Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Samuel Pisar, Aide to JFK, Dies at 86

Samuel Pisar, a Holocaust survivor who went to become a lawyer and writer, as well as an adviser to President John F. Kennedy, has died.

Pisar, 86, died Monday in New York, it was announced Tuesday. _ A native of Poland, Pisar spent time in several Nazi camps, including Majdanek, Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen and Dachau. He escaped during a death march at the end of World War II.

After the war he earned a doctorate in law from Harvard University. He also was awarded a doctorate from the Sorbonne in France.

Pisar was the founder of Yad Vashem France. He also wrote an award-winning memoir, “Of Blood and Hope,” about how he survived the Holocaust.

Pisar became a member of Kennedy’s economic and foreign policy task force in 1960, and also served as an adviser to the State Department.

Vice President Joe Biden in a statement said that Pisar’s “success as a lawyer and statesman were only surpassed by the courage he showed in speaking of his Holocaust experience. He confronted not only the brutality of his experience but the person he had to become to survive.”

Biden, who noted that Pisar was the stepfather of Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, added that Pisar’s book should be “required reading. It stands as a strong reminder for every generation of our ongoing obligation to never forget.”

Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement called Pisar “a man of enormous resilience and inspiring courage.”

“We draw strength from the knowledge that the tradition of Samuel Pisar’s dedication to service and commitment to justice and truth is being carried on by his stepson every day of the year,” Kerry said.

Roger Cukierman, president of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, in a statement issued Tuesday called Pisar “a wonderful man who was admired by all,” and a “friend.”


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.