On Monday, Professor Menachem Rosensaft, who was born in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp, was appointed chairman of the Advisory Board of the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation. Although the Foundation maintains contact with over 100 survivors on account of the specific history of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, this is the first time that the chair will not be held by a survivor. This also represents a shift in perspective between the first generation of survivors and the view of subsequent generations.
Professor Rosensaft is associate executive vice president and general counsel of the World Jewish Congress. He teaches about the law of genocide at the law schools of Columbia and Cornell universities. Rosensaft represents the World Federation of Bergen-Belsen Associations on the Advisory Board and said that he wants to actively and constructively guide the orientation of the Foundation. He emphasized that ‘the Advisory Board will make its voice heard more in the future and will contribute to discussions of substance’.
Dr Elke Gryglewski, Director of both the Foundation and the Bergen-Belsen Memorial, pointed out that Professor Rosensaft has already supported the Foundation’s work for many years and said, ‘Menachem Rosensaft is an experienced and dedicated ally of democracy and memory culture, and I look forward to working with him’.
New representatives of other associations were also appointed to the Advisory Board. The association of Polish survivors of Bergen-Belsen is now represented by Leszek Wieciech, and the survivors’ association in Israel is represented by Arie Olewski, both of them also sons of Bergen-Belsen survivors.
Two articles by the journalist Heidi Kingstone have been published on Menachem Rosensaft's personal background and the motivation for his committed participation in the work of the foundation:
Never again? The legacy of Belsen (The Article, 20th May 2022)
Discussing Genocide at Bergen-Belsen (Newsweek, 27th May 2022)