Menachem Z. Rosensaft is General Counsel Emeritus of the World Jewish Congress (WJC). 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. He was appointed general counsel of the WJC in 2009 and became the organization’s associate executive vice president in 2019, serving in both positions until August 31, 2023.
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, chairs the Advisory Council of the Foundation for Memorial Sites in Lower Saxony, Germany, and is a past president of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City.
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 served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 1994 to 2004 (appointed by President Bill Clinton), and from 2010 to 2020 (appointed by President Barack Obama). In June 2009, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Conference on Holocaust Era Restitution Issues in Prague.
In July 2023, he was awarded an honorary PhD by the University of Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recognition of his "contribution to raising awareness of the genocide against Bosnians in Srebrenica and the Holocaust, through the fight against the denial of crimes and the falsification of historical facts, and for contributing to peace building and the development of a culture of remembrance."A prolific writer, he is the author of Poems Born in Bergen-Belsen (Kelsay Books, 2021) and editor of God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes, Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors (Jewish Lights Publishing). He has contributed articles to numerous publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Just Security, Ha’aretz, and Tablet Magazine. He is also the editor of Life Reborn, Jewish Displaced Persons 1945-1951 (U.S. 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).