Jack Rubin, who survived Auschwitz and three other death camps, passed away Monday, July 11. His family, friends, and fellow survivors are devastated, because Jack had been such a towering figure of strength in his life.
For the past 15 years, Jack was a determined, principled, and powerful advocate for the rights and well-being of Holocaust survivors. He never hesitated to speak his mind and speak the truth and did so often — to senators, congressmen, and others in power, including the vice president of the United States — in order to improve the lives of survivors, especially those in need.
Jack’s legacy is indelible. He attended every hearing and helped shape the landmark settlement in the Hungarian Gold Train case before Federal Judge Patricia Seitz, resulting in millions of dollars of extra assistance for Hungarian survivors. He testified in Congress for legislation to restore survivors’ rights to recover insurance policies owed by global giants such as Allianz and Generali, who exploited the Holocaust to dishonor policies they had sold to Jewish customers. Jack and other survivors felt justifiably betrayed by White House opposition and Congress’s failure to guarantee these basic rights.
Most recently, Jack testified in Congress about the suffering of tens of thousands of survivors living in poverty and unable to afford life-sustaining services. Citing decades of horrific funding shortages and the long-term effects of the German Nazi regime’s beatings, torture, starvation, death marches, and murder of loved ones, Jack urged Germany, at long last, to fulfill Chancellor Adenauer’s promise from the 1950s that modern Germany would provide for survivors “to their last breath.”
Thankfully, Jack lived to see the U.S. House of Representatives pass a resolution sponsored by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ted Deutch calling on Germany to provide funding for 100 percent of survivors’ medical, mental health, emergency, and long-term care needs, and to see a Senate measure (S.Con.Res. 46) by Sens. Bill Nelson, Susan Collins and Marco Rubio make gains toward passage. When Germany announced last week it would finally lift all caps for home care for survivors, Jack had a small sense of satisfaction that many survivors will get the proper level of desperately needed home care, as he had long advocated.
However, Jack was very disappointed that Germany refused to fund additional outreach for the poorest of the poor, or to guarantee full funding for emergency services such as medical care, medicines, dental care, hearing aids, utility payments, and food, which remain grossly underfunded. Those who care about the well-being of Holocaust survivors must honor Jack’s legacy by continuing to press Germany and all responsible officials to lift caps on funding for all medically prescribed services to Holocaust survivors, without one minute of further delay.
Our hearts go out to Jack’s beloved wife Shirley, his children Michael and Dori, David and Elise, and Lynn, and his four grandchildren, of whom he was very proud, and who all gave Jack their unqualified love and support in his tireless efforts on behalf of survivors everywhere.
Samuel J. Dubbin, Miami
Samuel J. Dubbin is counsel to the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA, of which Jack Rubin was an executive committee member. As the above letter was being written, the Senate passed S.Con.Res. 46 on July 14.