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June 30, 1989 - Image 36

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

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

Archives

Continued from Page 2

Washington, D.C. May 19,
1939
5:16 p.m.
Philip Slomovitz,
Detroit, Mich.
I believe today more than
ever in the Zionist home in
Palestine. As a member of
the original Christian Pro-
palestine Committee I
thought I saw a great vi-
sion. It is clearer than ever
today and the inhumanity
of man makes it more
logical and more essential
than ever. I emphatically
favor every cooperation
that America can give to
the promised culmination
of this promised Jewish
homeland. The Balfour
assurances should not
default. The Jews of the
world took them in good
faith and have invested
heart and fortune in them.
They have a right to every
international cooperation
in behalf of this Jewish
homeland. Count upon my
interest to the limit.
Senator A.H. Vandenberg
Many exchanges took place
in the years that followed. For
15 of more years there were
written messages, telephone
conversations, comments of
historic significance.
Much that related to
American policies and to the
events that were marked by
the Nazi barbarities were in
the exchanges with
Vandenberg.
Three years preceding the
important commitments to
Zionism recalled in the just
quoted telegram, Vandenberg
made a very important state-
ment to me in a letter, dated
Sept. 10, 1936.
It dealt with State Depart-
ment and Secretary of State
Hull's attitudes. That letter
serves to recall many ex-
periences of those serious
years:
Grand Rapids, Michigan
September 10, 1936
Mr. Philip Slomovitz,
Editor

The Detroit Jewish
Chronicle
525 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan

My dear Mr. Slomovitz:
This will reply to your let-
ter of September 9.
I think if you will com-
municate with the New
York and Washington
headquarters of your
organization, which was
responsible for the
Senatorial petition to
Secretary of State Hull in
behalf of the Jewish situa-
tion in Palestine, you will
find that I have co-
operated with them in
substantial fashion. I am
making this suggestion

36.

FRIDAY,..J.UN1E 30, 1989

because I should not want
your good opinion of me to
be disappointed in any
way. You have always been
exceedingly kind and I
shall always hope to merit
your continuing interest.
I did not sign the public
petition to Secretary Hull
in this connection because
I did not think it would be
appropriate for me (as a
member of the Senate
Foreign Relations Commit-
tee) to join in a public de-
mand upon our State
Department respecting the
foreign policy of another
power (Great Britain). I did
not think — and I do not
now believe — that this
would have been the wise
or the appropriate pro-
cedure so far as I am per-
sonally concerned. I
preferred to communicate
personally and confiden-
tially with the Secretary of
State. This was done.
I completely share the
viewpoint expressed in the
public appeal. I have made
this entirely plain in
quarters where it counts at
Washington. In other
words, it was simply a

Vandenberg's good
acts were
multiplied by his
kindly
intercessions.

question of procedure and
propriety. This explana-
tion, of course, is personal
to you, and the very nature
of this letter is itself
confidential.
You are at liberty to state,
however, if you wish, that I
did not sign the public ap-
peal because I preferred to
make a direct and personal
appeal along the same line
and of the same nature and
to the same end.
I do not have my files at
hand or I could refer you
specifically to the
gentlemen in New York
and Washington (represen-
ting your cause) with
whom I correspond on the
subject and who were com-
pletely satisfied with my at-
titude. You undoubtedly
will know who they are,
however, and I do hope you
will confirm this letter by
correspondence with
them.
Thanks for writing me. If
you had not done so there
might have been a needless
misunderstanding. I con-
tinue to have the same in-
terest in Jewish aspira-
tions in Palestine that I
have always been happy to
assert upon every possible
occasion.

