Jewish Bankers, Russia, and the Soviet Union, 1900-1940: The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company Part 1

By Priscilla Roberts

Jewish Bankers, Russia, and the Soviet
Union, 1900-1940: The Case of Kuhn,
Loeb and Company
by Priscilla Roberts
The relationship between American Jews and both tsarist Russia and
its successor, the Soviet Union, was rarely trouble free. In the early
twentieth century tsarist Russia was widely perceived as the fountainhead
of anti-Semitism, an outlook that led American Jews to oppose
commercial ties with and loans to the tsarist government and to advocate
that their own government take even stronger action to combat
Russian mistreatment of the Jews. The overthrow of Nicholas II’s government
in 1917 and its replacement by the short-lived Provisional
Government brought a brief interval when American Jews hailed with
euphoric enthusiasm the dawning of a new era.
The emergence of the Bolshevik regime brought a period of much
greater complexity, one well exemplified in the changing attitudes of
the most prominent Jewish banking house in the United States, Kuhn,
Loeb and Company. From 1917 at least throughout the 1920s and
1930s, Kuhn, Loeb and its assorted partners were all frequently
accused of pro-Bolshevik sympathies. In the 1920s this was a standard
charge leveled at Jewish bankers by anti-Semitic critics in the
United States and Europe.‘ During the First World War, this accusation
carried additional overtones of pro-Germanism and disloyalty to
the Allied cause, due to the widespread belief that the Bolsheviks were
German puppets whose real aim was to expedite a German victory by
taking Russia out of the war.‘ Suggestions that Kuhn, Loeb, particularly
its senior partner, Jacob H. Schiff, had secretly financed the
Bolshevik revolution complemented both the belief that the firm was
pro-German and the fear that all Jews were radicals bent on overthrowing
the social order, a viewpoint that seemed to be substantiated
by allegations that most of the Russian Bolsheviks were Jewish.~
Such a decidedly capitalist institution as Kuhn, Loeb might appear an
unlikely home for left-wing tendencies. Even so, British and French American Jewish Archives Journal
officials, American conservatives, Russian migrant organizations, and
anti-Semites such as Henry Wickham Steed, the editor of the British
Daily Mail, justified their fears by asserting that Schiff, his partner
Felix Warburg, and other Jewish bankers had made loans to the
Bolsheviks in exchange for valuable financial concessions in Russia.
By contrast, more recently historians have suggested that after World
War I the fear of the spread of Bolshevism throughout Europe and
even to the United States motivated American officials, bankers
(prominent among them the Kuhn, Loeb partners), and other leading
Americans to support their country’s greater involvement in European
affairs, to promote Europe’s economic recovery and political stabilization,
and to favor American membership in the League of Nations and
other international organizations.~ The reality was more complex and
reveals an interesting series of attempts to reconcile ideological opposition
to communism with American Jewish bankers‘ realistic tendency
to accept the existence of and even work with a noncapitalist
Russian regme.
In the first four decades of this century Kuhn, Loeb was one of the
leading financial institutions of the United States, a private investment
house second only to J. P. Morgan and Company in its prestige and the
scope of its operations. Its partners were all of German-Jewish extraction,
generally related to each other by blood or marriage, a traditional
pattern in the network of Jewish international banking firms
that linked all countries from Central Europe to the United States. The
firm specialized in railroad finance, though it handled a wide variety
Jacob H. Schiff
(American 1mrsh Archives) The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company
of other business. Much of its eminence in the New York financial
world derived from its ability to tap not only American investment
capital when it floated issues of securities but also the resources at the
command of foreign banking house^.^
Until his death in 1920, Kuhn, Loeb’s
dominant figure was Jacob H. Schiff, who
emigrated to the United States from
Germany in the late nineteenth century, ‚
joined the then rather lackluster Kuhn, Loeb
firm, married the senior partner’s daughter,
and quickly became the bank’s leading partner,
building it up to the eminence it enjoyed
in 1919. An austere figure, he gave heavily to 5y4*
charity and was considered in New York, if
Mortimer Schiff not in the United States, the senior Jewish AmericanArchives)
lay leader, a position in which he also exerted
considerable political influence. He took his duties to the Jewish
community seriously and often used his political connections and
prestige to promote the interests of Judaism in the United States and
Felix Warburg?
