Abraham Judah Klausner (1915 - 2007) MP

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Nicknames: "Abe", "Abraham Klausner"
Place of Burial: Rancho Mirage, Riverside County, California, United States
Birthplace: Memphis, Shelby, TN, USA
Death: Died in Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
Managed by: Robert Paul Tinkelman
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Abraham Judah Klausner

Abraham Judah Klausner (April 27, 1915 – June 28, 2007) was a Reform rabbi and United States Army captain and chaplain who became a “father figure” for the more than 30,000 emaciated survivors found at Dachau Concentration Camp, 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Munich, shortly after it was liberated on April 29, 1945. He also cared for thousands more left homeless in camps as the victorious Allied Forces determined where they should go.

Abraham Judah Klausner was born in Memphis, Tennessee on April 27, 1915, one of five children of Joseph Klausner, a Hungarian immigrant who owned a dry goods store, and Tillie Binstalk Klausner, an Austrian immigrant. He was raised in Denver, Colorado and graduated from the University of Denver in 1938 and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1941.

Following ordination, Klausner joined the army and served as a chaplain at the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Klausner eventually shipped out to Germany and was assigned to join the 116th Evacuation Hospital, which had just entered Dachau.

Klausner's work on behalf of Holocaust survivors has been included in all major historical records of the period. Rabbi Klausner worked to find the 32,000 survivors bedding and food, including kosher provisions. He also worked to put together lists of survivors at Dachau and made sure that these lists, which he called shearit ha’pleita or surviving remnant, were posted at other camps. Klausner eventually published six volumes of the shearit ha’pleita lists and distributed them worldwide. He traveled throughout Bavaria looking for survivors, helping to reunite families and setting up a center for survivors at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. His own memoir includes experiences unique to his time in Germany.

After the establishment of the State of Israel, Klausner left the military and began recruiting pilots and nurses for the Israeli Defense Forces in the United States. He became Provost of the Hebrew Union College in 1949 and was the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in Boston from 1949-1953. During this time, Klausner also earned a Doctorate in Divinity at Harvard University.

He was featured in the 1997 Academy Award-winning documentary about Holocaust survivors in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of the concentration camps, The Long Way Home.

In 1966, Klausner married Judith Steinberg and adopted two children from Steinberg's previous marriage (Robin and Michael). He and Steinberg also two children of their own, sons Jeremy and Amos. He was the rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Yonkers from 1954 until his retirement in 1989 when he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Abraham Klausner died June 28, 2007 of complications from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 92.

Apart from his book about the Holocaust, Klausner wrote four books including Weddings: A Complete Guide to all Religious and Interfaith Marriage Services published in 1986.

Links

Bibliography

  1. Klausner, Abraham J. (1974). A child’s prayer book for the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Yonkers, New York: Emanu-El Press. LCCN 76373093.
  2. Klausner, Abraham J. (1978). Kodesh: The history, art & artifacts of Temple Emanu-El, Yonkers, New York. Temple Emanu-El. ASIN B0006WWLUY.
  3. Klausner, Abraham J. (1986). Weddings : a complete guide to all religious and interfaith marriage services. Columbus, Ohio: Alpha Pub. Co. ISBN 0-933771-00-2.
  4. Klausner, Abraham J. (2002). A Letter to My Children: From the Edge of the Holocaust. Holocaust Center of Northern California. ISBN 0-9718695-0-2.

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Rabbi Dr. Abraham Klausner's Timeline

1915
April 27, 1915
Memphis, Shelby, TN, USA
2007
June 28, 2007
Age 92
Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
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Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States