Lucette Lagnado, then 6, and her family pose for a family portrait on the eve of their exodus from Egypt in the 1960s.
of blessed memory
Journalist/Author Lucette Lagnado ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL JTA
After leaving Egypt in the turmoil ucette Matalon Lagnado, a that followed the rise of the dictator Wall Street Journal reporter Gamal Abdel Nasser, the family evenwhose 2007 memoir of her tually moved to Bensonhurst, Egyptian-Jewish family won Brooklyn. the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Lagnado graduated from Literature, has died. She was 63. Vassar College and started her The Jewish Book Council, reporting career at a commuwhich awarded the prize for nity paper in Brooklyn. She The Man in the White Sharkskin served an internship with the Suit, did not specify a cause in investigative reporter Jack announcing her death. Anderson, as a columnist for Lucette Lagnado Described as “stunning” by the Village Voice and as execMichiko Kakutani in a New York utive editor at the EnglishTimes review, Lagnado’s memoir recalls language Forward newspaper. the lost, cosmopolitan world of Cairo’s A story she worked on about Dr. Jewish community before and after Josef Mengele helped rekindle global World War II and her high-living father, interest in his macabre experiments a prosperous clothier. She would later at the Auschwitz concentration camp devote another memoir, The Arrogant and the search for justice for his Years, to her mother’s story. victims. That was also the subject of
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July 18 • 2019
Children of the Flames, her 1991 nonfiction book with Sheila Cohn Dekel. At the Wall Street Journal, which she joined in 1996, Lagnado was a cultural and investigative reporter, most recently covering health care, health delivery for the poor and uninsured, and new treatments for cancer. Among her awards are the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s 2002 Mike Berger Award for a story about the aging residents of an Upper West Side apartment building and three Newswomen’s Club of New York Front Page Awards for her reporting on hospital billing and collection. The 2008 Rohr Prize came with a check for $100,000.
In a blog post from 2011, Lagnado revisited the subject of exile and return — this time about her old neighborhood of Bensonhurst, where she would eventually buy one of the apartments where she grew up. “My trips to Bensonhurst always have a ritual quality to them, like a religious pilgrimage. I must go to this block, I tell myself, I must pay my respects to that building,” she wrote. “There are no people left there that I knew, not a single familiar face — my community long moved out — yet I keep returning.” She is survived by her husband, Douglas Feiden, with whom she lived in Bensonhurst and Sag Harbor, N.Y. ■