(American Jewish Archives)
Schiff’s other partners were
rather more worriedly. His suave
and polished son Mortimer
joined the family firm under considerable
pressure from his father
and never attained his senior’s
stature as a banker, instead generously
patronizing the Boy
Scouts, the racetrack, and
numerous ladies of somewhat
doubtful virt~e.~ Schiff’s son-inlaw,
Felix M. Warburg, was a
scion of the famous banking family of Hamburg associated with the
bank M. M. Warburg and Company. One of five brothers, he had not
been destined for a career in banking, but when he met, wooed, and
rather against Schiff’s paternal misgvings, won Schiff’s only daughter
Frieda, his father-in-law insisted that he move to the United States
and join the family business. Never an outstanding banker, Felix
Warburg threw himself into a wide variety of charitable activities, par- American ]wish Archives Journal
ticularly devoting most of his considerable energies to the administration
of Jewish philanthropic and communal organizations, especially
the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of
NewYork, the umbrella organization that coordinated the activities of
all Jewish charities in NewYork, the American Jewish Committee, and
the later Joint Distribution Committee. While his father-in-law still
dominated the firm, such activities on behalf of the Jewish community
won Felix at least his grudging respect.
Three other partners gave Kuhn, Loeb rather more solid underpinning.
In the 1890s Paul M. Warburg, Felix’s elder brother, married
Nina Loeb, the half-sister of Jacob Schiff’s wife, and arranged to spend
approximately half his time in Germany as a partner of his own family
firm, M. M. Warburg and Company, and half in NewYork as a Kuhn,
Loeb partner, an arrangement that continued until 1914, when he
became a director of the newly established Federal Reserve Board.
Paul was a genuine banking intellectual.
For many years he campaigned tirelessly
for the establishment of an American central
bank, a crusade that ultimately contributed
much to the creation in 1913 of
the U.S. Federal Reserve System. He was
also an enthusiast for the expansion of
U.S. international banking activities, particularly
through the introduction of
acceptance financing, the provision
through the banking system of a form of
credit for foreign commercial transactions.
Paul hoped that ultimately New York
would become a financial center that
PIIZII M. Warburg
(AmericanJewish Archives) would rival London and give the British a
run for their money. Unlike his rather
lightweight brother, Paul Warburg won the genuine respect and affection
of the formidable Jacob Schiff, and despite their difference in age
the two men became close friends.“
The more flamboyant Otto H. Kahn, the cadet of a Mannheim
banking family who shared an apartment with Paul Warburg in
London when the two were apprentice bankers in the 1880s, also took
the traditional route into the firm, marrylng a partner’s daughter in
1896. One of the most generous patrons of the arts in U.S. history, for The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company
many years he was chairman of the
Metropolitan Opera, which he helped to
build up into a New York institution.
Despite his outside interests, Kahn still
had sufficient energy to become one of the
firm’s dominant partners, taking a particular
interest in railroad financing.“ The
only nonfamily member of the firm was
the „hardest working of the partners,“
Jerome J. Hanauer, who worked his way
up from the position of office boy. Quiet,
with few if any outside interests, Hanauer
was described by his son-in-law as  1 of all Otto H. Kahn
the financiers I have ever known.. . the (American Jewish Archives)
only one who was never wrong on any business question where he
was willing to state a judgement.“‚ He concentrated on the business
of banking and making money and features little in this essay.
While most of Kuhn, Loeb’s partners were somewhat lukewarm in
their Jewish allegiances, Jacob Schiff was quite different. Far more
devout than his younger partners, he was a solid pillar of Reform
Judaism, observing what his nephew described as“a strange mixture
of orthodoxy and ritualistic liberalism he had concocted for himself.“13
Schiff was deeply conscious of the responsibilities of his position as
one of the most prominent Jews in the United States, and he felt it his
duty publicly to identify himself with his co-religionists. He regularly
protested against any instance that came to his attention of discrimination
in hiring Jews.I4 Though less devout, Schiff’s son-in-law, Felix
Warburg, inherited his mantle as one of the American Jewish community’s
leading laymen and philanthropic figures.
