Severyn Ashkenazy was born in Poland in 1936. He survived the holocaust with his parents and brother. In 1957, Ashkenazy emigrated to the United States, where he completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA in 1958. There, he continued his graduate studies in literature, advancing to the PhD candidacy in 1962.
Ashkenazy is the founder of The L’Ermitage Hotel Group. He also founded and is past chairman of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Among his charitable works, Ashkenazy founded L’Ermitage Foundation, which supports children’s causes. He was named “Man of the Year” by ORT, the world’s largest Jewish education organization.
Severyn Ashkenazy founded Beit Warszawa—the first progressive Jewish community in Poland since the Second World War—and Beit Polska, the umbrella organization for progressive Jewish communities in Poland.