Zelman, Leon 1928–2007

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Zelman, Leon 1928–2007


See index for CA sketch: Born June 12, 1928, in Szczekociny, Poland; died July 11, 2007. Information officer, newspaper editor, executive, and author. In 1945 Zelman was liberated from a Nazi detention camp as an emaciated, tubercular teenager who had lost both parents and his brother to the Holocaust. Somehow he recovered his health, earned a doctorate at the University of Vienna, and spent the rest of his life working on behalf of other displaced Jews and Holocaust survivors. Zelman cofounded the newspaper Das Judische Echo in 1951, while he was still a university student; he later became the editor in chief. In 1963 he joined the Austrian National Travel Agency in Vienna, where his assignment was to promote immigration to Austria from the State of Israel and to encourage travel between the two countries. He then established the Jewish Welcome Service in 1978 to help Israeli immigrants settle into the city of Vienna by providing financial assistance as needed and by hosting tours and lectures about daily living in Austria. He was particularly concerned, according to some reports, about allaying the reluctance and fears of those Austrian Jews who were returning to a place that they had once left in a state of terror and panic. Zelman wrote a book about his own Holocaust experience in 1995 with the assistance of coauthor Armin Thurnher. The English translation appeared as After Survival: One Man's Mission in the Cause of Memory, in 1998.



Zelman, Leon, and Armin Thurnher, After Survival: One Man's Mission in the Cause of Memory, Holmes & Meier (New York, NY), 1998.


Times (London, England), July 30, 2007, p. 46.