A Farewell to Yaron Bruckner

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It is with deep sorrow and grief that we inform of the death of Yaron Bruckner – a Benefactor of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The Jewish Belgian businessman was the founder of the Eastbridge Group, its CEO for many years, and in recent years the Chairman of the company’s Supervisory Board. His involvement in Poland, most notably as the owner of the Empik and Smyk chains, was longstanding.

Poland was one of Mr. Bruckner’s key markets. In 1994, he purchased the Empik bookstore chain from the Polish state. The declining chain underwent a sweeping overhaul, and the soon company grew into a leader on the Polish market. Bruckner quickly developed his operations in Poland, introducing Kodak and Nestle as well as several clothing brands as a representative. Eastbridge is the control shareholder of Empik Media&Fashion.

Mr. Bruckner also carried on business outside of Poland. The group owns a number of buildings in New York, including the fifth tallest building in Manhattan from the 1930s – until recently the headquarters of AIG. Through its subsidiaries, Eastbridge has also developed real estate in Belgium, Luxemburg and Poland.

Yaron Bruckner’s charitable work in Poland, apart from his support for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, included, amongst other things, the founding of the Poland for Europe non-governmental organization whose goal was to promote Poland’s accession to the European Union.

Yaron Bruckner died on August 4, 2013, in Israel. He was 56.