From the Archive: Edgar Bronfman ephermera

For Edgar Bronfman — and for anyone, really — a news obituary is merely a summary of moments where a person was caught in the public eye. News clippings, Google searches and resumes will capture select achievements and noteworthy moments, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Here are some anecdotes didn’t make JTA’s obituary of Edgar Bronfman:

  • The New York Times’ obituary noted the kidnapping and subsequent release of Edgar’s son, Samuel. Shortly after the incident, the AP offered further details of the ransom from a sworn affadavit, including the dramatic drop-off where Edgar showed up at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport with two garbage bags containing “2.3 million in bills in 100-dollar denominations or less” and an unknown man entered his car to lead him to a drop-off point.
  • Speaking about Israel in 1980, Bronfman stated, “There is disappointment in a country which is less than what the original Zionists envisioned — an Israel which we wanted to think of as the embodiment of Jewish ideals: fairness, justice, wisdom.”
  • As Edgar Bronfman publicly excoriated Austrian politician and UN leader Kurt Waldheim for his Nazi past, renowned Vienna-based Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal criticized Bronfman’s tactics.

Take it all with a grain of salt. With death, a lot more is lost than a few amusing anecdotes. All the more so with the death of a man of Edgar Bronfman’s stature.

Adam Soclof is JTA’s Associate Director of Outreach and Partnerships and coordinates presentations and advertising/marketing opportunities for the news agency. A digital archives enthusiast, Adam has authored more than 300 blog posts for The JTA Archive Blog and was responsible for its social media presence and weekly newsletter, This Week in Jewish History. Adam has presented at several conferences in the form of game shows, interactive social media campaigns and Powerpoint presentations. Follow him on Twitter: @hypersem