We are saddened to learn of the death of Samuel Pisar: a tireless defender of human rights.

Samuel Pisar was born into a Jewish family in Poland in 1929. During the Nazi occupation he was sent to a series of camps, including Auschwitz and Dachau. He was among the youngest of those who survived the Holocaust; his parents and sister were among the millions who perished. After the war, with the help of relatives in France and Australia, he resumed his education, earning a degree at the University of Melbourne, and later doctorates at Harvard and the Sorbonne. He worked at the United Nations and as a foreign policy advisor to President Kennedy, and then for decades as an international lawyer of renown, with a global practice and many high-profile clients.

A human rights fellowship in Samuel Pisar’s honour was recently established at Oxford, funded by a generous donation from Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing. The Samuel Pisar Travelling Fellowship in Human Rights will provide support each year for an Oxford graduate student to undertake human rights related work in a developing country. The first fellowship was awarded this month to Elena Butti, a DPhil student at Oxford, who will intern at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), in Bogota, Colombia, where she will work in the reparations section providing advice on the complex reparations process in Colombia, focusing on the rights of children. The fellowship will provide a continuing means to commemorate Samuel Pisar and his life of scholarship, advocacy and service.

To learn more about Samuel Pisar’s extraordinary life, please visit the Oxford Human Rights Hub website.