Elan Steinberg, the former World Jewish Congress executive vice president who helped lead efforts to obtain restitution for properties stolen during the Holocaust, has died.
Steinberg, 59, died in New York on Friday after a brief struggle with cancer, said Menachem Rosensaft, who, like Steinberg, is a vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.
Steinberg helped lead efforts in the 1990s that led Swiss banks, European governments and other entities to compensate victims of the Holocaust and their descendants.
He left the WJC in 2004 in the midst of an internal battle subsequent to reports of mismanagement of funds at the organziation.
Steinberg was seen as allied with Isi Liebler, then the WJC's senior vice president. Liebler had spearheaded efforts to uncover the wrongdoing but was isolated because he was also believed to be attempting to take over the organization from its then chairman, Edgar Bronfman, who was not implicated in the wrongdoing.
"Elan was a passionate advocate for the Jewish people, for the State of Israel, and for any Jew anywhere in the world who was persecuted or threatened," Rosensaft said in a statement. "His brilliant mind and his great heart have no equal and are irreplaceable. He died tragically all too young, and the entire Jewish community is orphaned today."
He is survived by his wife Sharon, his sons Max and Harry, his daughter Lena, and his brother Alex.