Isi Blum-Cleitman

General Secretary 1944 to 1981

The most beautiful tree has fallen in our forest.

The first and the best among all of us isn’t there anymore.Our dear comrade Isi Blum has been taken from us.Ilex Beller

 Born in Odessa, raised by one of his aunts in Bessarabia where reigned the Rumania Boyars, Isi Blum maid a tough training of the death wit blood and tears, when the “iron guards” from Cuza organized pogroms.   He met also hate at his arrival in Paris when the “Action Française” gangs attacked the democrats. As a foreigner voluntary engaged at the very beginning of the war in 1939, he demonstrated a deep love for his adoptive country. It was the France of the “Dreyfusard”, the France with noble humanist traditions, and with the same passion he hated the anti-France of the disciples of Charles Maurras and the fascist killers. His behavior on the Somme front was exemplary and when he was taken by the Germans, with his weapons with the survivors of the 22nd IRFV  on June 6th 1940, he knew the war was not yet over for him. With will and bravery, he engaged himself in the fight in the Stalag III B.

His admirable deportment, as the confidential man of its barrack assigned to Jewish prisoners, earned him the greatest respect from all those who knew him and from the Germans as well, in front of which he used to defend his comrades, a task he never failed.   At the very capitulation of the nazi Germany, he returned to Paris where he founded our Association. From the very beginning he holds a major position in the Direction team. He was given the position of General-Secretary a key position that he detained for 37 years. He was the soul of our association, for without him it would never become what it is today. He was gifted wit a rare intelligence, a remarkable dynamism, good organizer, with an extraordinary work capacity, disinterested and with an unlimited devotion, Isi Blum had been all these years in all the initiatives and accomplishments of the Union, not to mention the Monument erected in the Bagneux cemetery as an homage to our heroes, then the publication of the two books “Au service de la France” and “ Le combatant volontaire Juif” Then  cam the building of our resting home” les Lauriers Roses” in Levens on the Riviera.

Who among us do not recall all the actions organized against Germany’s rearming where isi Blum plaid a major role. He gave himself heart and soul at the side of the regretted André Blumel, and many other well known personalities. He was part in all the fights against racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, as in the case of of the regretted Jacob Grom-kenig, chief-redactor of the “Naïe-Presse”, and vice-President of our Association. Isi Blum represented for all those who knew him a man of heart, an open spirit, fine and with culture. A great friend of Israel he has always has always been worried of its future. He lived in the prospective of a greater relaxation and in the hope of a peace with its Arab neighbors. Each opportunity was welcome to help that country. We lost with Isi Blum a great friend, an irreplaceable friend. His memory will remained engraved in our hearts, in the hearts of all the Jewish veterans, and of all the antifascists and antiracists.

Extract of Maurice Sister’s speech