Avraham Perlmutter, Ph.D. (father of RCSM Past President Sharon Perlmutter Gavin) passed away peacefully on August 17, 2022, in Pacific Palisades, CA, at the age of 94. He was a Santa Monica resident for over 50 years.
Avraham was an award-winning scientist, businessman, author, and public speaker. He was born on August 28, 1927, in Vienna, Austria. After Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938, his parents sent him to the Netherlands. During the ensuing war-torn years, Avraham braved harrowing captures, daring escapes, torturous hiding, and heartbreaking losses. Yet he also experienced the goodness of humanity through the strangers who helped him.
He emerged from the Holocaust with a positive perspective on life, choosing to focus on the people who helped him rather than those set on defeating him. Surviving the Holocaust took ingenuity, guts, and sheer determination—all of which he called on again when he helped to establish the State of Israel during its War of Independence.
Fluent in seven languages, he went on to pursue his education in the U.S., earning a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering. Avraham founded a successful engineering company and developed many innovative products, including the Dynalens, an image stabilization system that won a Scientific and Technical Academy Award. He subsequently founded several other businesses.
For many years, Avraham shared his extraordinary life story and its universal lessons, including the importance of possessing determination and resilience, of helping others, of having compassion, empathy, and tolerance for all people, and of obtaining a good education. He spoke to thousands of people at museums, schools, and other venues (including at the RCSM on August 7, 2015). His inspirational tale was also conveyed by his #1 best-selling autobiography, “Determined: The Story of Holocaust Survivor Avraham Perlmutter” (featured at the October 2020 RCSM Book Club) and the award-winning documentary of the same name.
Avraham was a very loving, warm, caring, and kind person, and he loved to help others. Devoted to his family, he was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. He was married to his wife, Ruth, for 62 years. He is survived by his four children and five grandchildren.