From the 1890s onward, Schiff was deeply concerned by the plight
of foreign Jews, especially those of Russia and Eastern Europe. He and
Felix Warburg directed many of their efforts to alleviating the conditions
of the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who in the late
nineteenth century flooded into New York’s lower East Side in the
hundreds of thousands.Jacob Schiff and Felix Warburg were both
important patrons of the United Hebrew Charities, the Hebrew
Emigrant Aid Society, the Baron de Hirsch Fund, the Hebrew Free
School Association, and the Educational Alliance, all of which
attempted to aid these immigrants in adjusting to their new country.16 American Jewish Archives Journal
The Schiffs and Warburgs all took an especially close personal interest
in the affairs of the Henry Street Settlement, one of the pioneers and
leaders of the American settlement house movement. Lillian D. Wald,
Henry Street’s competent and determined head, was a friend and not
merely a beneficiary of Kuhn, Loeb’s partners who, on their part,
greatly admired her efforts to improve the conditions of New York’s
poor of all faiths.17
Historians of Jewish immigration have claimed that the established
and well-to-do German Jews of the United States resented the
late-nineteenth-century influx of ill-educated and somewhat outlandish
Russian and East European immigrants and that they feared
the latter would lower the status of all American Jews, themselves
included. At least in part, it is alleged, their philanthropic efforts
among the new arrivals were self-serving attempts to force them to
conform to American norms and to assimilate these potentially disruptive
elements into American society.18 These suggestions may well
have some foundation. Certainly, those organizations that the Kuhn,
Loeb partners supported often attempted to „Americanize“ the new
immigrants, instill in them loyalty to the United States and respect for
its prevailing Anglo-Saxon heritage of ideology, culture, and customs,
and teach them the English language.19 Nonetheless, the practical help
that these institutions gave the newly arrived East European immigrants
was often valuable. Moreover, language instruction and some
insight into American ways were often important assets for Jewish
immigrants, particularly in an era when the special problems of ethnic
minorities attracted little, if any, sympathy or consideration. It is worth
noting that, although Jacob Schiff strongly advocated the dispersal of
Russian-Jewish immigrants into the South and West, rather than concentrating
them in overcrowded NewYork City, he always uncompromisingly
opposed any attempts to restrict the flow of Jewish immigrants
into the United States.20
Schiff brought pressure to bear upon the American government to
use its influence to ameliorate the suffering of Jews in other countries.
As early as 1890, he and other prominent American Jews inconclusively
discussed the problems of their foreign co-religonists with
James E. Blaine, the Secretary of State.’l In the early 1900s, the anxieties
of American Jewish leaders mounted steadily. The Romanian
government forced its Jewish subjects to live under harsh social and
economic restrictions, a policy in direct contravention of the Treaty of
Berlin, which Romania had signed in 1878. The tsarist government The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company
also became increasingly repressive: the Kishinev massacre of 1903, in
which forty-seven Jews were killed and hundreds injured, was soon
followed by pogroms on a much greater scale.“
Schiff and other Jewish leaders were driven to sponsor public
protest meetings, measures that they had hitherto feared might be
counterproductive. They conferred with President Theodore Roosevelt
and Secretaries of State John Hay and Elihu Root, demanding that the
president indicate his anger over these events by sending an official
message to Congress and that the United States make formal diplomatic
protests to the Romanian and Russian governments. Late in
1905 Schiff even suggested that Roosevelt employ military force
against Particularly when reminded of the strategic importance
of the Jewish vote, the Roosevelt administration was not entirely
unsympathetic. In 1902 Secretary Hay sent the Romanian government
an official note remonstrating against the discriminatory
treatment of its Jewish subjects. Copies of this note were dispatched
to all the powers who had signed the Treaty of Berlin.24 In 1903 the
American government offered to forward to its Russian counterpart a
petition protesting against the lshinev massacre, and in 1906
Roosevelt attempted to intercede with Russia on behalf of its Jewish
subject~.~qt Schiff’s urging, the Roosevelt administration also prevailed
upon the representatives of all the great powers gathered at the
1906 Algeciras Conference to pass a resolution demanding equality of
treatment for the Jews of Morocco.
