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Bent Melchior


We mourn the loss of Rabbi Bent Melchior, longtime pillar of the Humanity in Action community, who passed away in July 2021. Read Humanity in Action Founder and Executive Director Judith Goldstein’s words about her beloved friend here. The commemorative post by the Danish team can be found here

Bent Melchior was born in Germany in 1929 to Danish parents and in 1933 his family moved back to Denmark. At the age of 14, Melchior escaped from the Nazis during the German occupation of Denmark and lived as a refugee in Sweden from 1943 – 1945. The animated short film Voices in the Void follows his family’s story during World War II. He later became Chief Rabbi of Denmark 1970 – 1996. Melchior became the first and only honorary member of the Danish Refugee Council 2008 and was an associate professor in Classical Hebrew literature at the University of Copenhagen from 1971 to 1984. Additionally Melchior has translated the Five Books of Moses to Danish in the period from 1977 – 1987 and acted as the President for B’nai B’rith Europe from 1993 – 1999. Melchior has written numerous articles and books on issues relating to religion, Judaism and refugees and continued to be an outspoken advocate for the rights and conditions of refugees in Denmark. Melchior served as chairman of the board of the recently founded organization “Brobyggerne” (Bridge Builders), which he co-founded with former member of Danish Parliament Özlem Cekic. 

Updated August 2021

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