Prof. Arno Lustiger
Prof. Arno Lustiger Photo by AP
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BERLIN - Arno Lustiger, a Holocaust survivor and historian who put a spotlight on Jewish resistance against the Nazis, died on Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany, aged 88.

Lustiger's "greatest contribution for all time" was in "rescuing from oblivion the story of Jewish resistance in the Shoah," Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lustiger, a native of Bendzin, survived six concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Buchenwald. His father and brother were murdered.

In April 1945, Lustiger escaped a death march and was rescued by U.S. soldiers. He and his mother and sisters ended up in a displaced persons camp in Frankfurt. After his plans to go to America fell through he remained in Frankfurt, where he helped build the postwar Jewish community and a successful women's fashion business.

He sold the business in the 1980s to focus on academic work, for which he received international praise. From 2004 to 2006 he was a guest professor at the Fritz Bauer Institute, the Frankfurt-based study and documentation center on the Holocaust. Among his contributions are works on Jewish volunteers fighting against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, on Stalin's persecution of Jews and on non-Jewish rescuers and Jewish heroism during World War II.

In "Fighting to the Death," Lustiger vehemently countered the common notion that Jews went "like sheep to the slaughter."

In 2007 Lustiger famously said Kaddish at the funeral in Paris of his cousin, French Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who had converted to Catholicism in Nazi-occupied France.

In 2005, addressing the German Parliament on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Lustiger warned that today's anti-Semitism often comes in the guise of exaggerated criticism of Israel.