In general, however, the American government’s efforts encountered
only intransigence and indifference. By 1906 Roosevelt, weary of
Russian snubs and his government’s impotence to improve European
Jewry’s lot, found Schiff’s repeated appeals that he take further action
on the matter somewhat irritating and his suggestions that the United
States should forcibly intervene in Russian domestic affairs entirely
There was one tangible way in which the American government
could indicate its distaste for Russia’s anti-Semitic policies. By denying
entry within its borders to all Jews, even those who held American
passports, Russia regularly disregarded its Commercial Treaty of 1832
with the United States.During election campaigns Roosevelt, his
successor President William Howard Taft, and their Democratic opponents
all received suggestions from Schiff that they incorporate public
protests against this practice into their party platforms and major
speeches and policy statements. Generally they obliged, albeit with American Jewish Archives Journa2
some qualification.From around 1907 onward, Schiff and the
recently established American Jewish Committee, whose aim was to
use all feasible means to alleviate the sufferings of East European
Jewry, went so far as to urge the complete abrogation of the 1832
treaty, even though some American exporters would almost certainly
lose business thereby.30 Roosevelt remained tactfully but encouragingly
noncommittal; the less astute Taft refused outright to support the
abrogation movement.‘ (Schiff’s deep annoyance over Tafk’s initial
hostility toward abrogation, a measure that Woodrow Wilson, by contrast,
publicly advocated, almost certainly played a substantial role in
his 1912 support for the Democratic presidential candidate.)
Following a determined campaign by American Jewish leaders and
organizations, in 1911 Congress nonetheless passed resolutions unilaterally
terminating the treaty, and the Taft administration then
endorsed these.32 After the agreement’s abrogation, Schiff continued
to oppose any suggestion that it be renegotiated before the passport
question should have been settled to American Jews’sati~faction.~~
Kuhn, Loeb’s position as a major financial house was an equally
and perhaps even more important source of leverage on Russia.
Possibly the most important pre-1914 foreign issues in which Kuhn,
Loeb participated were five loans to the Japanese government during
and immediately after the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Schiff’s
motives in handling this business were by no means purely financial.
His distaste for the anti-Semitic policies of Russia’s tsarist government
was so intense that he refused to allow Kuhn, Loeb to participate in
any Russian loans, and he begged British and European Jewish
financiers to impose a similar embargo.34 Schiff hoped that a Russian
defeat at the hands of Japan might lead to a revolution and the installation
of a liberal constitutional government, one that would cease to
discriminate against Russia’s five or six million Jewish His
assistance and support were instrumental in enabling Japan’s special
financial commissioner, Baron Takahashi Korekiyo, to overcome
American and British bankers’initial lack of interest in Japanese war
bonds. Kuhn, Loeb organized the NewYork syndicates that handled
the American portions of the successive Japanese war loans, all of
which were heavily oversubscribed. Moreover, Schiff was more than
ready to mobilize the services of his many European contacts, especially
M. M. Warburg and Company, to sell the continental issues of
these securities. This, in turn, was a vital factor in persuading British
financiers to handle Japanese war bonds on favorable terms. joint Dish’bution Committee (JDC). Seatedfiom left to right are: Louis Marshall; Felix M. Warburg,
ofKuhn Loeb & Co., chairman of the committee; Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, corresponding secretary;
Mrs. F. Friedman, official stenographer; Dr. Boris D. Bogen of Cincinnati, organizer of the branch of
theJDC in Holland and a director ofthe National Conference of Charities; Leon Saunders, president of
the Independent Order of Brith Abraham; Harry Fischel, treasurer ofthe Central Relief Committee
(CRC); Sholem Asch, noted Yiddish urriter and vice chairman ofthe People’s Relief Committee (PRO;
Alexander Kahn, PRC chairman; lacob Milch; Miss Ham’et henstein, a lawyer and JDC comptroller;
Colonel Moses Schoenberg of St. Louis; Rabbi M. Z. Margolies, president of Agudas Habonim; Israel
Friedlander of thejewish Theologcal Seminary in New York; Paul Baerwald, associate treasurer of PC
and member ofthefirm ofkzard Freres; Iulius Levy of Baltimore; Peter Wiernik, CCR chairman and
editor ofthe Jewish Morning Journal, New York; Meyer Gilais, assistant editor of Forward, Nm
York; Colonel Hay Cutler of Providence, chairman of theJewish Weyare Board, U.S. army and navy;
Cyrus Adler, president of Dropsie College, Philadelphia, and of theJewish Theological Seminary, New
York, and chairman of the Anzerican Jewish Relief Committee ofPhiladelphia; Arthur Lehman, treasurer
of the committee and member of the firm of Lehman Brothers, Bankers, blew York; Jacob H.
Schiff; philanthropist and internatronal banker.
