Morris Michael Edelstein

Morris Michael Edelstein (February 5, 1888 – June 4, 1941) was a Polish-born Congressional Representative from the state of New York. Edelstein was born in Meseritz (Międzyrzec Podlaski), Poland, and at three years of age immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled in New York City. He attended public schools and Cooper Union College in New York. He graduated from the Brooklyn Law School of St. Lawrence University, in 1909, and was admitted to the bar in 1910 and practiced law in New York. Edelstein was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William I. Sirovich. He was reelected to the Seventy-seventh Congress and served from February 6, 1940, until his death on June 4, 1941, in the cloakroom of the House of Representatives, Washington, DC, after completing the delivery of a speech on the floor of the House.

Morris Michael Edelstein
M. Michael Edelstein
M. Michael Edelstein, Congressman from New York
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 14th district
In office
February 6, 1940 – June 4, 1941
Preceded by William I. Sirovich
Succeeded by Arthur G. Klein
Personal details
Born Morris Michael Edelstein
February 5, 1888
Meseritz (Międzyrzec Podlaski), Poland
Died June 4, 1941 (aged 53)
Washington, D.C., United States
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater St. Lawrence University
Occupation lawyer

June 4, 1941

Edelstein's last speech was a response to Mississippi Representative John Elliott Rankin, widely described as an anti-Semite who advocated peace with Nazi Germany. Rankin had just delivered a House floor speech accusing "international Jewish brethren" of trying to drag America into World War II.

In response, Edelstein, who was Jewish said: "Hitler started out by speaking about 'Jewish brethren.' It is becoming the play and the work of those people who want to demagogue to speak about their 'Jewish brethren' and 'international bankers.' ... I deplore the idea that ... men in this House ... attempt to use the Jews as their scapegoat. I say it is unfair and I say it is un-American. ... All men are created equal, regardless of race, creed or color, and whether a man be Jew or Gentile, he may think what he deems fit." Edelstein then walked out of the House. He collapsed and died shortly afterwards in the House cloakroom.[1][2]

He is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, New York.[3]


The SS M. Michael Edelstein, a World War II liberty ship, was named in his honor.

See also


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William I. Sirovich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 14th congressional district

1940-02-06 – 1941-06-04 (died)
Succeeded by
Arthur G. Klein


  1. ^ "Edelstein Dies After Clash with Rankin in House over Anti-jewish Speech". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 5 June 1941. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Edelstein Dies After House Talk — New Yorker Makes a Reply to Rankin's Charges on Jews and Collapses in Lobby — Heart Attack Is Cause — He Is Praised by Colleagues — Lived All But First Three Years in Own District". New York Times. June 5, 1941. p. 24. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Edelstein Funeral Today". New York Times. June 6, 1941. p. 20. Retrieved 23 April 2017.

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