Mike Smith
Mike Smith Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair

Detroit Jewish News Foundation archivist Mike Smith was honored as the Alene and Graham Landau Archivist.

I have been the archivist for the Detroit Jewish News Foundation for nearly six years and I have enjoyed every minute of my work. While I will continue to be the archivist for the Foundation, from this point forward, I am pleased to let you know that I have a new title: I now hold the Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair. This is a great honor for me.

The Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair is named in recognition of a generous gift from the Louis C. and Edith Blumberg Foundation. The announcement of the gift, which is in honor of Alene Landau’s 90th birthday, was made at the June 5 meeting of the Jewish News Foundation Boards. The boards’ members enthusiastically endorsed the gift and the new archivist title.

Mrs. Landau attended the meeting and was presented with a handsome plaque to commemorate the occasion. It was an honor to meet her in person and I can tell you she is one very gracious and vibrant woman.

I wish I could have met Graham. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2017.

Of course, before the June 5 meeting, I also did my usual search in the William Davidson Archive to see what I could find on the Landau family. I was not disappointed. Their names appeared often on the pages of the JN for the good work they were doing in Detroit and Israel. For example, Graham was a key leader for Hebrew Free Loan’s program in the city.

Another example, and one that did my heart good, is that Alene was an active member of the archives committee for the Jewish Federation’s Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. But these examples are just two of many, many instances of the Landau’s support for Detroit Jewish organizations and Israel over the years.

In particular, through the Landau’s work with the Louis C. and Edith Blumberg Foundation — current trustees include Mrs. Landau, Julee Landau Shahon and Larry Jackier — many institutions have benefited from its generous support, including Sinai Hospital, the Rothberg School of International Studies at Hebrew University, Bar-Ilan and Technion universities in Israel, JARC, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Friendship Circle, the United Jewish Foundation and Jewish Senior Life.

Jewish News Foundation President and JN Executive Editor/Publisher Arthur Horwitz summed it up: “Over the decades, the Blumberg and Landau families have played integral roles in helping to shape our Jewish community.” Indeed. We have all benefited from their work.

I would like to tell you about one other story that jumped out from the pages of the JN. Did you know that Graham was a war hero? A report in the Feb. 23, 1945, issue tells the story of a 20-year-old soldier who climbed out of his foxhole during a German bombardment of his unit’s position in November 1944, and risked his life to help his wounded comrades to safety. The photo accompanying the story shows Maj. Gen. Rupert Burriss presenting PFC Graham Landau with an accommodation.

I am honored to be the first person to hold the Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair. I will do my best to uphold the position in a manner befitting the traditions of these wonderful Jewish Detroiters.

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

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