leader through the years of the
Jewish War Veterans of America,
represented their cause here as a
member of the executive committee of
the Jewish Welfare Federation. In
presentations of the needs of the
veterans which called for federal aid, he
appeared numerous times at congres-
sional meetings and with delegations at
the White House.
He was among the youngest
veterans of World War I elected national
commander of the Jewish War Veterans

Continued on Page 36




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