02/27/07 - mitchell wolfson

In today's excerpt - Mitchell Wolfson Sr., successful businessman leader in the Jewish community and former mayor of Miami Beach, writes to his three children in 1943, on the eve of his departure for armed service in World War II. His son, Mitchell Jr., later both carried forward his legacy in business and founded the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach in Florida and Nervi, Italy:

"I am addressing this letter to you, my dear children, because if something should happen to me, I want to leave a message for you, which I hope you will carry in your heart and in your conscience all your lives. ...

"I was very happy and proud to be granted the opportunity to serve our country. All of us should thank God each night that we have a country to serve. I only hope and pray that all of you will have the same opportunities and privileges that your mother, I, and all free Americans have had for so many years.

"My supreme sacrifice, if it should be, is to set an example for you, so that you may always prove worthy of your obligations and duties, and it will not be in vain, if you make yourselves a credit to our people, as I have always tried to do.

"We have always conducted our business in an ethical manner with the thought uppermost in my mind that 'He profits most who serves best.'

"Also, we have never invested in or leased any real estate of ours to liquor establishments, gambling establishments, or pawn brokers. Grandfather Wolfson established this custom. I continued it, and I hope you will. I have no objections to people who care to engage in this business, but I do not believe the profits from this business could ever morally justify your engaging directly or indirectly in this type of business.

"Be fair to your employees, associates and to the public. Insist on what is just and right for yourselves, but also grant the same justice to others."


Michele Oka Doner and Mitchell Wolfson Jr.


Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden


Collins Design an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


Copyright 2007 by Michele Oka Doner and Mitchell Wolfson Jr.


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