Henry Bane

Judge Henry Bane 5/13/1904-10/31/1998

Family: Parents were Benjamin and Sarah Bane; brother Samuel

Henry Bane was born in Lithuania and his parents immigrated to the United States several years later. They arrived in Durham following the footsteps of an uncle whol rolled cigarettes in the Duke factory in the 1880's. He went quickly through the Durham public schools; he was promoted from third grade to fourth grade in a week despite his immigrant background. He graduated from Duke University in 1927 and from the UNC Law School in 1930.

Judge Bane was active in the legal community. He designed Durham's Recorder's Court which founded small claims and was its first judge. He also argued in front of the state Supreme Court.

Judge Bane was active in the Jewish community as well. He was a founder of Pente, the first Jewish fraternity at Duke, so named because there were only 5 Jewish male students on campus. He served as president of the local and state B'nai Brith. He was frequently called upon to combat anti-semitic prejudice on campus and in the courts and served as president of Beth El Synagogue.

Bane in the 1940's interceded with the United States government to bring Professor Raphael Lemkin of Poland to the United States and helped to secure Professor Lemkin a position at Duke. It was a significant action. Lemkin later coined the term "genocide", and authored the Genocide Convention adopted by the United States.