Zachariah Shuster Dead at 83

Funeral services were held Monday for Zachariah Shuster, a director of the American Jewish Committee’s European office for some 25 years, who died here last Saturday night of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital. He was 83 years old and lived in Manhattan.

Born in Poland, Shuster came to the United States in 1927 and began to work for the AJC during World War II. In 1945, he was a member of the AJC delegation to the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco.

In 1948, he became the director of the AJC European office in Paris, from where he directed programs to aid Jewish communities decimated by the Holocaust. Fluent in seven languages and with a formidable knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, Shuster represented the AJC at the Second Vatican Council in 1962.

He remained head of the AJC’s Europe office until 1974, after which he became a consultant. He returned to the U.S. in 1981 and continued to advise the AJC on European affairs and relations with the Vatican and the World Council of Churches.

Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, director of the AJC’s international relations department, described Shuster as “a moral giant among Jewish professionals… Zach Shuster gave 40 years of brilliant and dedicated service to world Jewry, and to the cause of human rights and Jewish-Christian understanding.” On Monday, March 17, a memorial service for Shuster will be held at the AJC’s headquarters in New York.

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