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I was very sorry to hear about the death of Mandell “Bill” Berman. I had the privilege of meeting him several times to talk about his life adventures and philosophy. Bill was one of the great leaders of Detroit’s Jewish community, in the league of such luminaries as David Hermelin and Max Fisher. He was a mentsh, to say the least.

One of the fond memories that Arthur Horwitz and I have of Bill occurred when the Detroit Jewish News Foundation held a reception at the Walter Reuther Library at Wayne State University to announce the addition of the Detroit Jewish Chronicle to the William Davidson Digital Archive. See the Nov. 5, 2015, issue of the JN for the full report.

Julius Berman, Bill’s father

We were greatly honored that Bill decided to attend. As I did a bit of research about him, I learned that Bill inherited his sense of community spirit from his father, Julius Berman. At the reception, we showed a few images of the Chronicle to the audience, including the front page from Dec. 28, 1917, that reported that Julius Berman had rejoined the army. The article also cited Suwalk, Russia, as his birthplace. This became a very special moment when Bill declared that this was the first time he knew of his father’s birthplace. It was nice to give a little to a man who gave so much. Bill will be sorely missed.

Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News
Foundation Archivist

Want to learn more?
Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at  www.djnfoundation.org

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