Sholom Katz, 67, a leading cantor in this country and an authority on Jewish music, died Feb. 20 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after a heart attack. He had lived in Washington since 1957.
Mr. Katz was the cantor at Beth Sholom Synagogue from 1947 to 1957. He appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center and in concert halls and synagogues in Europe, Israel, South America and Canada. He made more than 160 recordings of his music.
He sang the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning, "Keil Molei Rachamim," in the closing scene of the Academy Award-winning movie, "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis," and also sang in the film, "The Eichmann Story."
During World War II, he was captured by the Nazis in his native Romania and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. He said years later he was allowed to live when a guard overheard him singing and allowed him to escape.
In 1946, Mr. Katz was invited to Switzerland to sing at the last Zionist world conference held in Europe. As Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president, delivered a eulogy for the 6 million Jews who died during the war, Mr. Katz sang the "Keil Molei Rachamim." He added to the traditional text the names of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau, and other Nazi extermination camps.
In 1954, Paris-Match awarded his recording of the "Keil Molei Rachamim" its annual "Prix du Disque."
Mr. Katz was named 1952 Cantor of the Year by the World Committee of the Furtherance of Jewish Education. He was past president of the Cantor's Association of Greater Washington.
From 1956 until the time of his death, he performed at Kutsher's Country Club in the Catskill Mountains in Monticello, N.Y. Since 1969 he had been a vice president of the Westwood Management Corp. in Bethesda.
Mr. Katz was a recognized cantor by the time of his bar mitzvah at age 13. He was ordained a rabbi at age 18 and was cantor for a synagogue in Kishinev, a leading Jewish center in what was then Romania and now is in the Soviet Union. He was chief cantor of Bucharest before he came to this country and settled in Washington.
Survivors include his wife, Sabina Katz, a son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Judith, all of Washington, and a sister, Fanni Gaspar of Silver Spring.