Abraham Klausner, advocate for Holocaust survivors, dies at 92

Monday, July 2, 2007

SANTA FE, New Mexico: Abraham Klausner, a leading advocate for Holocaust survivors, has died. He was 92. 

Klausner, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, died Thursday at his Santa Fe home, said his wife, Judith. 

He was the first Jewish chaplain in the U.S. Army to enter the Dachau concentration camp after it was liberated in 1945, his wife said. 

He collected and published lists of Holocaust survivors in volumes called Sharit ha-Platah, or Surviving Remnant. He filled the top floor of a Berlin museum with his work trying to reconnect children of the Holocaust to their families, she said. 

"He saved the lives of thousands of Jewish survivors and brought them together as much as he could with any families that would still be alive," Judith Klausner said. 

Abraham Klausner authored a book on the survivors of the Holocaust, including those from the camp at Dachau. He also was featured in an Academy Award-winning documentary, "The Long Way Home." 

Klausner and his wife retired in Santa Fe and held annual Hanukkah parties until 10 years ago, when the rabbi was diagnosed with Parkinson's. 

Klausner received many commendations for his service in the Army as a chaplain. His son, Jeremy, shared a letter from Philip Bernstein, adviser to the theater commander on Jewish affairs. 

"You took broken human beings and fragments of Jewish life and built them into a community," Bernstein wrote. "You gave these people dignity and purpose. Perhaps you have made history." 

Klausner was born in 1915 and attended the University of Denver and, later, Hebrew Union College. 

He was the leader of Temple Emanu-El in Yonkers, New York, for about 25 years, until he retired in 1989. 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu