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December 14, 1990 - Image 136

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-12-14

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


Armand Hammer Dies
On Eve Of Bar Mitzvah


Special to The Jewish News

ust 24 hours before he
was to celebrate his
long-delayed bar mitz-
vah, oil magnate Armand
Hammer died Monday night
at his Los Angeles home,
following a short illness. He
was 92.
What was to be a tribute to
the billionaire industrialist
Tuesday night in Los
Angeles turned into a
memorial to a man who
served as liaison between
American and Soviet leaders
and, in deepest secrecy, bet-
ween Israeli leaders and the
leadership of the Soviet
The child of non-religious
parents, Mr. Hammer had
no bar mitzvah at age 13.
That death intervened to
deprive him of the tradi-
tional induction into
Judaism — which, in his ad-
vanced years, he had come to
desire — was the final irony
in a long life filled with
A maverick in the high-
flying world of international
tycoons, Armand Hammer
was mistrusted by some
Jews because of his close ties
to Kremlin leaders from
Vladimir Lenin to Mikhail
Gorbachev — Joseph Stalin
Yet he may have done
more than any single in-
dividual to help secure
freedom for Soviet Jews in
the pre-glasnost era.
Through his influence
with the Soviet Union,
founded on the well-
remembered medical and
food aid he sent the embattl-
ed country following the
Russian Revolution, he was
able to press for the emigra-
tion of Soviet Jews, par-
ticularly those with extraor-
dinary problems.
Mr. Hammer personally
brought out two longtime
refuseniks, Professor David
Goldfarb and Ida Nudel, the
prisoner of Zion.
Israeli government leaders
spoke Tuesday of Mr.
Hammer's secret visits to
Israel on several occasions.
Mr. Hammer carried secret
messages to Moscow from
Israeli leaders for years.
He was involved in the
removal of an education tax
imposed on Soviet Jews


Introducing the New
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ay camps, overnight camps, special in-
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kids? You'll get plenty of help from our first-time-ever
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You'll tour area camps — we'll show you
what's new and exciting on the summer camp
scene, including those for youngsters with special
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a comprehensive guide to what's out there, right
here in the January 11 issue!


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oatveadets about your


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Writer Tom Tugend in Los
Angeles contributed to this



wanting to leave, according
to an interview with Mr.
Hammer in the fall edition
of Inside, a magazine
published by the Jewish Ex-
ponent in Philadelphia.
Mr. Hammer, a mill-
ionaire from his youth,
became a billionaire when
he bought the bankrupt Oc-
cidental Petroleum Corp. in
1957 for a token $34,000.
The corporation's present
estimated worth is $8
He made a much bigger
investment in Israel — some
$60 million in a Negev oil
prospecting project and off-
shore drilling, from which,
at the time of his death, he
had not realized a penny of
Mr. Hammer was born
May 21, 1898, in New York
to Dr. Julius Hammer, a
Russian Jewish immigrant,
and Rose Robinson Hammer.
A graduate of Columbia
University Medical School,
Mr. Hammer did not prac-
tice medicine except briefly
as a volunteer to combat a
typhus epidemic in post-
revolution Russia.
There as a youth he ar-
ranged his first giant busi-
ness deal, in which the
Soviet Union bartered fur
and caviar for American
wheat. Lenin reportedly
gave him paintings which
started his multimillion
dollar art collection.
Mr. Hammer enjoyed dra-
matic gestures. In the 1980s
he dispatched his personal
cardiologist aboard his pri-
vate plane to examine
Menahem Begin's wife Aliza
and Begin. And following
the Chernobyl nuclear
disaster, Mr. Hammer sent a
team of bone marrow
transplant experts to the
Soviet Union.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Rose Herman

Rose Pokorney Herman, 91,
of Southfield, died Dec. 8.
Mrs. Herman was named
Woman of the Year for the
Fund for Reform Judaism.
She was a member of
Hadassah, ORT, Anti
Defamation League, and In-
fant Services.
She leaves her son and
daughter-in-law, Donald and
Bluma of Grand Rapids;
daughter and son-in-law,
Hortense and Samuel Alper
of Las Vegas, Nev.; eight
grandchildren; seven great-


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