Menachem Z. Rosensaft
Lecturer in Law
Menachem Z. Rosensaft, is General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress. He is also Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, and Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Syracuse University College of Law.
Born on May 1, 1948 in the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen-Belsen, the son of two survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, he has long been a leader in Holocaust remembrance activities. On September 22, 2010, President Obama appointed him to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He was previously a member of the Council for two terms, from 1994 to 2004, and served on its Executive Committee. 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 Vice President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Holocaust Survivors' Memoirs Project, a joint publishing endeavor with Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and Founding Chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. He is also a former National President of the Labor Zionist Alliance, and was President of the Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan from 2003 until 2008.
On May 5, 1985, he organized and led a demonstration at the mass-graves of the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in protest against visits that day by President Ronald Reagan and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to Bergen-Belsen and the German military cemetery at Bitburg. In April 1987, he played a key role in convincing the government of Panama not to give sanctuary to Nazi war criminal Karl Linnas, and in ensuring Linnas’ deportation from the United States to the Soviet Union. In December 1988, he was one of five American Jews who met in Stockholm, Sweden, with senior leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization, resulting in the PLO’s first public recognition of Israel.
He 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. 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.
He is the editor of Life Reborn, Jewish Displaced Persons 1945-1951, published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and co-author, with his daughter, Jodi Rosensaft, of A Measure of Justice: The Early History of German-Jewish Reparations, published in the Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 25, Symposium (2001), as well as an Occasional Paper by the Leo Baeck Institute. He has contributed articles to numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, The Jerusalem Post, The National Law Journal, the New York Law Journal, and The Jewish Week. He writes a monthly column for the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.