The Role of Kaye Scholer’s Milton Handler in the Creation of the War Refugee Board
From 1943-44, Milton Handler, a Columbia Law School graduate and former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone, was the Special Counsel to the Foreign Economic Administration. In the fall of 1943, as dissatisfaction grew over the State Department’s handling of Jewish rescue and refugee issues, some Roosevelt Administration officials began to discuss creating a special rescue agency. One of the first serious proposals for such an agency was drafted by Milton Handler and submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who subsequently proposed to FDR taking rescue and refugee matters away from the State Department and vesting them in a special agency. On January 22, 1944, the White House announced the creation of the War Refugee Board, which ultimately was credited with directly or indirectly rescuing 200,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied or satellite countries. In 1951, Milton Handler joined the firm then known as Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, and Hayes, and developed a reputation as one of the nation’s leading antitrust scholars and litigators. His annual series of antitrust lectures, published in separate collections, had long been considered required reading for anyone with an interest in antitrust law. He died in 1998 at the age of 95.