Obituaries for Feb. 8, 2018

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Sam Bloch, a leader of the Holocaust survivor community, dies at 94

Sam Bloch, a Holocaust survivor who committed much of his life to ensuring that the murder of millions of Jews would not be denied and the lives they led would not be forgotten, has died.


Bloch, who was an executive of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for 50 years, died Feb. 4. He was 94.

He was one of the principal organizers of historic survivor gatherings in Jerusalem, Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

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The New York Times published a lengthy article about Bloch and his family in 1981 as they prepared to attend the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem.

“Memory strengthens our humanity, makes us better persons to one another, to our children,” Bloch said in the article. “Maybe we don’t smile or laugh as others do, but we cherish our lives; they were so hard won.”


Bloch was a founder of Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People (then known as the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora) and served as chairman of the American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot and a member of its board of governors. For many years he was also a member of the board of directors of the American Section of the World Jewish Congress.

In addition, Bloch was a founding member of the International Society for Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance authority, and a founder of the American Friends of the IDF.

Bloch was born in Ivie, Poland, in what today is Belarus. He attended high school in Vilna, and was home on a school break when World War II broke out, according to information provided by his family. His father was murdered by the Einsatzgruppen Nazi mobile killing unit, and Bloch, his mother and brother escaped from the Jewish ghetto and hid first with Christian farmers and then in the woods. They later joined the Bielski partisan brigade and were able to survive the war.

He was the youngest leader of the Jewish committee that governed the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, the largest Jewish DP camp in Germany and a major center for the rehabilitation of 50,000 survivors of the Holocaust, as well as the flight and rescue operations in Europe that brought survivors to then-Palestine.

He met and married his wife of 69 years, Lilly Czaban, in the DP camp, from where they immigrated to the United States.
He published 30 volumes of Holocaust memoirs, history and poetry, in English, Hebrew and Yiddish editions, as editor of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Press, and edited numerous significant documentary volumes.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
—JTA News and Features

Jack R. Alexander
Jack R. Alexander, of Rockville, died Jan. 28. He was 97.
Born to David and Mary Abraham, Alexander was a native Washingtonian and graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School and the Georgetown University School of Dentistry. After serving as an Army officer and dentist during World War II, he opened a private dental practice in Washington that he ran for 50 years. Alexander was also a 70-year member of Woodmont Country Club in Rockville.

He was preceded in death by his son, Jackie, and his beloved wife Mary (nee Puglisi). He is survived by a niece, Maria Puglisi (Chris Herles) of New York City; nephews Robert Puglisi (Kathy) of Springfield, John Puglisi (Sarah) of Oxnard, Calif., Daniel Puglisi (Terri Clark) of Phoenix and many great-nephews and great-nieces.
Contributions can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Arrangements by Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.

Francine Fine Goldberg
Francine Fine Goldberg, of Bethesda, died Jan. 31 after a multi-year battle with cancer. She was 68.

Goldberg was born in 1949 in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Solomon Fine and Sylvia Reiter. She earned a degree in mathematics from Vassar College in May 1970 before marrying her husband Michael Goldberg one month later. After the two moved to San Francisco, she earned master’s degrees in engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, before taking a job at the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

She and her husband then moved to Bethesda, where she worked at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the areas of information technology and strategic planning for 39 years before retiring in 2015. She received the NRC’s Meritorious Service Award for her job performance.

She is survived by her husband, Michael; son David (Maricor Santiago); grandsons Joshua and Noah; sister-in-law Ceil Goldberg. Arrangements by Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.

Bernard Wassertzug
Bernard Wassertzug, of Rockville, died Feb. 1 after a brief illness. He was 82.

He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Buenos Aires before joining IBM, where he worked for 27 years in Israel and the United States.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Marta Wassertzug; children Uri (Elizabeth Field), Guy (Valerie Herman) and Deborah (Joshua Kantro); grandchildren Noah, Arielle, Danielle and Eli Wassertzug; and Jonah and Abraham Kantro.

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