Standing left to right are: Abraham Zucker of PRC; Isadore Hershfield, who visited the
war zones at the outbreak ofthe war to establish communication between Jewishfamilies in Europe
and America; Rabbi Meyer Berlin, CRC vice president; Stanley Bero of CRC; Louis Topkis of
Wilmington, Delaware; Morris Engelman, CRCfinancial secretary and the originator of the plan for
the American Relieffor the Jewish War Sufferers,
(American Jewish Archives) American Jewish Archives Journal
Eventually $535,000,000 of such securities, of which the United States
took $196,250,000, were floated on European and American markets;
they covered more than half of Japan’s total war costs and were probably
a vital factor in Japan’s military success.36
During the First World War, Kuhn, Loeb would once again refuse
to lend to Russia and, by extension, to any of the Allies. Hostility to
Russia helped to reinforce the undoubted pro-German leanings of
some, though not all, of Kuhn, Loeb’s partners. With his long history
of opposition to the tsarist regime, Jacob Schiff was naturally contemptuous
when patriotism or fear of retaliation led English Jews to
refuse to condemn their Russian ally’s treatment of their co-religioni~ts.~~
Indeed, he argued that, though deplorable, German atrocities in
Belgium, which attracted so much condemnation in Western Europe
and the United States, were far less appalling than the tsar’s brutal
persecution of the Jewish population of western Russia and Poland.38
During the war, Schiff and Felix Warburg, as chairmen respectively of
the finance committee of the American Jewish Relief Committee and
of the Joint Distribution Committee, became heavily involved in
efforts to alleviate Jewish distress due to the war, notably in Russia,
Poland, and Galicia. In these endeavors they often called upon the
assistance, financial and otherwise, of German bankers, relying particularly
upon Max Warburg, the elder brother of Paul and Felix and
head of their family firm of M. M. Warburg and Company, which was
heavily involved in financing the German war effort.40
By summer 1915 the Allies were desperately short of U.S. dollar
exchange with which to pay for the enormous amounts of American
war supplies they were purchasing. With the assistance of J. I? Morgan
and Company, they raised a loan of $500 million in the United States,
the first of several.‘ Although several of his partners wished their firm
to participate in this offering, Jacob Schiff refused to permit it. Before
he would allow his firm to take any of the Allied bonds, Schiff
demanded binding written assurances from the British and French
governments that none of the proceeds would in any way be used to
aid Russia. Lord Reading refused to give these guarantees. Schiff
forthwith announced that Kuhn, Loeb would continue its existing policy
of abstention from governmental financing for any belligerent
nation. He stated that in principle he supported the loan but that his
long-standing aversion for the tsarist government prevented his firm’s
parti~ipation.~‘ Among the Allies and their supporters, though, Schiff’s The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company
stand was widely regarded as proof that he favored Germany and, as
it was reported he had in 1914 told a London Times correspondent, was
„willing to help the Kaiser rather than the Allie~.“~~To some extent this
accusation was true, but Schiff’s pro-German tendencies should not
lead one to underestimate the strength of his continuing opposition to
the Russian government. As long as the tsar sanctioned anti-Semitic
policies, Schiff refused to lend money to „this most hated and inhuman
of rulers.““ A few weeks after the Anglo-French loan’s flotation,
Schiff apparently told the Russian cabinet, through the agency of
Louis Marshall, the president of the American Jewish Committee, and
Alexandre Guenzburg, a leading Russian Jew, that if the tsar would
grant his Jewish subjects full civil rights, he would immediately raise
$200 million for Russia. The proposal was rejected, though knowledge
of it led Germans to condemn Schiff for subordinating his German to
his Jewish loyalties.In view of Schiff’s continuing skepticism over the
possibility of changes in the tsarist government’s attitude, one might
plausibly wonder whether he had genuinely expected this suggestion
to receive serious consideration.
Schiff probably found opposing the investment of American capital
in Russian securities and enterprises more congenial. From early
1915 onward he condemned the notion of any such financing until
Russian Jews were freed from all disabilities. In January of that year
he endorsed the protests of the prominent Jewish leader Louis
Marshall to President Wilson and Secretary of the Treasury William G.
