On the Passing of Samuel Pisar

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 28, 2015


Teresa and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Samuel Pisar, the stepfather of Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and a man of enormous resilience and inspiring courage. A native of Poland, Samuel's parents and younger sister were killed during the Holocaust while he survived imprisonment in Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps before escaping what his Nazi captors intended to be a death march.

From that perilous beginning, Samuel went on to a highly successful career in law and public service, working for the United Nations in New York and Paris and becoming an adviser on economics and foreign policy to President John F. Kennedy. His memoir, Of Blood and Hope, earned a number of literary awards and will stand forever as testimony to humankind's greatest confrontation with evil.

Today, the thoughts and prayers of the entire State Department family are with Tony, his wife Evan, and all of Samuel's loved ones including his wife Judith and his daughters Leah, Alexandra, and Helaina. We draw strength from the knowledge that the tradition of Samuel Pisar's dedication to service and commitment to justice and truth is being carried on by his stepson every day of the year.