Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Jerzy Kluger (1921-2011)

A Polish Jewish businessman, a lifelong close friend of Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II), who spent his final years living in Rome, died on December 31 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 90 years old. He is preceded by a daughter, Leslie Kluger, who died earlier that year. He leaves behind his wife, Irene, a second daughter, a grandchild, and two great-grandchildren.

Kluger was the source of a volume of correspondence with John Paul II entitled Letter to a Jewish Friend: The Simple and Extraordinary Story of Pope John Paul II and His Jewish School Friend, compiled by Gian Franco Svidercoschi in 1995. His friendship with the Polish pope was instrumental in the latter's efforts to further Catholic-Jewish relations.

May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified
    in the world that He created as He willed.
May He give reign to His kingship
    in your lifetimes and in your days,
And in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel,
    swiftly and soon ...

The Washington Post carries his obituary. The New York Times also has an interesting piece on Kluger from 1998.

(H/T to Michelle Arnold.)

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