First rabbi to enter liberated Buchenwald dies
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First rabbi to enter liberated Buchenwald dies

Herschel Schachter, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents, was 95

Rabbi Herschel Schachter conducts services for Holocaust survivors on the Jewish festival of Shavuot, in the Buchenwald concentration camp, May 16, 1945. (Wikimedia Commons)
Rabbi Herschel Schachter conducts services for Holocaust survivors on the Jewish festival of Shavuot, in the Buchenwald concentration camp, May 16, 1945. (Wikimedia Commons)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi Herschel Schachter, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has died.

Schachter, the first US Army chaplain to enter and participate in the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp, died Thursday. He was 95.

Along with serving as chairman of the Presidents Conference from 1967 to 1969, he was president of the Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi, founding chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry and chairman of the Chaplaincy Commission of the Jewish Welfare Board. He also was director of rabbinic services at Yeshiva University.

Schachter, a student of the esteemed Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, served as rabbi of the Mosholu Jewish Center in the Bronx, NY, for more than 50 years.

“Rabbi Schachter was an exemplary leader who often spoke of his deep commitment to Jewish inclusiveness and unity,” Presidents Conference leaders Richard Stone and Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement Thursday.

Schachter led a Kindertransport from Buchenwald to Switzerland after World War II. In 1956, he was a member of the first rabbinic delegation to the USSR and escorted a transport of Hungarian refugees from Austria to the United States.

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