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Marie Syrkin; Author, Veteran : U.S. Zionist Movement Leader

February 05, 1989

Marie Syrkin, an author and for five decades a leader in the American Zionist movement, is dead at age 89. Miss Syrkin, a native of Berne, Switzerland, died Wednesday at St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica.

After graduating from Cornell University, she taught in the New York public school system for 25 years, and wrote her first book, "Your School, Your Children." In 1950, she joined the faculty at Brandeis University, staying there until retirement in 1966.

Her book, "Blessed Is the Match," includes interviews with several Holocaust survivors and is believed to be the first work in English about Jewish resistance under the Nazis. "Golda Meir: A Biography," released in 1969, was based on her friendship with the Israeli prime minister.

She also wrote "Nachman Syrkin: A Memoir," a book dedicated to her mother; "Gleanings: A Diary in Verse;" and her most recent work, "The State of the Jews," released in 1980.

As a journalist, Miss Syrkin helped found and edit The Jewish Frontier, was editor of the Herzl Press, and was on the editorial boards of Midstream and Middle East Review.

In the 1960s, she served on the World Zionist Executive as the American representative of the Labor Party. For five years, she served as honorary president of the Labor Zionist movement in the United States.

Golda Meir once called her "one of the very best and most eloquent, thorough and lucid interpreters of Zionism and Israel."

Miss Syrkin moved to Santa Monica in 1976 after the death of her husband, poet Charles Reznikoff.

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