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Nathan Straus Jr.
Straus in 1938
Born (1889-05-27)May 27, 1889
New York City, New York
Died September 13, 1961(1961-09-13) (aged 72)
Massapequa, New York
Nationality United States
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Helen Sachs
Children Nathan Straus III
Barnard Straus
Irving Lehman Straus
R. Peter Straus
Parents Lina Gutherz Straus
Nathan Straus
Family Bernard Sachs (father-in-law)

Nathan Straus Jr. (May 27, 1889 in New York City – September 13, 1961 in Massapequa, Nassau County, New York) was an American journalist and politician from New York.


He was the son of Lina (née Gutherz) and Nathan Straus (1848–1931), co-owner of Macy's department store. He attended Princeton University, and Heidelberg University. He worked as a reporter for The New York Globe from 1909 to 1910; and was editor and publisher of Puck magazine from 1913 to 1917. During World War I he fought as an ensign with the United States Navy.

After the war, he became Assistant Editor of the New York Globe, but left in 1920 because of the paper's support for Republican presidential candidate Warren G. Harding. Instead, he entered politics as a Democrat, and was a member of the New York State Senate (15th D.) from 1921 to 1926, sitting in the 144th, 145th, 146th, 147th, 148th and 149th New York State Legislatures. He was Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture from 1923 to 1924.

He was a founding trustee of the Palestine Endowment Fund, Inc. (1922) along with Julian Mack and Stephen Samuel Wise [1]

He was New York State Administrator of the National Recovery Administration in 1934; a member of the New York City Housing Authority in 1936; and Administrator of the United States Housing Authority from 1937 to 1942. He published two books on housing issues: Seven Myths of Housing (1944), and Two-Thirds of a Nation – A Housing Program (1952).

Afterwards he was Chairman of the WMCA radio station until his death.

On September 13, 1961, he was found dead in a motel room in Massapequa, New York; and was buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.

Personal life

He was married to Helen Sachs, daughter of Bernard Sachs, a noted neurologist for which Tay–Sachs disease is named and member of the Goldman-Sachs family.[2] They had four sons: Nathan Straus III, Barnard Sachs Straus (married to Joan Paley), Irving Lehman Straus, and R. Peter Straus (1917–2012).[2][3] His son, R. Peter Straus, was Director of the Voice of America under President Jimmy Carter and the owner of radio station WMCA in New York City[4] who in 1998, married Marcia Lewis, the mother of Monica Lewinsky.[4]

Congressman Isidor Straus (1845–1912) and US Secretary of Commerce and Labor Oscar Straus (1850–1926) were Nathan's uncles; New York Chief Judge Irving Lehman (1876–1945) was his brother-in-law; and Ambassador Jesse I. Straus (1872–1936) was his first cousin.

Anne Frank connection

When Straus attended Heidelberg University in 1908, he met a young art-history scholar named Otto Frank. The 20 year old Frank accepted a job at Macy's, where he fell in love with New York and its brashness. But his father died in 1909, and he returned to Germany for a brief time.[citation needed]

Frank, who was Jewish, later fled Germany with his family in the face of the severe anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany. They relocated to Amsterdam, where Frank enlisted Nathan Jr.'s assistance to help his family obtain visas to relocate to the United States. Despite receiving help from Nathan Jr. and other connections, the Franks' visa applications were denied.[5] Ultimately, the entire Frank family was interned in Nazi concentration camps, with Otto the only member to survive to the end of World War II.

In the years that followed, Otto published the diary of his daughter, Anne Frank, which described the family's life while hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. That work, known in English as The Diary of a Young Girl or The Diary of Anne Frank, is one of the most well known books about The Holocaust. It has been translated into dozens of languages and adapted into plays and films.


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