NOVY, JIM (1896–1971), U.S. business executive. Novy, who was born in Knyszyn, Poland, went to the U.S. in 1913 and settled in Austin, Texas, where he played a leading role in the metal industry. A member of many Jewish organizations, he was especially active on behalf of the State of Israel. In December 1963 his long-time friend President Lyndon B. *Johnson took part in the dedication of the newly erected synagogue of Novy's congregation, Agudas Achim in Austin, Texas, the first time a United States president ever helped dedicate a Jewish place of worship. In fact, Johnson may well have saved Novy's life 25 years earlier. In 1938, Novy was planning to take his son to Palestine to celebrate his bar-mitzvah and, on the way over, stop in Poland and Germany to visit relatives. But the first German-Czechoslovakian crisis had occurred and Nazism was on the rise, and Johnson, then a Congressman, warned Novy to try to get as many Jews as possible out of the two countries. To that end, as part of "Operation Texas," he supplied Novy with a letter of introduction to the diplomats in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and a large number of signed immigration papers. When he reached the embassy, Novy learned that Johnson had already called the consul and asked him to process the visas immediately. Forty-two Jews from Poland and Germany, including four of Novy's relatives, received the documents and safely fled Europe. Novy and his son went on to Paris, but Johnson tracked them down and insisted that they return to the U.S., as the second German-Czech crisis was imminent.
[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.