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Holocaust survivor Judge Thomas Buergenthal dies at age 89

The World Jewish Congress described him as “one of the preeminent jurists and human-rights law experts of our time.”

Thomas Buergenthal. Credit: Lybil BER via Wikimedia Commons.

Judge Thomas Buergenthal, a survivor of Auschwitz who served from 2000 to 2010 as a judge on the International Court of Justice in The Hague, died on May 29. He was 89 years old.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, the World Jewish Congress’s general counsel and associate executive vice president, called Buergenthal part of “that unique group of young Holocaust survivors who dedicated their lives to combating the evils of bigotry and hatred to which they and their families had been so cruelly subjected.”

Rosensaft ranked Buegenthal among “other giants like Elie Wiesel and Abe Foxman,” and described the judge as “fearless in standing up for the human rights of all victims of persecution, oppression and crimes against humanity.”

Buergenthal was also an academic, serving as the Lobingier Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School.

Goettingen, the German city where Buergenthal lived, said that he “tirelessly dedicated himself to reconciliation and for human rights his entire life.”

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