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PICKUS, ABE

PICKUS, ABE (16 Oct. 1891-28 March 1980), a Cleveland businessman, attracted national renown for his efforts to promote peace through personal contacts with world leaders in the period before WORLD WAR II. Born in Russia, he came to Cleveland in 1910 and saw service with the AEF in France during WORLD WAR I. Returning to Cleveland, he married Etta Friedman in 1922 and operated the A. Pickus Lumber Co. before setting up an oil distributorship, the Majestic Oil Co. Keenly in international affairs, he was sufficiently disturbed by a news item from Manchuria in April 1936 to place a long-distance telephone call to the Japanese ambassador in Washington, D.C. During the next few years, Adolf Hitler and Mussolini's son-in-law, Count Ciano, were among those on the receiving end of calls from A. Pickus. By 1940, he revealed on a national radio program that his telephone and cablegram messages on behalf of peace had cost him $10,000. Having made an unsuccessful bid for a Democratic nomination to Congress in 1944, Pickus obtained his only political position in 1959 with an appointment to the State Fire Marshall's Advisory Council. He continued to campaign publiclty for his political views, which included improved Soviet-American relations, tougher laws against drug dealers and drunk drivers, and the benefits of physical fitness. He was survived by his wife and 2 children, Sheldon Pickus and Elaine Marks.


Vacha, J.E. "The Man Who Put Hitler on Hold," Ohio Magazine (1992).