Jewish 100, 2015: George Weidenfeld – Innovation and Activism
Lord George Weidenfeld
The British-Jewish publisher and philanthropist George Weidenfeld, known for recently funding the rescue of Syrian and Iraqi Christians threatened by the Islamic State terror group, passed away in early 2016. His story is a remarkable one.
He escaped Austria for the United Kingdom in 1938, on the cusp of Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany that year. In 1949, Weidenfeld spent a year as chief of staff to Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, according to the World Jewish Congress, where he served as honorary vice president. He also co-founded the publishing firm Weidenfeld & Nicholson and later received the British aristocratic title of “life peer.” As a member of the House of Lords, Weidenfeld was devoted to promoting positive interfaith relations.
“George managed to squeeze several lifetimes into one,” said Ronald Lauder, WJC president.