McAdoo against a $25 million credit that several American banks
planned to extend to Russia.47 With Schiff’s approval Paul Warburg,
now a member of the Federal Reserve Board, likewise attempted,
albeit unsuccessfully, to exclude acceptance credits for the Russian
government from rediscount by Federal Reserve Banks, a measure that
would have made such securities unappealing to American banks.48 In
late 1915 Schiff claimed to Max Warburg that he had privately dissuaded
several American banks and trust companies from participating
in a large Russian credit of this nature.49 Even so, the two biggest
NewYork financial institutions, Morgan’s and the National City Bank,
remained impervious to his displeasure; in 1916 they headed syndicates
that floated two $50 million loans for the Russian government,
while some American banks still handled Russian acceptance^.^^
Publicly and privately, Schiff roundly condemned all such transactions,
denouncing Russian loans as financially unsound and moral- American Jewish Archives Journal
ly ~ndesirable.~‘ Paul Warburg, normally a keen supporter of the
expansion of American foreign investments, not only disparaged this
financing but also deplored American businessmen’s increasing interest
in other Russian enterprises. He characterized all such activities as
risky and insecure, allegng that in order to obtain American funds the
Russians had virtually falsified their national accounts.52 In any event,
the Russian Revolution fulfilled Warburg’s forebodings, though not,
perhaps, precisely as he had anticipated. At the time, however, the
Russian war loans seemed sound investments, and unlike most
American offerings for the Allies they were heavily oversubscribed.
One suspects that Warburg’s pro-German and anti-Russian leanings
may well have affected his financial judgment.
Not until March 1917, when American intervention was obviously
virtually inevitable, did Kuhn, Loeb formally abandon its self-styled
policies of „absolute neutrality“ and abstention fromudoing or participating
in any financing for belligerent purposes.“ Publicly, the partners
claimed that their policy reversal was due solely to the Russian
Revolution, an event that cleansed the Allies of the taint of antiSemiti~m.~~
This explanation was perhaps somewhat disingenuous.
For Kuhn, Loeb to refrain from supporting the U.S. government at a
juncture when war against Germany seemed virtually inevitable
would have been uncharacteristic and, to put it mildly, impolitic. The
skeptical comment of prominent banker Frank A. Vanderlip that „the
revolution in Russia.. . at least was the very fortunate occasion for Mr.
Schiff to withdraw his opposition to Allied financing“ to the annoyance,
he noted, of Morgan’s,“who have been bearing the burden [of
this business] thus far“54 was not entirely unjustified.
Even so, one need not doubt that to committed leaders of the
American Jewish community, particularly Jacob Schiff and Felix
Warburg, the Russian Revolution of 1917 initially seemed to promise
a long-awaited and welcome end to the oppression of Russian Jews.
As so often on matters involving Jewish issues, Jacob Schiff was the
most vocal of the partners. Initially he, like most American Jews, was
optimistic over Russian developments, enthusiastically supporting the
new Provisional Government. The delighted Jacob Schiff welcomed
the revolution, which he hailed as „almost.. . a miracle.. . almost
greater than the freeing of our forefathers from Egyptian slavery.“ He
sent congratulatory telegrams to the new Russian leaders, served on a
reception committee for the Russian mission that visited the United The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company
States later that year, and gave the Provisional Government concrete
support in the shape of substantial subscriptions to Russian governmental
bond issues.55 He applauded the decree of April 6, 1917,
removing all existing disabilities from Jews in Russia.56 Schiff rebutted
charges that the new government was as anti-Semitic as its predecesSO~.~~H~
urged the American government to extend financial aid to
the Provisional Government to enable it „to continue in the fight
against abs~lutism.“~~ In a public statement, Schiff also called for massive
private American capital investment in Russia, arguing that an
„American Russian financial alliance“wou1d be to thenbenefit of both
c~untries.“~~ In April 1917 Schiff set an example of his commitment to
this idea when he personally subscribed to 1,000,000 rubles of a
Russian government loan6′ At his government’s request, in April 1917
Schiff also urged Russian Jews to persuade the Provisional
Government, already under domestic pressure to make a separate
peace with Germany, to remain in the war, warning that otherwise
American financial aid might not be forthcoming.“ To him, the end of
Romanov rule initially seemed like a miracle,“ though he did confess
to being „still a bit anxious that all may not go as smoothly as we
hope, and that there may be some upheaval yet in Russia.“
