Bruce Baruch Mayrock (6 May 1949 – 30 May 1969) from Old Westbury, New York was a student at Columbia University who set himself ablaze at the premises of the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 29 May 1969, to protest genocide against the nation and people of Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War.
Mayrock doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself afire on the lawn outside the U.N. building. The fire was spotted by United Nations security guards who ran after him with fire extinguishers. Mayrock eluded them, running to the north lounge of the building as witnessed by several hundred delegates. Mayrock finally fell to his knees beside the bronze statue sculpted by Evgeniy Vuchetich to represent the human wish to end all wars, which bears the slogan “Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares”
The flames were extinguished and he was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was listed in critical condition and was pronounced dead in the early hours of 30 May 1969, the Biafran independence day. He was carrying a cardboard sign which said, “You must stop the genocide—please save 9 million Biafrans.” Mayrock had worked actively to protest the war in Biafra, writing letters about the war to the U.S. President and leading government figures. The student took his life to protest the killing of innocent Biafran babies and what he believed was genocide in Biafra. He was concerned that people were being killed and no one was doing anything and no one was listening. Mayrock graduated with highest honors from Flatbush Yeshivah and was a Student of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America as well as Columbia University,and worked as a photographer for the Columbia Daily Spectator. He had previously studied briefly at Hofstra University. He is buried in Mount Ararat Cemetery, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.