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Meta Pollak Bettman

April 19, 1880–August 18, 1955

by Oliver B. Pollak

In Brief

Meta Pollack Bettman spent her life volunteering for Jewish and civic causes. Bettman was a founder and an officer of the St. Louis section of the National Council of Jewish Women and served on its national board of directors. During World War II, she worked with European refugees. She also volunteered for a variety of local civic organizations, including the Missouri Association for Criminal Justice, the St. Louis Women’s Symphony Committee, the St. Louis League of Women Voters, the Red Cross, the Clothing Bureau of the Citizen’s Committee on Relief and Unemployment, and the local school board.


Meta Pollak Bettman was an untiring volunteer in Jewish and civic causes. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 19, 1880, one of five children—three brothers and a sister—to Emil and Carrie (Benjamin) Pollak. Her father, born in Vienna in 1846, immigrated to America in 1865. His business ventures included a grocery store, jobbing crockery, and a scrap iron and steel company. Meta attended Cincinnati High School and did postgraduate work in languages, art, music, philosophy, and history. She married Irvin Bettman, a clothing manufacturer, on April 2, 1903. They had two sons and a daughter.

Bettman was one of the founders and, for many years, an officer of the St. Louis Section of the National Council Of Jewish Women and served on the national board of directors. She was active during World War II, providing training for refugees from Nazi-dominated countries. She participated in civic affairs for the Missouri Association for Criminal Justice, St. Louis Women’s Symphony Committee, St. Louis League of Women Voters, Red Cross, Clothing Bureau of Citizens Committee on Relief and Unemployment, and Citizens School Board Committee.

On August 18, 1955, Meta Pollak Bettman died at age seventy-five in St. Louis, Missouri, after a long illness.


AJYB 58:475.

BEOAJ; Obituary. NYTimes, August 20, 1955, 17:4.

Pollak, Emil. Papers. AJA; Rogow, Faith. Gone to Another Meeting: The National Council of Jewish Women, 1893–1993 (1993).

WWIAJ (1926, 1938).

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How to cite this page

Pollak, Oliver B.. "Meta Pollak Bettman." Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. 31 December 1999. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 3, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/bettman-meta-pollak>.