Alfred Moritz Mond was born in the Lancashire village of Farnworth to Ludwig Mond (1839-1909), a German-Jewish scientist who patented a sulphur recovery process from alkalis and set up a factory in Liverpool for the manufacture of soda.
Alfred Mond embarked on a political career in 1900 and entered parliament in 1906 as a Liberal, and apart Irom 1923-1924. remained there until 1928. He championed such causes as free trade and protection, prohibition, women’s suffrage, reform of the House of Lords, and land reform.
With the outbreak of war in 1914, Mond was attacked in the press and labeled a “German Jewish traitor,” and despite successful libel suits, the belief that Mond was a German sympathizer continued. Undaunted he turned his country estate, Melchett Court, into a military hospital, opened his London home to Belgian refugees, and subordinated his company’s resources to the war effort, especially for the manufacture of explosives and the first British gas masks. Lloyd George appointed him to the Advisory Committee of Bankers and Traders the purpose of which was to keep industry alive and to prevent economic bottlenecks.
He was one of the members of the Liberal group that brought the Lloyd George coalition into power and was appointed commissioner of works (1916-1921). He was responsible for the construction of the Imperial War Museum and the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, and the War Memorial in Edinburgh. He became minister of health (1921-1922), and during his administration the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was built and the Dentists’ Registration Bill passed.
In 1926 Mond joined the Conservatives. He initiated the Mond-Turner conference of industrialists and the General Council of the Trades Union Congress, which prepared the way for direct relations between capital and labor in England.
As Lord Melchett he became a passionate supporter of Zionism and was one of the first public figures to associate himself publicly with the Balfour Declaration (1917). He developed a deep personal friendship with Chaim Weizmann, with whom he paid his first visit to Palestine in 1922. He bought a plot of land at Migdal on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and stayed in the house he built there during his many visits. He traveled throughout Britain, the United States, and Canada, addressing public meetings on behalf of the Zionist cause, raising funds, and contributed generously himself.
He was elected president of the British Zionist Federation and served as political negotiator with the British government. In 1927 he headed the Joint Palestine Survey committee, an international commission appointed to study all aspects of Jewish settlement in Palestine, and in 1928 participated in the creation of the Jewish Agency, serving as its joint chairman (with Weizmann) until he resigned in 1930 in protest of the Passfield white paper. The agricultural settlement Tel Mond in the Sharon was established in 1929 in his honor.
- In 1902, together with his brother Robert Mond (1867-1938), a chemist, he took over the management of his father’s company, which had become the largest alkali works in the world. He established new enterprises in nickel and gas, created the Imperial Chemical Industries (I.C.I.) in 1926, expanding the company’s enterprises to Canada, India, China, Japan, Australia, and South America.
He married Violet Goetze, a Christian, in 1892 and their children were baptized and brought up as practicing Christians, even though he never regarded himself as anything other than a Jew.
Lord Melchett’s son, Henry Ludwig Mond, Second Lord Melchett (1898—1949), was brought up as a Christian, but in 1933, as a reaction to the rise of Nazism he converted to Judaism, became an ardent supporter of the Maccabi movement, was elected chairman of the Jewish Agency general council in 1942 and acted as the Zionist Movement’s political negotiator with the British government. In addition to his works on economics, he published The Neighbor, an account of Jewish persecution throughout the ages, culminating in the hope offered by Zionism.
Alfred Mond’s daughter Eva (1895—1973), married the second marquess of Reading. Like herbrother, she reverted to Judaism and was active in Zionist and general Jewish organizations, including the National Council of Women and the World Jewish Congress.
Daughter: Eva - British
Son: Henry Ludwig Mond - British
1916 - 1921
1921 - 1922