COHN, GEORG


COHN, GEORG
COHN, GEORG (Arye; 1887–1956), Danish international law expert and diplomat. Born in Frankfurt-on-Main into an old Danish-Jewish family, Cohn came to Copenhagen as a child. After law studies at the University of Copenhagen, he joined the Danish Foreign Ministry in 1913, remaining there for 43 years. In 1918 Cohn was appointed head of the ministry's new department of international law; from 1921 he held the position of advisor in international law and in 1946 received the title of minister. During World War I Cohn was instrumental in maintaining Denmark's neutrality and in arranging help for wounded prisoners of war. For these efforts he received a knighthood of the Dannebrog Order and the Danish Red Cross Award. At the League of Nations in Geneva, where he was a delegate in 1920, 1925, and 1929, Cohn was concerned with problems of neutrality for the smaller states. From that point forward, he was preoccupied with the prevention of war and the need to define a new concept of active neutrality. This is reflected in his Neutralité et Société des Nations (1924) and Kriegsverhuetung und Schuldfrage (Frankfurt, 1931) and further developed in the seminal Neo-Neutralitet (1937; revised as Neo-Neutrality, 1939). The last two works earned him doctoral degrees at the Universities of Frankfurt and Copenhagen, respectively. From 1929 Cohn was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. He negotiated the resolution of the age-old dispute over the Oresund Straits separating Denmark and Sweden (1931). In 1932–33 he successfully presented Denmark's case at the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague, in the sovereignty dispute with Norway over Eastern Greenland. A part of N.E. Greenland bears his name. In 1936 Cohn was elected a member of the International Diplomatic Academy in Paris. He lectured at the Academy of International Law at The Hague in 1939. In October 1943 Cohn fled with his family to Sweden, joining the Danish Embassy in Stockholm. Returning to Denmark in 1945, he was a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly at Lake Success (1946). In 1948 he headed the international committee which dealt with states' rights over the continental shelf. As head of Denmark's delegation to the International Red Cross conference in Geneva (1949), he strongly supported the recognition of Israel's magen david adom . An observant Jew and a founder of the Machzikei Hadat synagogue in Copenhagen (1910), he later received rabbinical ordination. With his brother Naphtali, a lawyer at the High Court of Denmark, he purchased the original S.R. Hirsch synagogue in Frankfurt (1924) to keep it in Jewish hands. He was among those consulted by david ben-gurion on issues of religion and state. He visited Israel in 1950. He was the recipient of numerous international awards. He edited and published with his brother the monthly law journal Juridisk Tidsskrift (1915–30). His legal and philosophical writings include Platons Gorgias (1911), Etik og Soziologi (1913), Kan Krig forhindres? ("Can War Be Prevented?" 1945), Existentialisme og Retsvidenskab ("Existentialism and the Science of Law," 1952). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Fischer and N. Svenningsen, Den Danske Udenrigstjeneste, Vol. II, 1919–1970 (1970); E.C.Roi, Ḥatzrot Kopen-hagen (2003). (Emilie Roi (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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