New York lawyer and Jewish community activist Menachem Z. Rosensaft is General Counsel Emeritus of the World Jewish Congress after serving as the organization’s General Counsel since 2009, and its Associate Executive Vice President since 2019.
Menachem Rosensaft received his J.D. degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1979, after receiving an M.A. degree from the Writing Seminars of Johns Hopkins University and a second M.A. in modern European history from Columbia. He teaches about the law of genocide and war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia and Cornell universities. After clerking for the Hon. Whitman Knapp, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, he was a securities and international litigator at several national law firms and an international bank, headed a foundation engaged in cultural activities in Central and Eastern Europe, and was general counsel of a major New York Stock Exchange financial services firm. In the latter capacity, he was instrumental in guiding the firm through a period of intense regulatory and governmental scrutiny, and implementing good governance practices.
The son of two survivors of the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, Rosensaft has long been a leader in Holocaust remembrance activities. He is the founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, and chairman of the Beirat der Stiftung niedersächsische Gedenkstätten (Advisory Council of the Foundation for Memorial Sites in Lower Saxony, Germany, including Bergen-Belsen). He served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 1994 to 2004 (appointed by President Bill Clinton), and from 2010 to 2020 (appointed by President Barack Obama). In June 2009, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Conference on Holocaust Era Restitution Issues in Prague. He is also a former national president of the Labor Zionist Alliance and a past president of the Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan.
A prolific writer, Rosensaft is the author of the critically acclaimed Poems Born in Bergen Belsen (Kelsay Books, 2021). He is the editor of The World Jewish Congress, 1936-2016 (WJC, April 2017), God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2015), and Life Reborn, Jewish Displaced Persons 1945-1951, (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2001), and co-author, with his daughter, Jodi Rosensaft, of “A Measure of Justice: The Early History of German-Jewish Reparations,” published as an Occasional Paper by the Leo Baeck Institute. He received the 2015 Dr. Bernard Heller Prize from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the 2003 Elie Wiesel Holocaust Remembrance Award of Israel Bonds. In July 2023, he was awarded an honorary PhD by the University of Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recognition of his “contribution to raising awareness of the genocide against Bosnians in Srebrenica and the Holocaust, through the fight against the denial of crimes and the falsification of historical facts, and for contributing to peace building and the development of a culture of remembrance.”