Peter G. Pollak

On October 20, 2021, Peter G. Pollak passed away
peacefully in his home in Elkridge, MD surrounded
by his family.
During his 78 years he was a civil rights activist, a
criminal justice reformer, a professor, an entrepreneur,
and an author.
Peter was born and grew up in Gloversville, NY, the
son of Dr. Hans and Lisl Pollak, who settled there after
escaping the Nazis in Austria. He graduated from
Oberlin College and then settled in Albany, NY where
he lived for over 40 years.
In the 1960s he was active in civil rights, as a VISTA
volunteer registering voters in Georgia, as a member
of The Brothers, and as publisher of The Albany Liberator
and later editor of The New Citizen, both local
While earning a Ph.D. in American History from
SUNY Albany he taught college level courses in local
prisons, which led him to positions at the NYS Coalition
for Criminal Justice and the NYS Defenders
Association. In those roles he worked to bring about
needed prison and sentencing reforms and to end the
death penalty in New York.
In 1985, an article published in Oberlin’s alumni
magazine about a computer science solution for distributing
press releases inspired him to start Empire
Information Services, Inc. He ran that business, based
in Schenectady, and The Empire Page, a website covering
NYS political news that spun out from it, for
over twenty years.
After retiring, he and his wife Judy moved from Albany
to Elkridge, MD to be closer to their children
and grandchildren, but continued to spend summers
in their cabin in the Adirondacks. He loved the peace
and quiet, which he took advantage of to write seven
novels and his memoir.
He is survived by Judy Ferraro, his wife of 43 years,
his daughter Jessica Pollak Kahn, his son Sam Pollaro,
his siblings Rita Pollak, Steven Pollak, and Wendy Atamian,
and four grandchildren, Avi, Cassidy, Zoe, and
A funeral service will be held on Monday, October
25th at noon ET at Bet Aviv in Colombia, MD and
can be live streamed at https://venue.streamspot.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those who
would like to make a gesture in his memory donate to
the American Jewish World Service (

By Leader-Herald

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