Sheppie Abramowitz, Who Advocated Relief for Refugees, Dies at 88

Sheppie Abramowitz, a consummate political insider who became a powerful ally for refugees around the world, died on April 7 in Washington. She was 88.

Her death was confirmed by her son, Michael Abramowitz, who said his mother died at Sibley Memorial Hospital, from an infection and an aortic aneurysm.

For more than five decades, Ms. Abramowitz was active in movements to solve refugee crises — in Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey and Kosovo. With a firm, cajoling and unusually effective hand, she used her deep knowledge of government officials, logistics and the struggles of those fleeing war and oppressive governments, to secure real relief.

She was a diplomat’s wife — her husband, Morton I. Abramowitz, was a U.S. ambassador — and became his humanitarian adjunct, bringing her knowledge to bear when they returned to Washington from abroad.

Ms. Abramowitz in Thailand, where her husband was U.S. ambassador from 1978 to 1981. While there, she visited refugee camps on the country’s border with Cambodia.Credit…via Abramowitz family

She established a Washington office for the International Rescue Committee, one of the world’s leading refugee assistance organizations, and became a vice president. Even before that, she had long been a passionate voice for refugees, volunteering for the I.R.C. while her husband was posted in Hong Kong in the 1960s.

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