By Special Contributor Larry Kane

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Joe Smukler, a well-known community leader who helped define the lives of thousands of people behind the old iron curtain has died at 84.

Joe Smukler was well known in Philadelphia Community life leading the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia and many other causes. But he and his wife Connie, who survives him, will always be remembered for their campaign of extraordinary pressure against the Soviets to release thousands upon thousands of Soviet Jews who were not allowed to seek freedom in other countries.

Many of them settled in Philadelphia, in Israel, and other locations. A most recent effort was helping to lead the campaign underway to build a holocaust monument and education center for the Holocaust Remembrance Foundation at 16th and the Parkway in Philadelphia.

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