Menachem Z. Rosensaft received his B.A. degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1971, together with an M.A. degree from the Writing Seminars. He received an M.A. degree in modern European history from Columbia University in 1975, and received his J.D. degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1979. After clerking for two years for the Hon. Whitman Knapp, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, he was a litigator at several New York law firms and an international bank, headed a foundation engaged in cultural activities in Central and Eastern Europe, and was General Counsel of a major financial services firm in New York. The son of two survivors of the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, he was born in the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen-Belsen in 1948. He is the Founding Chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Holocaust Survivors' Memoirs Project, a joint publishing endeavor with Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. He is also Vice President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, a former National President of the Labor Zionist Alliance, and Honorary President of the Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan.
On May 5, 1985, he organized and led a demonstration at Bergen-Belsen in protest against visits that day by President Ronald Reagan and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to the mass-graves of Bergen-Belsen and the German military cemetery at Bitburg. In April 1987, he played a key role in convincing the government of Panama not to give sanctuary to Nazi war criminal Karl Linnas, and in ensuring Linnas's deportation from the United States to the Soviet Union. In December 1988, he was one of five American Jews who met in Stockholm, Sweden, with senior leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization, resulting in the PLO's first public recognition of Israel. He was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by President Bill Clinton in 1994, reappointed to a second five-year term in 1999, and served on the Council's Executive Committee from 1996 until 2003. In September 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Rosensaft to a third term on the Council.
He has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Jerusalem Post, the Huffington Post, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, the Fordham International Law Journal, Jewish Social Studies, the New York Law Journal, The National Law Journal and other publications. He is the editor of Life Reborn, Jewish Displaced Persons 1945-1951, published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., 2001; co-editor, with Professor Yehuda Bauer, of Antisemitism: Threat to Western Civilization, published by the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1988; and co-author, with his daughter, Jodi Rosensaft, of "A Measure of Justice: The Early History of German-Jewish Reparations," published as an Occasional Paper by the Leo Baeck Institute (November, 2003).