11 August 2011
Noach Flug, the Polish-born Holocaust survivor and long-time president of the International Auschwitz Committee and the Center of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, died Thursday at the age of 86 at Shaare Zedek Hospital. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder called him a “towering figure in the struggle for the rights of Holocaust survivors.” The WJC president declared: “Noach Flug was an extraordinary figure. Despite the terrible suffering he endured during Holocaust, and the loss of most of his family, Noach still found the strength, dignity and determination to lead the fight for compensation, restitution and, above all, for justice. His diplomatic skills, his modest and his perseverance helped hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors to obtain at least a modest measure of material justice. Noach will be sorely missed, but his memory will always serve as an inspiration.”
Born in Lodz, Poland, in 1925, Noach Flug was forced to move with his family to city’s Jewish ghetto in 1940, following the German invasion of Poland. Following years of forced labor, he was deported to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, where over a hundred members of his family were murdered, and was later transferred to the Gross-Rosen, Mauthausen and Ebense camps. Flug was liberated in Ebense by American troops only days before the end of the World War II.
After the war, he finished secondary school and studied economics in Lodz and Warsaw. In 1958, Flug settled in Israel together with his wife and two daughters, and worked as an economist and an Israeli diplomat. After his retirement he became a leading advocate for the rights of Holocaust survivors. Among other things, he was a member of the Board of Yad Vashem and general-secretary of the World Jewish Restitution Organization. For the past nine years, he headed the Center of Holocaust Survivors in Israel and was president of the International Auschwitz Committee. Flug was also an active member of the Claims Conference and took part in negotiations for the restitution of looted Jewish property and compensation for forced and slave laborers.
In 2006, he was awarded Germany‘s highest order of merit by President Horst Köhler for decades of service on behalf of Holocaust survivors and his work in improving mutual understanding between Jews and non-Jews and between Israel and Germany. Flug was also decorated by the Polish government.
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