BRANDEIS, LOUIS D.

Justice Brandeis Comes to the Aid of his Two Cousins in Nazi Occupied Austria

Item #20441


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Justice Brandeis Offers Support to His Recently Exiled Cousins from Nazi Occupied Austria

TLS: “Knowledge of Palestinian conditions which we believe will be of great service to the Zionist cause”


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BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. - Justice Brandeis Comes to the Aid of his Two Cousins in Nazi Occupied Austria
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BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. - Justice Brandeis Comes to the Aid of his Two Cousins in Nazi Occupied Austria

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BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. (1856-1941). Supreme Court Justice. ALS. (“Louis D. Brandeis”). 1p. Small 8vo. Washington, D.C., May 13, 1938. On Supreme Court stationery to his second cousins in Vienna, Betty Brandeis (1892-1973) and Louise Brandeis (1903-?).

 

“As requested in your letter of April 15th I have sent the affidavits through the Washington Bureau of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America; and the Society advises me that it has delivered them ‘to the Department of State for transmission through the diplomatic pouch to the American Consul General of Vienna, together with a covering letter stating  that we hope the Consul General will be able to grant them visas for permanent admission to the United States within his official duties and as speedily as possible.’ My best wishes…”

 

Noteworthy as the first Jewish judge to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Brandeis earned his reputation as the “People’s Lawyer.” During his lengthy law career he ruled against monopolies, in favor of workers’ rights, and for affordable life insurance. Outside the courtroom, and initially inspired by his uncle, Brandeis became an ardent supporter of Zionism around 1910.

 

“Brandeis’s desire to help Eastern European Jewry find a safe haven in Palestine [the future Israel] was heightened by his contact in 1910 with Russian immigrant garment workers, whom he met while mediating a strike. He saw in these Jews a democratic spirit and idealism he had not expected. In 1913, Brandeis agreed to chair a Zionist meeting in Boston. Not content to be a mere figurehead, by 1915 Brandeis became Zionism’s leading public spokesman in America… By 1917, the American Zionist movement increased its membership tenfold to 200,000 members. The American Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, which Brandeis chaired, raised millions to relieve Jews who were suffering throughout war-torn Europe,” (“Louis D. Brandeis and American Zionism,” The Jewish Federation of North America, Feldberg).

 

Our letter concerns Brandeis’ efforts to obtain American visas for his cousins and was written two months after the Anschluss, the March 12, 1938 annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany. “Brandeis swore out an affidavit in May 1938 that he had ample resources and would be willing to sponsor them in the United States so they would not become public charges. The two women arrived in New York in July, where officials of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society met them and secured temporary lodgings for them. Brandeis also made contributions to a group organized by his former law clerk David Riesman to rescue academics and find them positions in American Universities,” (Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, Urofsky).

 

Marked “Personal” in the upper left corner and accompanied by the original envelope. In excellent condition.

 

Item #20441


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