NEW YORK (JTA) — Holocaust survivor leader Noach Flug, who in his younger days was part of the Lodz Ghetto underground, died in Israel at the age of 86.
Flug became a leading advocate for the rights of Holocaust survivors in his later years. Serving as chairman of the Center for Organizations of Holocaust Survivors, he organized his fellow survivors to directly lobby the German government for restitution. Flug believed that survivors should work in their own interests and not rely on politicians or trustees to work for them.
"Not in our name and not without us," he once said.
Flug also served on the boards of the Claims Conference, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, the International Auschwitz Committee and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
In 2006, Germany awarded Flug the country’s Grand Cross of the Order of Merit for "decades-long work on behalf of survivors of the Holocaust and his tireless efforts to promote understanding between Jews and non-Jews and between Israel and Germany."
Flug was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1925. Forced into the city’s Jewish ghetto in 1940, he joined its underground while serving as forced labor. He was deported to Birkenau in 1944 and was transferred to other concentration camps until liberation by American troops.
After the war he stayed in Poland until 1958, when he moved to Israel with his wife and two daughters, working as an economist and diplomat.
Flug, who died Thursday at a Jerusalem hospital, is survived by his wife, Dorota, two daughters and four grandchildren.