- Helen R. Hamlin is the widow of Isadore Hamlin. Isadore (Itzik) Hamlin was the son of Isaac Hamlin and Anny Freedman Hamlin. Itzik, a life-long Labor Zionist, was born in Cambridge, MA on January 21, 1917 and received his B.S. from Cornell University in 1941. After college he was the first recipient of the Bnai Brith scholarship which he used to attend the New School for Social Research to study international law and politics. He was drafted in June 1942. Itzik was later sent to officer's candidate school and became a lieutenant in the intelligence staff of 83rd Infantry Division. In February 1944 he was sent overseas and served in the European Theater of Operations and the Army of Occupation. In April, 1945, he participated in the liberation of Buchenwald. After having witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust, Isadore decided to devote the rest of his life to the welfare of the Jewish people. He was discharged in September 1945 with the rank of Captain. After his return to America, he and his wife Helen moved to Washington DC where Itzik assumed the position of press officer for the Jewish Agency for Palestine. This later became the Israeli Embassy following Israel's independence in May 1948. In 1949 he returned to New York to become the executive assistant to the Executive Director of the Jewish Agency for Israel. In 1964 he became the Executive Director of the Jewish Agency and remained so until his retirement in 1988.
Felix Moritz Warburg (1871-1937) German Jewish banker, philanthropist and founder of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He was born in Hamburg to the noted Jewish banking family. His siblings included Max, Paul and Abby Warburg. In 1894 Felix Warburg immigrated to the U.S. He settled in New York City, where he married Frieda Schiff, the daughter of Jacob Schiff, and became a partner in his father-in-law's banking firm, Kuhn, Loeb and Company. While maintaining his position at the bank, Warburg turned his attention to philanthropy, education and culture. He promoted organizations facilitating the absorption of new immigrants and other forms of social welfare; he lent his support to the Juilliard School of Music, the New York Philharmonic and numerous museums; and he served on the boards of a variety of educational institutions. Within the Jewish community, Warburg served as the first chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from 1914 to 1932 and helped found the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City. He also generously supported the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the Hebrew Union College and the Graduate School for Jewish Social Work. Warburg played an important role in promoting Jewish settlement in Palestine through his support of the Palestine Economic Corporation and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
[Source: "Encyclopedia Judaica." Keter, 1972. 16:282-83.]
Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise (1874-1949), American reform rabbi and Jewish political leader. Born in Budapest on March 17, 1874, Wise was the son and grandson of religiously orthodox but politically liberal rabbis. When he was 17 months old, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. From childhood Wise intended to become a rabbi, which he did in 1893 after completing his undergraduate education at Columbia University. In 1902 he went on to complete a doctorate, also at Columbia. After serving as a rabbi in Portland, Oregon for six years, Wise returned to New York in 1907 to found the Free Synagogue, a congregation he headed until his death. Ardently committed to the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, Wise helped to found the first American Zionist organizations in the final years of the nineteenth century. In 1898 he met Theodor Herzl at the Second Zionist Congress in Basle and agreed to serve as American secretary of the world Zionist movement. A decade later with Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurther, Wise helped to convince President Woodrow Wilson to support the British Balfour Declaration of 1917. He also spoke on behalf of Zionist aspirations at the Paris Peace conference (1919-1920). Wise served as vice president of the Zionist Organization of America (1918-1920) and later as president (1936-1938). He also played a leading role in the establishment of the American Jewish Congress (1920) and served as its vice president and president for many years. Wise was equally committed to a host of liberal political and social causes. He co-founded the NAACP (1909) and the ACLU (1920), in addition to crusading for child labor laws and labor's right to organize and strike. Wise was an early and passionate opponent of Nazism and was a featured speaker at numerous mass rallies in New York beginning in the spring of 1933. He also worked hard to rally support for an international boycott of German goods. In an attempt to create a worldwide organization to defend Jews against the ravages of Nazism and anti-Semitism, Wise helped to found the World Jewish Congress (1936), an organization he headed until the end of his life. On August 28, 1942 Wise was the recipient of the Riegner cable, a telegram sent by the representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva confirming the existence of the Final Solution, the Nazi program to concentrate, deport and exterminate the Jews of Europe. Directed by Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles not to publish the message until the State Department could confirm its accuracy, Wise did not make a public announcement until November 24, 1942. The following month Wise, together with a delegation of American rabbis, met with Roosevelt to urge him to action. At this time it became increasingly difficult for Wise to maintain political unity within the American Jewish community. Factions under the leadership of fellow reform rabbi Abba Hillel Silver and the revisionist Zionist Peter Bergson group, became impatient with Wise's reluctance to confront the Roosevelt administration publicly and undertook their own programs to bring pressure on the American government. By 1944 Wise had become deeply disillusioned. Though the end of the war and the subsequent founding of the State of Israel were a source of great relief and gratification, the realization of the extent of the losses suffered by European Jewry during the war filled him with despair during his last years. Rabbi Stephen Wise died in New York in 1949.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German physicist and Nobel laureate who developed the Theory of Relativity (1905). A professor at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, he demonstratively resigned his post after the Nazi takeover in 1933. He emigrated to the United States accepting a professorship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1941, after information reached the American scientific community that Nazi Germany had undertaken a uranium project, Einstein agreed to sign a letter to Franklin Roosevelt pointing out the feasibility of atomic energy. It was this letter that sparked the Manhattan Project and the developments of the atomic bomb. Einstein, however, was strongly opposed to the use of atomic weapons and became active in efforts to outlaw their manufacture in the 1940s and 1950s.