The Bolshevik revolution of November 1917 more than confirmed
such misgvings, precipitating a swift and dramatic change in Schiff’s
attitude toward Russia. Far from being enthusiastic Bolshevik supporters,
Kuhn, Loeb’s partners viewed these radical revolutionaries
with deep suspicion. To some extent the opposition of the Schiffs and
Felix Warburg was muted by the need to work with whatever authorities
held power in Russia to promote the Joint Distribution Committee’s relief
efforts there. Even so, there is no doubt that both Jacob Schiff and
Otto Kahn were convinced anti-Bolsheviks who would have much
preferred a restoration of the provisional Lvov or Kerensky government
and did what little lay in their power to further this aim. Schiff
refused to give the Bolsheviks any financial aid and in December 1917
even requested the return of the million rubles he had loaned the
Russian government earlier that year, a demand the Bolsheviks simply
ignored.63 Schiff himself accepted the theory that the Bolsheviks
were German agents and hoped that,“once freed from the Bolschevik
[sic] German terror,“ Russia would „resume its march toward real
democra~y.“~~ He believed that the United States should not make
peace with Germany until the latter had given up what he believed to American Jewish Archives Journal
be its control over Russia.~~ Allegations that the Bolsheviks were mostly
of Jewish origin particularly alarmed him, coming as they did at a
time when radical American Jews were already under attack for being
antiwar and unpatriotic. He feared that, because several prominent
Bolsheviks were Jews, both the Russian peasantry and the Americans
would believe that Jews generally supported the Bolsheviks and their
policies.~~ He attempted to persuade the American Jewish Committee
to counter such claims through publicity.67 Organizations such as the
Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society constantly sent Schiff
information alleging that the Bolsheviks were anti-Semitic and, while
he thought some such complaints exaggerated, on the whole he
believed them.68 By contrast, both Schiff and Felix Warburg initially
discounted suggestions that the White Russians, under Admiral
Aleksandr Kolchak’s regime in Siberia, treated Jews under their jurisdiction
with equal brutality.69
Schiff, Kahn, and Felix Warburg did not merely passively oppose
the Bolsheviks but also supported strongly anti-Bolshevik organizations
within the United States. Schiff was most deeply involved in
such activities. In May 1917 he became an honorary adviser to the
Russian Information Bureau (RIB), an agency originally established by
the tsarist government in 1916 and soon afterward taken over by its
provisional successor. Throughout the change of regimes this body
professed the same aim: „to furnish the American public with information
in regard to the industrial, commercial and cultural conditions
in Russia,“ thereby, it hoped, promoting Russian-American goodwill
and ~nderstanding.~‘ After the Provisional Government’s fall the RIB
became a center for anti-Bolshevik propaganda, for several years
propagating the belief that the Bolsheviks were tools of Germany and
advocating American and Allied military intervention to overthrow
the Bolsheviks and restore the provisional regime. According to Zosa
Szajkowski, the RIB was“a very efficient anti-Bolshevik press agency,
advocating the cause of [the White Russian leaders] Kolchak and
[General Anton] Denikin, giving advice to American official and private
individuals, predicting a quick end of the Soviet regime, and criticizing
every possible attempt to normalize the political or economic
relations between the United States and Bolshevik Russia.“ It was
financed partly by the Provisional Government’s continuing Russian
embassy in Washington, but from late 1917 onward it was increasingly
bankrolled by wealthy conservative Americans, among them The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company
several leading Jews, including Schiff, Marshall, the noted economist
Edwin R. Seligman, the diplomat and former United States Secretary
of Commerce Oscar S. Straus, and the Zionist Stephen S. Wise. All
were honorary advisers of the bureau, whose director, Arkady Joseph
Sack, was himself a Russian Jew.“ The energetic Sack attempted to
bring about an alliance between Kolchak’s White Russian forces and
leading American Jews, appealing to the former to moderate their
anti-Semitism and telling the latter that reports of White Russian
pogroms and other anti-Semitic atrocities were much exaggerated.“
For several years Schiff and other Jewish leaders extended substantial
financial support to the RIB and its weekly news-sheet,
Struggling Russia. Indeed, Schiff described this publication as „possibly
the most powerful agent in this country possessed by those who are
struggling so hard to bring about in Russia the peace it and the entire
World needs so greatly and which cannot be attained to the full until
