Work of gifted Jewish activist Steinberg celebrated

The former executive director of the World Jewish Congress has been described as "one of the great Jewish activists of the past decades" following his death at just 59-years-old.

Elan Steinberg had been battling cancer when he died earlier this month.

Ronald Lauder, the WJC president, said his premature death would leave a huge void in the Jewish world.

"He was deeply committed to advocating the rights of the Jews around the world" said Mr Lauder.

"He was probably the most gifted communication professional in the Jewish organisational world. He will be sorely missed."

Mr Steinberg, a prominent figure in Jewish affairs for years and at the helm of the WJC from 1986 to 2004, led campaigns to help Holocaust survivors and secure restitution from the German government and Swiss banks.

Menachem Rosensaft, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, said Mr Steinberg was a "passionate advocate for the Jewish people, for the state of Israel, and for any Jew anywhere in the world who was persecuted or threatened".

He added: "His brilliant mind and his great heart have no equal and are irreplaceable. The entire Jewish community is orphaned today."

    Last updated: 11:36am, April 16 2012