Zionist Leader Kalman Sultanik Dies at 97

Former fighter of the resistance against the Nazis and concentration camp survivor, Kalman Sultanik served for decades as leader in the Jewish World Congress.

Reuters / Haaretz Archive

Zionist leader Kalman Sultanik, who for decades served as a leader in the World Jewish Congress, has died.

Sultanik, who was also a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and president of the Federation of Polish Jews, died Sunday in New York at the age of 97. Born in Miechow, Poland in 1917, Sultanik was a Jewish community and Zionist activist prior to World War II. During the war he was part of the underground resistance against the Nazis and spent time in several concentration camps. He was sent on the death march to Theresienstadt, from where he was liberated in 1945.

Sultanik was a delegate to the 22nd World Zionist Congress in Basel in 1946, representing the survivors of the death and concentration camps in Germany. In 1947, he was elected to the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in Munich.

He was named secretary general of the General Zionist Constructive Fund in 1948. The following year, he became secretary general of the World Confederation of General Zionists in Israel, and became the director of the organization in 1952.

The Polish government in 1988 appointed him to a seat on the International Auschwitz Museum Council, where he served as deputy chairman. As chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of the Auschwitz Museum, he raised some $30 million from European governments for the upkeep of the site. He was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Poland Reborn in 1995.

Screenshot of Kalman Sultanik from http://en.auschwitz.org/.

Sultanik was a member of the World Zionist Executive for many years representing the World Confederation of United Zionists. For four decades he served on the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and was chairman of the American Section of the World Zionist Organization.