Safran, Alexander

views updated


SAFRAN, ALEXANDER (1910–2006), rabbi. Born in Bacău, Romania, he was elected chief rabbi of Romania in 1940, thereby becoming the only representative of the Jewish community in the Romanian Senate. The Fascist government made Safran their first Jewish hostage, but this did not prevent him from making his home the center of the Jewish underground movement. He repeatedly intervened with Romanian government officials, the Church, diplomatic representatives of neutral countries, and other international bodies to alleviate anti-Jewish measures and in 1942 was able to bring pressure on the government to resist the Nazi demand that the Romanian Jews be deported. On the advent of Communism in 1948, he moved to Switzerland and was appointed chief rabbi of Geneva and lecturer in Jewish thought at Geneva University. Safran was active in many international Jewish organizations and wrote books on Jewish subjects.