Meyer Nuren­berger: fa­ther of The CJN

The Canadian Jewish News (Toronto) - - News -

Although his name may be lit­tle known, even within Cana­dian Jewish cir­cles, Meyer Joshua Nuren­berger was an in­ter­na­tion­ally known writer and pub­lisher who founded The CJN.

Dur­ing a jour­nal­is­tic ca­reer that stretched from the 1930s to the ’90s, Nuren­berger in­ter­viewed Al­bert Ein­stein, cov­ered the Nurem­berg and Eich­mann tri­als and was edi­tor of the Mor­gen Jour­nal, a prom­i­nent New York Yid­dish pa­per. Flu­ent in 10 lan­guages, he penned ar­ti­cles in He­brew and French for pub­li­ca­tions in Is­rael and France, and wrote the main ed­i­to­rial col­umn for the New York Yid­dish weekly Al­ge­meiner Jour­nal, un­til Alzheimer’s dis­ease in­ca­pac­i­tated him in the ’90s.

Born in Krakow in 1911, he ar­rived in the United States in 1938 and served as a cap­tain and war cor­re­spon­dent for the U.S. Army dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Sta­tioned in Europe, he is­sued laise passé, or travel doc­u­ments, that helped more than 100 Jews es­cape the Holo­caust. He cov­ered the Nurem­berg war-crimes tri­als and was pho­tographed promi­nently dis­play­ing a Yid­dish news­pa­per be­fore the pris­on­ers in the dock.

A strong sup­porter of the Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tives and the Is­raeli po­lit­i­cal right, Nuren­berger’s po­lit­i­cal as­so­ci­ates in­cluded for­mer Is­raeli prime min­is­ters Me­nachem Be­gin and Yitzhak Rabin, and for­mer Cana­dian prime min­is­ter John Diefen­baker, whom he ad­vised on the Middle East.

It was at Be­gin’s sug­ges­tion that Nuren­berger brought his fam­ily from New York to Toronto in 1957, to edit a Yid­dish news­pa­per. When its of­fice burned down in 1959, he and his wife, Dorothy Cohn Nuren­berger, decided to launch an English-lan­guage Jewish pa­per. They were as­sisted by Kal­man Berger, a lo­cal so­cial­ist leader, and marginally by Toronto Tele­gram pub­lisher John Bas­sett, who re­ported on the pa­per’s birth in the Tely.

Au­thor Lewis Leven­del de­voted a chap­ter to Nuren­berger in his 1989 book, A Cen­tury of the Cana­dian Jewish Press: 1880s-1980s. The book char­ac­ter­ized him as colour­ful, in­flu­en­tial and fiercely in­de­pen­dent.


Meyer Nuren­berger, sec­ond from the right, holds a copy of Di­ary of Anne Frank, given to him by her fa­ther, Otto Frank, far right.

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