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Medalie, George Zerdin


MEDALIE, GEORGE ZERDIN (1883–1946), U.S. lawyer and Jewish community leader. Medalie was born in New York's Lower East Side to Russian immigrants. He served as assistant district attorney of New York County (1910–15). Subsequently founding his own law firm, Medalie also served in various advisory and public legal capacities. As U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1931 he vigorously prosecuted racketeers and smugglers. One of several assistants whom he later helped attain public careers in elective office was Thomas E. Dewey. Medalie himself was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1932. In 1945 Dewey, then governor of New York, appointed him to an interim term as associate justice of the Court of Appeals, the highest state court. Medalie was prominent in local legal associations and was a leader of the New York Jewish Community. He was on the board of directors of both the Joint Distribution Committee and the uja. As chairman of the American Jewish Committee's Overseas Committee, he devoted his efforts to securing equal rights for Jews in the countries to which they returned after World War ii. From 1941 to 1945 he served as president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. As president of the Jewish Board of Guardians in 1931 Medalie gave strong support to the development of psychiatric casework. He was chairman of the Mayor's Committee on Unemployment Relief during the Depression and served on many other government committees.


ajyb, 48 (1946–47), 93–100; J. Willen, in: ajyb, 42 (1946–47), 93–100 (portrait).

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