Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman (1898–1972)
Rabbi Isserman, a prolific author, renowned speaker and tireless social justice advocate was born in Belgium and raised in the United States. He earned his M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania (1924) and served two synagogues before arriving at Temple Israel in St; Louis where he served from 1929 to his retirement in 1963.
He enlisted in the US Army Infantry in WWI, and volunteered with the American Red Cross during WWII, serving in North Africa. Between the wars he traveled to Nazi Germany three times; in 1933, 1935, and 1937; taking on as his mission to report back to Americans about the conditions in Nazi Germany and the rising threat he witnessed. His 1935 trip was undertaken without a visa to enter the country, and he created several false trails to throw off any pursuers.
He was tireless in his efforts to get the message out, with speaking engagements, letter writing campaigns, newspaper articles and columns, his weekly radio show, and interaction with state and local governments.
As part of his efforts he spoke on the MSM campus several times. His 1934 speech, reported on in the Missouri Miner February 6, 1934 issue, The reporter notes from Isserman's speech, "The Nazi believes in the totalistic state in which everything and everyone is subjected to the will of The Leader, and have, therefore deliberately eradicated every vestige of democracy and freedom. To assure their complete dictatorship, all opposition has been ruthlessly suppressed, the leaders of all democratic and opposition groups being either cruelly exterminated (known in German newspaper parlance as "committing suicide") or incarcerated in concentration camps."