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Janowsky, Oscar Isaiah


JANOWSKY, OSCAR ISAIAH (1900–1993), U.S. historian. Born in Poland, he was brought to the U.S. in 1910. He was appointed professor of history at New York City College in 1948. Janowsky's principal scholarly interests were recent European history and Jewish studies. He taught courses and seminars in European national minorities and imperialism, as well as in Jewish history. Among his major works are The Jews and Minority Rights (1898–1919) (1933); International Aspects of German Racial Policies (with M. Fagan, 1937); People at Bay (1938); and Nationalities and National Minorities (1945), an elucidation of "national federalism." He also wrote the following important books on U.S. Jewry: The American Jew: a Composite Portrait (1942); The American Jew: A Reappraisal (1964); The Education of American Jewish Teachers (1967); and on Israel, Foundations of Israel (1959).

An adviser to J.G. *McDonald (1935), League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, he helped to prepare the documentation of McDonald's Letter of Resignation (London, 1936). As director of the Jewish Welfare Board Survey (1946–47), he produced the jws Report (1948) known also as the "Janowsky Report," which affected the orientation of Jewish community centers. As chairman of the Commission for the Study of Jewish Education in the U.S. (1952–57) he organized and, with U.Z. Engelman, directed the study (1952–55).

Janowsky's public service was extensive. He was a member of the Board of Governors of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and chairman of the American Friends of The Hebrew University's Academic Council (1940s–1964); and he organized and chaired the American Student Program for Study at The Hebrew University (1954–66). He was on the editorial board of the Menorah Journal; Middle Eastern Affairs; and Jewish Social Studies. He was editor of the section on Jews in historiography in the Encyclopaedia Judaica. In 1975 Janowsky was awarded the Lee Max Friedman Award by the American Jewish Historical Society for distinguished service in the field of American Jewish history.

[Howard L. Adelson]

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