ADOLF HELD (1885-May 14, 1969)
He was born in Borislav (Borysław), eastern Galicia, and arrived in the United States in 1893, there to receive his general education. He graduated from City College in New York in 1906. He was one of the most prominent leaders of the Jewish community and the socialists in America, one of the main heads of the Jewish socialist association, of the Workmen’s Circle, and other such groups. Over the years 1917-1919, he was a member of the socialist faction on the New York City Council. In 1920 he visited Warsaw as a representative of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) for Poland, and there launched a major action in society to help Jewish war victims: Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”). He took part in a variety of socialist and Jewish community conferences in Europe and in America. In 1921 he was among the principal leaders at the Jewish emigration conference in Prague and one of the initiators and founders of the Jewish emigration society in Europe—Emigdirekt (emigration directorate), which played an important role in organizing Jewish emigration from Europe between the two world wars. He returned to the United States in 1924, where he again became active in Jewish community life. He was chairman of the Amalgamated Labor Bank in New York. He was also cofounder and, from 1938, chairman of Jewish Labor Committee in America. He was active as well in the Joint Distribution Committee, ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades), and for many years the president of the Forward Association. He was invited by the American delegation to the world congress in San Francisco in 1945 at the founding of the United Nations, and there he was an active contributor in the realzation of a series of Jewish plans. As the chairman of the Jewish Labor Committee, he was also involved in founding the World Jewish Culture Congress in 1948 in New York. He began writing for Forverts (Forward) in New York. From 1907 to 1912, he was its news editor, and from 1912 to 1917 the business manager. He published articles on a variety of Jewish and general issues in Forverts and Der veker (The alarm) in New York, among other serials. He died in New York.
Sources: Pinkes yekopo (Records of Yekopo) (1930-1931), p. 739; Y. Sh. Herts, 50 yor arbeter ring in yidishn lebn (Fifty years of the Workmen’s Circle in Jewish life) (New York, 1950), see index; Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish socialist movement in America) (New York, 1954), pp. 338-39; Der fraynd (New York) (March-April 1955); Unzer tsayt (New York) (May 1955); M. Gaft, in Der veker (New York) (May 1955); Faktn un meynungen (New York) (July 1955); H. Rogof, Der gayst fun Forverts (The spirit of the Forward) (New York, 1956), p. 270; Rogof, in Forverts (December 30, 1958); Kh. Gotesfeld, in Forverts (December 30, 1958); Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York), vol. 5, p. 304.
Khayim Leyb Fuks