Sissie Straus Lehman (1879-1950)
Sissie Straus Lehman (1879-1950) was the daughter of Nathan and Lina Gutherz Straus. In 1901 she married Irving Lehman (1876-1945). In 1940, Irving became the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York State. He served in this capacity until his death in 1945.
During World War II Sissie Straus Lehman created detailed family trees to document the relationship of her family members who remained in Europe. She worked tirelessly to provide affidavits of support to all those who wanted to immigrate to the United States. A family story is that the United States Department of State told Sissie she could sponsor no more people, commenting that no one person could have so many relatives. It is not uncommon today to find family members who believe they and their entire family were saved because of Sissie’s largess.
Sissie's generosity did not end there. She and Irving arranged for housing for the newly immigrant families, provided milk for their children and helped them find employment. During the summer Sissie and Irving created a summer camp on their Port Chester property where children from immigrant families could enjoy fresh air, sports and healthy food as they learned English. Most of the children came to this camp for two weeks but the children of family members enjoyed the entire summer in this lovely rural environment.
When Irving Lehman died in 1945, Sissie donated his prayer book with a silver binding to the Judaica Collection at Temple Emanu-El in New York City.
“Beth El and Salem Fields Cemeteries Walking Tour – Sunday, June 3rd, 2007” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 9 No. 1 (New York: August 2007); pp. 8-9.http://www.straushistoricalsociety.org/uploads/1/1/8/1/11810298/_________nwsltr807.pdf
Source: The Straus Historical Society