orderly conditions under a permanent democratic government
become there established.“Schiff not only gave handsomely himself
but approached other prominent American Jews, such as Julius
Rosenwald, for funding on its behalf.74 Until his death, Schiff received
numerous letters and press releases from Sack, all of which he
acknowledged and on which he usually commented.75 Yet like other
prominent members of the Joint Distribution Committee, the
American organization that coordinated Jewish relief efforts in Europe
and was chaired by his son-in-law, Felix M. Warburg, Schiff became
increasingly alarmed by incontrovertible reports that Kolchak’s and
Denikin’s White Russian forces were anti-Semitic and had committed
numerous atrocities against Russian Jews. Both Schiff and Felix
Warburg were initially reluctant to credit these allegations, but the evidence
for them became increasingly strong.76 In July 1919 Schiff told
Sack that he had received“re1iable reports.. . that conditions in the territories
under the sway of the Omsk Government are most unsatisfactory
(to use a mild expression) as far as the Jews are concerned.“ He
cited instances in which White Russian organizations had „incite[d]
the populace into atrocities against the Jewish population“ and even
acquiesced in murder. He suggested that Sack therefore „transmit a
word of warning“ to hisnfriends in Siberia“ that such behavior would
„alienate the sympathies of the American people.“77 Sack’s only
defense was to try to characterize the Omsk government as the least
unappetizing of the available alternatives.“ American Jewish Archives Journal
Sack’s efforts reaped some success. In late July 191.9 a group of
conservative Jewish leaders, including Schiff, Marshall, Straus, and
Wise, conferred with the Russian Metropolitan Archbishop Platon of
Kherson and Odessa. According to later reports of this meeting, they
assured the archbishop that the majority of American Jews strongly
opposed Bolshevism, and one source alleged that they even offered to
lend Kolchak $5 million.‘ Whatever their misgivings as to the Kolchak
government, many Jewish leaders were still on friendly terms with its
representatives. When news of this meeting leaked out, however, it
elicited a storm of protests from more radical, oftenyiddish-speaking,
American Jews.80 More conservative American Jews, generally those of
German origin, continued to support the White Russians. In
November 1919, Schiff stated publicly: „We must aid those who battle
against the forces of anarchy in Ru~sia.“
Schiff also supported the 1918-19 Allied military intervention in
Russia, an enterprise in which the United States government, in collaboration
with Britain, France, and Japan, rather halfheartedly
attempted to weaken and if possible overthrow the Bolshevik regime.
While Woodrow Wilson’s administration was far less anti-Bolshevik
than the other Allies, the Bolsheviks not unnaturally regarded its
activities as unfriendly. Schiff hoped that the Allied and American
forces would trigger the fall of the Bolsheviks. In October 1919 he told
If we do not come to the aid of the elements in Russia who so
heroically battle to subdue the forces of disorder and anarchy,
who for the time have constituted themselves the Russian
Government and make it possible that, instead of this, a truly
democratic Government which alone can become the salvation
of Russia, be established, the present regime, which cannot
possibly remain permanently, will surely be followed by
reactionary rule, most likely as undesirable as that of the
Romanoffs was, whose autocracy brought such misery and
suffering upon the Russian people.

Hier habe ich euch das Original als komplettes

PDF mit Bildern zum Downloaden bereitgestellt:


Ich freue mich über Rückmeldung von euch,

schöne Vor-Weihnachtszeit

Euer 1magyarember


Über 1magyarember fekete hun(Árpád, István)

Skytho-germanischer Hunne, Geboren in Ungarn,einen Teil der Kindheit dort verbracht, ich kam in der Zeit des Kommunismus nach Deutschland,auch aus politischen Gründen,da ich deutsche ebenso wie ungarische Wurzeln habe(die Großeltern waren deutsche(Thüringen) Sieldler in Ungarn, da lag es am nächsten nach Deutschland(die 2. Heimat) zu kommen ,als von den Kommies verfolgte deutschstämmige wurden wir zu politischen Flüchtlingen da mein Opa Soldat im 2.WK gegen die jüdischen Bolshevisten war. Ich bin begeisterter Karpfenangler und politisch interessiert von klein auf.Mehr Infos gibt´s öffentlich aus diffamierungs-technischen Gründen übers web nicht.Geht nicht anders , meine Familie und auch meine Person bedürfen des Schutzes im Netz...
Dieser Beitrag wurde unter 3.deutsches Reich, Fall Barbarossa, International, NWO, USA, Weltjudentum, Zionismus abgelegt und mit , , , verschlagwortet. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink.

6 Antworten zu Jewish Bankers, Russia, and the Soviet Union, 1900-1940: The Case of Kuhn, Loeb and Company Part 1

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