Anti-apartheid activist Helen Suzman dies


(JTA) — Helen Suzman, who campaigned tirelessly against apartheid as a member of South Africa’s parliament, has died.

Suzman, who died on Thursday, was 91.

Known for her sharp tongue and capacity for oratory, Suzman served in parliament for 36 years, 13 as the only representative of her Progressive Party, the only party to oppose apartheid, before stepping down in 1989. Fellow lawmakers often called for her to "Go back to Moscow" or "Go back to Israel" during parliament sessions.

She frequently visited black political prisoner Nelson Mandela in prison and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize. When South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994, marking the end of apartheid, she was tapped to serve as an election commissioner.

Suzman was born in South Africa in 1917 to a Jewish Lithuanian immigrant couple, Samuel and Frieda Gavronsky. Her mother died two weeks later and her father later remarried. She is survived by two daughters.

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