Learn more about the lives and careers of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Henry Morgenthau, Jr.,
and Robert M. Morgenthau, who were compelled by world events to respond
as both Americans and Jews.
 
     

Henry Morgenthau was determined to make a difference as an American. Having achieved success in law and business by age 55, he was able to devote the remainder of his life to public service. He became a key player on the world stage during World War I as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, under President Woodrow Wilson.
In the first two years of his post, he witnessed the extreme poverty of Jewish settlers in Palestine and the plight of the Armenians. He called international attention to the sufferings of minorities in the Empire, and helped supply direct aid and relief. His work as Ambassador—and his service to humanitarian causes—had a profound impact on the course of history in the first half of the twentieth century.

ABOVE: Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, c. 1915.

 

Henry Morgenthau, Jr. was born into a family deeply committed to public service. Beginning his career on a farm in Dutchess County, his life’s work would be defined by his passion for agriculture and his friendship with neighbor Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

As Secretary of the Treasury, Morgenthau
worked to strengthen America’s economy during the Great Depression, and to prepare the Allies for WWII. During the Holocaust, he urged President Roosevelt to take action—leading to the creation of the War Refugee Board in 1944. Like his father, Henry Morgenthau, Jr. would be challenged throughout his career to balance American and Jewish agendas, which often seemed at odds with each other.

ABOVE: President Roosevelt receiving a U.S. savings bond from Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, April 30, 1941.
Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

 

Today, Morgenthau family members continue to fulfill the promise of America through public service.

The career of Robert M. Morgenthau—his military service, his tenure as a prosecutor, and his involvement in the community—eloquently reflects the family’s legacy.

Since 1974, he has served as District Attorney for New York County. In his post he fought corruption, fraud, organized crime, and white-collar crime, and helped positively change the legal landscape across the country. Like his father and grandfather, his sense of duty compelled him to respond to
international matters of justice. His main civic causes are the Police Athletic League, which he has served as President and Chairman, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, of which he is Chairman. Robert Morgenthau’s enduring dedication to the public good serves as an inspiration to those who wish to serve others.

ABOVE: Robert Morgenthau in his office, as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, 1961.

 

 

 

 

 

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