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Louis Kahn

KAHN, LOUIS (1895–1967), French general and naval engineer. Born in Versailles, Kahn commanded a battery in World War I and was wounded twice. After the war, he graduated as a maritime engineer and helped construct the first modern French cruisers. Head of the technical department of the Air Force Ministry between 1928 and 1938, he discovered a new method of cartographic projection, well-known to air navigators as the "transcontinental orthodromic itineraries." He also participated in the design of modern aircraft carriers. In 1940 Kahn was dismissed from the French Navy by the Vichy government (see *France: Holocaust Period). He escaped to London where, as director of naval construction with the Free French, he introduced new techniques of submarine warfare. After the liberation, Kahn was put in charge of the reconstruction of industrial equipment and was responsible for coordinating the operations of refloating 1,400,000 tons of scuttled ships to reestablish navigation. In 1950 he was appointed secretary-general of the armed forces by Jules *Moch, then minister of national defense. Parallel to his military and naval career, Kahn always took an active part in Jewish cultural and communal affairs. He presided over the "Chema Israel" Jewish cultural association from 1925, and, after the liberation, drew up with Edmond *Fleg the manifesto of the Alliance Israélite *Universelle. From 1963, Kahn was president of the Central *Consistory of French Jews, deputy president of Alliance Israélite, and vice president of *Ort.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.