Mega philanthropist Eugen Gluck dies at 92

Wealthy philanthropist and businessman Eugen Gluck was a major supporter of Jewish life in the West Bank.

August 28, 2019 09:40
3 minute read.
Lithuanian Jews

Stones lie on a tombstone in a Jewish cemetery in Vilnius August 7, 2007. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Mega philanthropist Eugen Gluck, who embodied the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, died in York on Monday, just over two weeks after his 92nd birthday.

Born in Romania on August 9, 1927, Gluck, who was known as Yidl, experienced the trauma of the Holocaust while in his early teens, and survived several concentration camps.

After the war, together with many other survivors of strong resilience, he arrived in the United States where he initially worked at a number of odd jobs until he had enough money to partner with a friend in the opening of a bakery.

Although they did well, Gluck had greater ambitions and founded Amitron watches, which produced one of the first affordable digital watches in America.  The company ranks as one of the leading US watch companies. Finding initial success, the company has since gone global, with Gluck remaining at its helm up until recently, going to work on a daily basis.

He and his wife Jean, who died last year, had three children, 12 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren – further proof of Hitler's failure to carry out his final solution for the Jewish people.

Over the years, Gluck amassed tremendous wealth, but did not believe in keeping it all for himself and his family.

He was certain that he had been spared from among the millions captured and murdered in the Holocaust in order to be able to do good things for his people.

He was a long time supporter of Shaare Zedek Hospital, Magen David Adom, Yad Vashem, and the Jerusalem Great Synagogue among others, but most of all he helped to build up the ancient Biblical town of Beit El and to renew Jewish life there.

He was the president of the American Friends of Beit El, in which capacity he enjoyed a very close relationship with Beit El founder Yaakov Katz, (Katzele), whom he met some 40 years ago. Gluck contributed heavily to all the Beit El institutions, and happily gave more money as Beit El developed. In 2002, he made significant contributions when its established its IDF preparatory school.

When Beit El initially established its radio station several years previously, it ran into legal problems because the station was considered to be illegal. But this did not prevent Gluck from funding it and proudly watching its change and growth in status.  Arutz Sheva today broadcasts in Hebrew and English and has its own website. Gluck also presided over the annual Beit El Dinner in New York, including the 36th annual dinner held in December last year with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein as the guest of honor. Other guests of honor in previous years included present and former prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon.

Every year at Sukkot, Gluck and his wife, who died last year, brought busloads of tourists and Israeli residents to Beit El to celebrate the holiday together with the people of Beit El.

He also sponsored the annual Second Hakafot in Jerusalem's Liberty Bell Park on the night after Simchat Torah, an event attended by the chief rabbis and other prominent figures from Israel's religious leadership.

Gluck was greatly involved in Israel's growth and development. He had close relations with both political and religious leaders and he loved coming to the Beit El kindergarten to see all the little sabras of the West Bank running around.

At a time when there is talk of a rift between Israel and American Jewry, Glick was one of many proofs that regardless of what happens in Israel politically or on the religious front, there are many American Jews who are still willing to lend their shoulders to the wheel.

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