Bisgyer, Maurice

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BISGYER, MAURICE (1897–1973), U.S. social worker and administrator. Bisgyer was born in Brooklyn and graduated from New York University in 1918, beginning his career in Jewish communal service a year later as executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Education Alliance, a post which he held for three years. After a year with ymha in Trenton, n.j., he became director of the Jewish Community Center in Washington. In the 1930s, his pioneering effort in obtaining sponsors willing to facilitate the entry of Jewish refugees into the United States made it possible to bring 15,000 refugees from Europe to the United States. President Hoover appointed him to the National Advisory Committee on Education in 1929, and President Roosevelt reappointed him in 1933. In 1946, he became a member of Attorney General Tom Clark's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency.

In 1937, Bisgyer became chief administrative officer of the B'nai B'rith, and held the position of executive vice president until his retirement in 1964, when he was named honorary vice president. In addition to his work in the United States, he traveled all over the world and took part in meetings with leaders of governments and with Popes John xxiii and Paul vi. He played an important role in arranging the meeting of President Truman with Chaim *Weizmann in March 1948, to which he accompanied Weizmann. Bisgyer was also a pioneer in Jewish social service. He was co-author (with Henry Monsky) of Man and his Work (1947) and wrote Challenge and Encounter (1967).

[Frederick R. Lachman]