Norwich Bulletin

NEW LONDON — Sigmund Strochlitz dedicated the later years of his life to making sure people across the nation and around the world would forever remember the Holocaust.

But it was Strochlitz’ turn to be remembered Tuesday, the day after the Holocaust survivor died after a long illness. He was 89.


“He was a remarkable man,” said Rae Gawendo, 91, of Norwich, also a Holocaust survivor. Gawendo knew Strochlitz through their mutual involvement in the Jewish Federation of Southeastern Connecticut. “He did so much. Mostly, he was always trying to remember the Holocaust. That was his aim, to spread around that people should know what happened.”

Strochlitz was a member of the United States Holocaust Commission, and later served on the United States Holocaust Council, which established the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was the first chairman of the Council’s Remembrance Committee, which established annual Holocaust commemorations in Washington, and in all 50 states, according to background provided by the University of Connecticut.

While Strochlitz’ reputation is international, he also is well known locally for his car dealership, Whaling City Ford in New London. In his commercials, his signature remark was, “Come in. I would like to meet you.”

Strochlitz was born in Bendezin, Poland, and studied economics at the University of Krakow until the outbreak of war in 1939. He survived 15 months in a concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, but nearly all of his extended family was murdered. After liberation, he married his late wife, Rose Grinberg Strochlitz, at the Bergen Belsen Displaced Persons Camp. They moved to the United States in the early 1950s.
‘Three worlds’

Jerry Fischer, executive director of the Jewish Federation, remarked on Strochlitz’ “three worlds.”

In his national and international life, not only did he work to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, but he worked with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel on other humanitarian issues. Wiesel is scheduled to give the eulogy atStrochlitz’ funeral at noon today at Congregation Beth El in New London.

Locally, he worked behind the scenes withthe Jewish Federation to resettle 350 Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union in the last 10-15 years in the region, helping them find jobs. But most remarkable, Fischer said, was his love for his wife and children.

Henny Simon, of Colchester, a Holocaust survivor, said she and Strochlitz were guest speakers at a function together.

“The survivors are dying out, that’s what it is,” she said. “He was one of our brethren.”