Alex F. Stanton, 96, Phila. Businessman, Supporter Of Israel

Posted: November 10, 1991

Alex F. Stanton, 96, who aided Jews fleeing Germany before the Holocaust and ran supplies to Israeli independence fighters in 1948, died Thursday at Lankenau Hospital.

In 1980, he was honored for his efforts by Menachem Begin, then Israel's prime minister.

Born in England in 1895, Mr. Stanton immigrated to Philadelphia before World War I and lived here until his death. He worked as a salesman in an aluminum supply company and then started his own floor-covering business in Center City just as the Great Depression hit.

The company, Great Eastern Sales Co., prospered. But for Mr. Stanton, business was always secondary. His attention was fixed on the rise of the Nazis in Germany and the threat to the Jews.

"In the years preceding World War II, he was very instrumental in bringing a number of young Jewish boys into the United States, 25 to 30 of them," recalled Mr. Stanton's son-in-law, Charles Conston, yesterday.

Mr. Stanton campaigned tirelessly to call attention to the Nazi atrocities. His views sparked friction at a 1944 conference of American Jewish leaders, whom he accused of failing to focus enough attention on rescuing Jews from the Nazis.

After World War II, Mr. Stanton became deeply involved in Israel's war for independence. In the midst of the combat, Mr. Stanton led a 12-jeep convoy into Israel to supply the fighters.

"It was something he felt he had to do," Conston said. "His goals have always been the survival of the state of Israel."

During the next 30 years, Mr. Stanton led fund-raising events in Philadelphia for Israel and for Jews around the world.

He served as national president of Brith Sholom; president of Cardozo Lodge, Brith Sholom; vice president and chairman of fund-raising for the Federation of Jewish Charities; chairman of the Independent Bloc of the American Jewish Conference, and vice chairman of the World Jewish Congress.

At the time of his death, he was serving as chairman of the Brith Sholom Foundation Builders of the Brith Sholom House and the Brith Sholom Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Center for Israeli War Veterans in Haifa, Israel - a center his work had funded.

He was among 100 people awarded the Jabotinsky Medal from the state of Israel, personally given to him by then-Prime Minister Begin in 1980.

He also received the Brith Sholom Communal Award and the Humanity Award of Maccabee Lodge 560.

Mr. Stanton is survived by his wife, the former Fannie Spoont; daughter, Shirley Conston; six grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren, and a sister.

Services will be at 2 p.m. today, Temple Adath Israel, Old Lancaster Road and Highland Avenue, Merion. Interment will be at Mount Sharon Cemetery, Springfield, Delaware County.

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