With warm personal
regards and best wishes,
Cordially and faithfully,
A.H. Vandenberg
There were not too many
kind words about Franklin D.
Roosevelt in Vandenberg's
comments. There was one
especially critical when I met
with him on the Friday after-
noon (April 7, 1945) before
FDR's death (Wednesday,
April 12, 1945).
I was joined at that meeting
in his Senatorial office by L.
Shulman, who was a promi-
nent New York attorney — his
wife was national president of
Hadassah — and Chaim
Greenberg, one of the most
prominent authors, lecturers
and Jewish historians of this
century. Vandenberg corn-
mented on FDR's "failure to
keep promises," but added,
"But he is such a sick man."
In appreciation of
Vandenberg I wrote a long
column in Purely Commen-
tary (April 1945) under the ti-
tle "Tribute to a Great
Statesman." It was an evalua-
tion of the Senator's genius as
newspaperman before his
public career and as both
statesman and diplomat.
In its entirety, the
Vandenberg story vis-a-vis
Zionism and Israel was not
always rosy. There were
times when we were impa-
tient about his attitudes.
Tense situations arose
from time to time. Most of
the time his hesitancy in
acting in our behalf, as a
member (later chairman) of
the Senate Foreign Rela-
tions Committee, was due
to pressure from the White
House and the State and
War Departments.
When President Truman
gave speedy recognition to
the Jewish state, he was
the first to commend it as
the logical and proper step
to take .. .
The good acts of Senator
Vandenberg were
multiplied a thousand
times by his kindly in-
tercessions. He was, in-
deed, a conservative
Republican, especially
from the Democrats' point
of view. But when he was
faced with issues that call-
ed for human considera-
tions, he rose above party
politics.
In all the years that we
conferred with him he
never — not once — show-
ed the slightest interest in
this commentator's
political preferences. We
were concerned with grave
matters involving the
security of the Jewish peo-
ple and we stuck to this
point.
On this score he was

unselfish and always
honorable. If only for this
reason alone — which is
one of many — we honor
his memory as we honored
and respected him in his
lifetime.
What I describe as genius
in a "Great Statesman" re-
mains so for the record. I
always recall Arthur H.
Vandenberg as one of the
most distinguished per-
sonalities in my many years
of associating with the most
distinguished in American
and Jewish life.
The lesson is hopefully
learned. There is much to be
preserved historiographically.
The Vandenberg record must
not be forgotten. The scores
and hundreds of similar facts
need proper treatment. The
commitment to establish and
encourage Michigan Jewish
archives demands support
and continuity in all aspects.

Nota Bene

udy Cantor, Michigan
Jewish Historical Soci-
ety volunteer archivist,
is proving highly successful
as an accumulator of valuable
data about our community
and our fellow citizens.
Her latest acquisition is a
valuable record about the
Philomathic Debating Socie-
ty, whose membership for
some three decades included
the most distinguished in
Michigan Jewry.
Philomathic is now a name
that may be spared the em-
barrassment of being
unknown in our history. Its
membership record included
teenagers who were destined
for the judiciary, the
legislative tasks, academia.
They were the able debaters
of their time and for such
assignments they became
stuents of the most important
events in their time.
Judy Cantor helps retain
the Philomathic name by
preserving its recollected
facts. Her aims enrich the
planned archives. More power
to her devotions. ❑

j

Shapiro

Continued from Page 2

of America and he inspired
many tasks for veterans aid.
Thanks to him the Michigan
JWV functions and the
building of JWV head-
quarters became realities.
In the official positions to
which he was elected, he serv-
ed many causes, always
emerging as a Zionist ad-
vocate and defender of Israel.
He was an admirer of his

brother, the late Charles
Madison, who was
acknowledged as one of the
very able literary critics and
as author of important books
about American labor leaders
and on Yiddish literature. He
was truly a devoted citizen
with multiple interests.



Pioneer In
Evidence:
Anna Landau
And The Council

w

hen the Jewish
Community Coun-
cil celebrated its
50th anniversary last year, it
honored the movement's
creators and the members of
its first executive committee.
One of the two still in
evidence, Anna Landau, has
turned nonagenarian and
merits renewed mention. (I
am the other pioneer in
evidence).
Stemming from the promi-
nent American merchant
families, the Lamports, Anna
came to Detroit as a teenager
to assist in managing the
Detroit branch of the Lam-
ports. She married Maurice
Landau and he joined her in
the Detroit Lamports' firm.

Together, the Landaus
became leading activists in
Zionism and had important
roles in the founding of the
United Hebrew Schools. The
Zionist Organization of
America and the Jewish Na-
tional Fund counted them
among their leaders. Anna
Landau's association with
Hadassah enrolled her in the
movement's top ranks. She
was one of the early
presidents of Detroit
Hadassah. She could be con-
sidered on a world scale with
Henrietta Szold and locally
with Dora Ehrlich, Miriam
Hershman, Jeanette
Steinberg and the early
women Zionist leaders.

As an organizer of the
Jewish Community Council,
this nonagenarian remains a
symbol of the creativity in the
local movement.
You can't speak of Anna
Landau without remember-
ing the Lamports. Her uncle,
Sam Lamport, was national-
ly prominent in the Joint
Distribution Committee. Un-
cle Sol Lamport had world
roles in the Jewish National
Fund and had the artistic
skill of having inspired the
JNF ketubah.
It is therefore a cause for
pride to continue to think of
Anna Landau and to join in
honoring her now as a
nonagenarian.



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