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Content 1941 Letter
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letter by US Supreme Court Asso. Justice Felix Frankfurter about
rising threat of Nazis to Jews. Price:$1500.00
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- Felix Frankfurter (18821965). American Jurist, Associate Justice
of the U.S. Supreme Court (193962), Presidential Adviser;
Superb Content Typed Letter Signed, one page, octavo sheet,
on personal Supreme Court stationery, Washington, D.C., May 1,
1941. Writing to attorney, Fanny Holtzmann, who was working to
admit more Jews into the U.S. and bring attention to Nazi atrocities,
Justice Frankfurter reponds to her letter eloquently, but at
the same time addresses
the limits, as a Justice, of his willingness to act and use his
office in a political role, however much he agrees with her views.
The letter reads in part:
- "...I believe what
I am sure the overwhelming number of other Americans believe,
that the issue which confronts the world is as clear an issue
between right and wrong as history records. What is at stake
is nothing less than the ideals to which this country particularly
was dedicated. But when it comes to specific problems like those
raised by you I am rigorously confined within the area of my
judicial duties as well as by the limitations of my competence.
However much I may sympathize with you, I am not qualified to
express an opinion on your proposal. Sincerely yours, Felix Frankfurter".
- Frankfurter briefly practiced
law and served as an assistant district attorney in New York
before joining the faculty at Harvard Law School (1914-39). While
at Harvard, he served as a legal adviser to President Wilson
at the Paris Peace Conference (1919). An early contributor to
The New Republic, he helped found the American Civil Liberties
Union (1920) and argued in favor of Sacco and Vanzetti's right
to a new trial. He advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt on
many New Deal programs and, in 1939, Roosevelt named him to the
U.S. Supreme Court (1939-62). His tenure on the court tamed his
liberalism. As this letter indicates, his opinions reflected
his belief in judicial restraint: that the law should emanate
from the people and the legislative process rather than the court.
In 1963 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Fanny Ellen Holtzmann (1902-1980),
an attorney, who specialized in motion picture and copyright
cases, gained international fame in 1934 in the "Rasputin"
trial in Great Britain. Through her European clients she learned
of Hitler's early atrocities and through her celebrity convinced
the U.S. Immigration Service to permit more Jews into the country.
She solicited money to ensure the immigrants would not become
dependent upon public funds. Although she was able to save hundreds
of persons, Miss Holtzmann's own relatives died in concentration
camps. This letter from Justice Frankfurter presumably is in
response to a solicitation to speak out in his capacity as an
Associate Justice on the rise of Nazism.
- Justice Frankfurter's response
is just as powerful and timely today as it was in 1941. Her correspondence
with him (1939-1960) is documented in her papers at the Hebrew
Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Normal
aging, hole punched in the top margin, otherwise, fine.
The letter will be come
with a letter of authenticity as to its origin, history and authenticity.