Obituary: Norbert Swislocki, 1936-2020

Norbert I. Swislocki passed away after a long illness on Sunday, June 21, 2020 at his home on the river in Grand View-on-Hudson, New York. Norbert was born in 1936 in Warsaw, Poland. In 1939, after the Nazis bombed Warsaw, he escaped with his mother to Vilnius, where they joined his father, a journalist, who was following the Polish Army. In Vilnius, the Swislockis were able to obtain one of the historic Sugihara visas, named for the Japanese consul, which enabled them to cross the Soviet Union and reach Kobe, Japan. They departed from Japan on a boat and reached Shanghai, China shortly before Pearl Harbor and remained there throughout WWII.

After settling in Los Angeles, Norbert went on to obtain his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biochemistry from UCLA. Following that, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brandeis University before joining Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he conducted research on red blood cells and aging. Subsequently, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he later became Associate Dean of Research. Although Norbert never hunted, he was an excellent marksman and made it to the Olympic trials in target shooting.

Jane Lattes, who had moved to Palisades with her family in 1967, was widowed in 1987 when her husband Conrad Lattes died. In 1989 she met Norbert, who had been divorced. They were married in April 1991 in the living room of their home on Woods Road in Snedens Landing accompanied only by family, but they celebrated immediately after the ceremony at a party attended by many in the community given for them at the home of Jane and Ray Bernick. Although Jane and Norbert left Palisades in 2000, they remained closely connected to Palisades. Norbert gave a moving, much complimented speech telling of his history as an immigrant at the Palisades flagpole on Memorial Day in 2015.

Norbert is survived by his wife of 29 years, Jane Lattes-Swislocki, his brother, Arthur Swislocki, his children, Madeline Becker and Mark Swislocki, his step-children, Jain Lattes, Lisa Lattes, Abigail Lattes and Conrad Lattes, and his grand-children, Adam and Max Becker, and Casimir Swislocki, Emma, Sophia and Ben Lattes, Anabel, Eliza, Helen and An- gus Carter, Edwin and Emmett Hartlove, and Marina and Neko Thayer. He is greatly missed by everyone, including his dog, Bon Prix, and will be remembered by all who knew him for his wisdom, humor, intelligence, honesty, and encyclopedic knowl- edge of anything related to WWII. When it is possible to congregate freely, Norbert’s wife, Jane, hopes to plan a get-together to honor him at the new iteration of the restaurant where they had their first date.