Henry Leopold - Founder
Henry parent’s and their families lived for many generations in Germany. Henry was born in
Frankfurt am Main, Germany and lived in Dusseldorf. His father was a German Airborne officer in World War I, belonging to a cadre of Jewish Flyers and flew many missions over France. His Family emigrated to the United States in 1938.
Upon graduating from High School, Henry served in the US Army as an interpreter, as he is completely bilingual.
He married Joyce Himelhoch in 1951. Henry became active in the HFL in 1966, the longest serving member of the Board. He has held every office and was president from 1978-1980. He became interested because his parents since many of their contemporary refugees friends made use of HFL. He started many loan programs, direct deduction for employees of Jewish organizations, loans for parents for religious schools so that tuition could be paid in full at the beginning of the school year with the parents paying back semi monthly; Resettlement for Iranians and Russians, where HFL obtained a one million dollar line of credit from United Jewish Charities, the umbrella of JWF, the Neighborhood Project which we became aware of during a meeting with Jerry Frankel of Cleveland which HFL did in concert with the entire Jewish Community.
Henry’s business was Store Fixtures, Display and Decorations, and he became an importer having distribution in the major cities which gave him national insight of HFL’s then operating. During his many meetings with Julius Blackman and Jerry Frankel they decided to proceed with a national hookup. With a nucleus of 4 or five HFL’s decided to meet in Minneapolis .They formed the AHFL of which Henry was the founding president of volunteers and Julius Blackman was counterpart for the professionals. They found that the needs of all the cities were the same, the only difference was the zip code. They exchanged information, collected on loans where borrowers moved to another city, established a website, and had yearly conferences.
They helped establish many satellite offices in member cities, published a book of instructions “How to Establish A Free Loan”, visited new members and taught about Boards, Interviews and Tax Exemptions.
Henry and Joyce now split their time, six months in Michigan and six months in Florida. Henry continues to serve on the HFLA Detroit Board as well as the HFLSF doing interviews of borrowers and trainin new Board members for both. In his spare time, he volunteers and does translations of correspondence for Jewish Welfare Federation and their attorneys, from German authorities to survivors of Holocaust and Ghettos, so that these people can collect pensions they are entitled to for forced labor and health.