- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Harry Louis Selden, 96, magazine editor

Harry Louis Selden, an editor who set aside his profession to promote the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust and establish a Jewish homeland, died Feb. 14 of natural causes in Rockville, where he resided at the Hebrew Home for the Aged. He was 96.

Mr. Selden was born in New York and worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming managing editor of the humor magazine Judge.

His life changed dramatically in 1939 after reading William Ziff’s “The Rape of Palestine,” a critique of the pro-Arab shift in British policy in its provisional mandate of Palestine. The book led Mr. Selden to become active in a group with which Mr. Ziff was associated, the American Friends of a Jewish Palestine (AFJP).

The AFJP raised funds to smuggle European Jews to Palestine in defiance of British restrictions. Forsaking his career as an editor, Mr. Selden became a “dollar-a-year man” for the AFJP, writing and editing its publications and other literature.

In 1946, Mr. Selden took former U.S. Sen. Guy Gillette on a highly publicized “fact-finding mission” to Palestine. They inspected British ships used to deport Jewish refugee immigrants and met with the British high commissioner to warn him that American public opinion was turning against Britain over the Palestine issue.

After the creation of Israel in 1948, Mr. Selden returned to private life.

In later years, Mr. Selden served as vice chairman of the Fair Campaign Practices Committee, a group that monitored national elections standards.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Florence, and a daughter, Judith.

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies has established a Harry Selden Memorial Fund to encourage research into the work of Mr. Selden and his colleagues.

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