“He died this morning. He was surrounded by his family,” his daughter Agnès Buzyn, former Minister of Health, told AFP. “He felt unwell yesterday (Sunday) evening just after a testimonial conference, where he was with young people to pass the baton, a conference, which was very moving, very upsetting, which touched him a lot, “said she added.
This native of Poland, survivor of the Auschwitz camp, had settled in France in 1956. After the war, he was silent for a long time, like many other survivors. But later, he never stopped working to transmit the memory of the Shoah; by telling his terrible story at conferences or by accompanying several of his grandchildren as well as school groups to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
“Since we are going to disappear shortly, I charge you to become witnesses to the witnesses that we are,” he said in 2018, in front of the younger generations he accompanied on a trip organized by the Chief Rabbi of France Haïm. Korsia.
In January again, the one who was an orthopedic surgeon, was alongside Jean Castex, then Prime Minister, on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi camps. “I remind you that in 1933, Chancellor Hitler came to power after completely democratic elections,” he had launched in front of teenagers. “So, you have to think carefully before going to vote”.
“He passed on the baton with incredible consistency and determination until the end,” Chief Rabbi Haïm Korsia told AFP, hailing “a man who has always been in the fight, in the ability to look ahead. ” and from which we “must keep this life force”. “A duty-to-remember activist whom I loved dearly like a father,” he said.
After 1945, “others (survivors, editor’s note) committed suicide and advanced to him,” said Agnès Buzyn. It was “the choice of courage” to “choose life”.
“A survivor of the Holocaust, he testified tirelessly and until his last days to the unspeakable. His memory will live,” said President Emmanuel Macron in the evening on Twitter.
“I remember with great emotion this visit to Auschwitz”, during which “he made us feel the horror of the tragedy”, also reacted Jean Castex to AFP, adding that this day would be “certainly one of the highlights of [his] mandate at Matignon”.
This “tireless fighter of memory”, will have “until the end, carried the word of the victims of Nazi barbarism”, for his part declared Francis Kalifat, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions (Crif), on Twitter.
“We will never forget the testimony of Dr. Elie Buzyn, who until recent days continued to transmit his experience of life linked to the Shoah with force”, added, on the same network, Elie Korchia, president of the Central Consistory. , while Joël Mergui, president of the Consistory of Paris, praised in him “a Mensch whose absence will be irreplaceable”, using the Yiddish term used to qualify an exemplary man.
“A giant”, who will have testified “in front of thousands of pupils and students”, according to the Union of Jewish Students of France.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo hailed a man who “relentlessly devoted his life to witnessing and transmitting the memory of the Holocaust”. SOS Racisme praised in him the one who testified “to the consequences of anti-Semitic and racist hatred”.
“Each time the last survivors of the Shoah like Elie Buzyn disappear, I ask myself the same question: are we going to be up to it to pass on this unspeakable History that we have received from the very mouth of these heroes?” questioned Ariel Goldmann, president of the United Jewish Social Fund.