Business & Finance: Death of Warburg

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One afternoon last week the Palestine Potash Works on the Dead Sea closed for the rest of the day. On the same day the New York Times printed in honor of one man three columns of close-packed memorial notices. Demonstrations of sympathy occurred in such far-flung places as London, Jerusalem, Paris. For death had come to Felix Moritz Warburg, 66, banker, philanthropist, recognized leader of U. S. Jews.

Moritz Warburg married Charlotte Oppenheim in Hamburg in the middle of the 19th Century. There were five sons. Felix, Paul, Max and Fritz grew up to be bankers, Aby became a famed art historian. Felix followed Paul to the U. S. and into Kuhn, Loeb & Co., stayed with the company after Paul left to help start the Federal Reserve System. But Felix was less interested in banking than in charity & world Jewry.

After the War the Joint Distribution Committee, with Felix Warburg as chairman, had been formed to relieve starving Jews in Central Europe. Out of the $80,000,000 spent. Felix Warburg gave $10,000,000. Then the Nazis seized the power in Germany and Felix Warburg threw all of the Committee's energies into the task of helping Jews move out of the reach of Adolf Hitler. While Felix helped thousands of Jews to leave. Max and Fritz remained, however, in Hamburg. Felix Warburg was no ardent political Zionist. He gave great sums to Jews in Palestine but he never favored setting up a separate Jewish state. As chairman of the Jewish Agency's administrative committee he tried to get Arabs and Jews to cooperate. At the Zurich meeting of the Jewish Agency last summer he bitterly opposed Britain's plan for cutting Palestine in three, believing that Arabs and Jews could still be united in one state.