Leader of movement to remember Holocaust victims dies at 93

NEW YORK (AP) — Holocaust survivor Sam Bloch, who dedicated his life to preserving the memory of the victims of Nazi atrocities, has died at age 93.

He died of congestive heart failure on Feb. 4 at his home in New York, said his son-in-law, Menachem Rosensaft.

Bloch, who grew up in an area that was then Poland but is now part of Belarus, was 16 when his father was killed in a mass execution by Nazi forces in 1941. After taking shelter with a Polish farmer, Bloch joined a guerrilla brigade called the Bielski partisans, who hid in the woods and attacked German soldiers.

Bloch spent the years after the war’s end in 1945 at a displaced-persons camp at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

Moving to the U.S. in 1950, he became a leader of efforts to remember the Holocaust with museums, memorials and gatherings of survivors.

Bloch organized one of the first major reunions of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust to mark the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen in 1965. He was among the leaders of gatherings of thousands of survivors in Jerusalem in 1981 and in Washington, D.C., two years later.

In a speech at the U.S. Capitol on April 13, 1983, he said of the survivors of the Holocaust: “The belief in God, in tradition, in humanity, expressed in secret prayers, even in Auschwitz, kept broken spirits from losing their complete faith. This is resistance, too.”

Bloch was appointed chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council’s board of advisers in 1981 and was a founder of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

He spent more than 50 years working for the World Zionist Organization, where he served as director of publications.

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