BLANK, MAURICE (1848–1921), Romanian banker. Born in Pitesti, Romania, Blank was one of the first Romanian Jews to receive diplomas in economics and finance at the Vienna and Leipzig universities. He went to work in Bucharest in the banking house of Jacob Marmorosh, who later invited him to become a partner. Marmorosh, Blank and Company became Romania's largest bank after the Romanian National Bank. Blank made important connections with East European financial institutions and was instrumental in developing his country's economic relations with the rest of Europe, particularly after Romania became independent in 1878. His bank shared in developing many of the country's industries, helped to introduce steel trains, and made possible the financing of the great tunnel project at Barbosi. Blank was involved in Jewish and general communal affairs, giving generous support to cultural institutions and founding theaters and publishing houses. His son aristide blank (1884–1962) became general director of the bank on his father's death and was also a supporter of many Jewish and general causes. He published a number of studies on finance, and some plays in Romanian and French. Aristide Blank was also a promoter of Romanian culture: he financed the publication of books on history and archaeology, bought the Adevarul and Dimineata dailies, and supported the Popular Theater of Bucharest and the Romanian school in Paris. He also founded the nonprofit Cultura Nationala publishing house, which published books in the fields of literature, the humanities, and social sciences, with the aim of encouraging writers and promoting good literature. He also financed the translation of the Bible into Romanian by the writer-priest Gala Galaction. In 1950, ruined and persecuted by the Communist regime, Aristide Blank left for Paris, where he lived in poverty and died.
S. Bickel, Yahadut Romanyah (1978), 47–50, 321; A Mirodan, Dictionar neconventional,i (1986), 174–79; L. Bathory, in: Studia Judaica, i (1991), 94–103.
[Joachim O. Ronall /
Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]