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BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. - Justice Brandeis Unable to Aid his Two Recently Arrived Cousins from Nazi Occupied Austria
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BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. - Justice Brandeis Unable to Aid his Two Recently Arrived Cousins from Nazi Occupied Austria

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BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. (1856-1941). American Supreme Court justice. ALS. (“Louis D. Brandeis”). 1p. Small 8vo. Chatham, August 4, 1938. Written on Supreme Court stationery to his second cousins in Vienna, Betty Brandeis (1892-1973) and Louise Brandeis (1903-?).


Re yours of 1st. I am precluded from any personal effort to aid you at the difficult task of finding work and am unable to give advice. I am glad you have conferred with Mr. Herst [?] and are in correspondence with Miss Goldmark. Again my best wishes. Cordially…”


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 assist his Austrian cousins and was written five 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).


Miss Goldmark was likely a relative of Brandeis’ wife Alice Goldmark, the daughter of Viennese immigrants, and herself very active in Zionist causes.


Brandeis has struck through the “Washington, D.C.” portion of his official stationery and added “Chatham, Mass.” by hand. Folded horizontally and with the original envelope addressed to the Betty and Louise Brandeis at 50 West 68th Street in New York City. In fine condition.



Item #20440


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