Sunday, April 7, 2019
THGC Executive Chair Lynne Aronoff
Lynne Aronoff of Houston is the new chair of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission. She is the former president of StoneNet, Inc. She is also a former first and second grade teacher at the Hebrew Academy in Houston. Prior to that, she was a third grade teacher for the Houston Independent School District. Aronoff is a board member for the Jewish Family Foundation, vice president of the Consular Women’s Club of Houston, officer and board member for the Jewish Family Service, board member for Citizenship Month of Houston, and honorary host committee member for the Aga Khan Foundation. She has previously served as a board member for the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. She has been recognized for her devout service as a recipient of the 2015 Shirley and Allen Becker Jewish Family Service of Houston Leadership Award and recipient of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston’s 1985 Esther and Nathan Falik Young Leadership Award. Aronoff received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Texas.
I was born on July 9, 1951 in Hungary, as the single child of Jewish and Hungarian parents. I have been a professional artist since 1982, and also the father of eight children. During my art course, I have created a spiritual art inspired by God, which, however, was condemned antisocial by the Hungarian communist regime. A persecution by the police force started against me, which continued for several years, and at the end it became life threatening. So in 1987 I had to flee from Hungary.
Since 2017, I have been living in Texas with my daughter Debora where I continue my, so far, unique art.
I am David Beeri’s daughter (the sixth child out of eight), and I will be translating my father’s talk at the Holocaust March of Remembrance. I am a second year Ph.D . student in Chemistry at Texas Christian University, and I came here together with my father from Germany, where I carried out my Master’s degree. I look forward to attending the Event, because I know that all the testimonies will help us understand why holocaust happened and how, as well as how it has affected ( and will affect) both the Jewish nation and the world.
Kaitlyn Dillingham is a Sophomore Education Major at Texas A&M University. Before starting college she was the Events intern at the Leadership Institute in Washington D.C. Kaitlyn currently serves as the Christians United for Israel President and the Technology Director for the State of Texas College Republicans.
This past summer Kaitlyn traveled to Israel with a group called Passages and this to her was a life changing experience. Because of this she serves as the Passages Ambassador for Texas A&M. When Kaitlyn graduates she wants to teach 3rd or 4th grade math and science.
Both Steve and his wife Sandra are co-chairs of Houston New Leadership and past co-chairs of AABGU’s Greater Texas Region. Steve is on the Executive Committee of Texas Hillel, which serves The University of Texas at Austin campus. He is a former general chairman, State of Israel Bonds, Houston; former president of the Houston Prime Ministers’ Club; and on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
Steve also serves on the National and Houston Advisory Councils of AIPAC and the national board of directors of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He is a board member of the Anti-Defamation League-Southwest Region, Camp Young Judaea Inc., Center for Medicine after the Holocaust, and the Houston Jewish Community Foundation.
Steve’s dad Wolf Finkelman managed to survive the Holocaust when his concentration camp was liberated shortly before its sick and starving inhabitants would have perished. He spent many of his later years telling his story — again and again — so that people would never forget those who were not as fortunate. See Wolf’s story here.
The Finkelmans have three children, all of whom attended Houston Jewish day schools. Steve is advisor for the Holocaust Garden of Remembrance at King’s Harbor.
U. S. Representative Bill Flores
Bill Flores is a ninth generation Texan, raised in Stratford, a small town in the Texas Panhandle. While growing up in this agricultural community, he learned the value of hard work, starting at age nine by working cattle with his Dad, followed by having his own paper routes, and working six days per week, 12 hours per day in the ag industry during his middle school and high school years. He became an entrepreneur early in life by starting a small cattle herd at age 12 which ultimately grew into the Rafter O Cattle Company, a partnership with his three brothers which at its peak owned over 500 head of cattle. He paid his own way through college, graduating with honors from Texas A&M University in 1976 with a BBA in Accounting. Earned Texas Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) license in 1978. Married a Stratford girl, Gina Bass, in 1978. Graduated from Houston Baptist University with MBA degree in 1985. He and Gina reside in Bryan, Texas, where they are members of Central Baptist Church.
In 2009 he retired from the private sector to run for Congress. In November 2010, he beat an incumbent Congressman by the largest margin of victory that election cycle. In Congress, he serves on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee; and for the 114th Congress, his House colleagues elected him to serve as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest and most influential caucus in the U.S. Congress.
When Samuel Haas first learned of his forefathers’ actions in the war he wasn’t very interested. “But I noticed that I also had many prejudices against Jews. I made jokes about Jews and that seemed normal in my surroundings. But I began to wonder why?”
After researching his history further he learned that all four of his great-grandfathers were Nazis. One printed propaganda material, while the others were Wehrmacht soldiers, moving through Europe murdering and pillaging.
“That shook me, not only because I realized what my relatives did to the Jewish people, but also because I knew that it has something to do with me personally. It existed in me too, it wasn’t just in the past and I needed to do something about it.”
Haas began to give lectures in his school, changing also the staff’s attitudes. “Even a teacher that previously told me that there is no more anti-Semitism nowadays, that it’s only a problem of the Nazi era, was very thankful when I spoke out. I told my story and everyone else began doing the same. They asked at home, they did research and they dealt with this issue not like it was another history lesson, but as something that relates directly to them.”
Stefan Haas is pastor of TOS Leipzig, a Pentecostal-charismatic church, in Leipzig, Germany. He is Samuel Haas’ father.
“In January 2017, Stefan Haas was appointed as a new member of the board of trustees of our [Ephraim Carlebach] foundation.
Stefan Haas is a pastor of the TOS community in Leipzig, a Protestant free church. For several years, he has been initiating and organizing the Leipzig memorial service as part of the “March of Life” movement on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day anchored in the Jewish calendar, Yom HaShoa.
In addition, he worked with members of his community in 2015, the exhibition “Never again silence”.
The multifaceted discussion of his community with the Jewish history of Leipzig led to a lasting cooperation among others with the Israelite religious community of Leipzig, the German-Israeli Society and now also with the Ephraim Carlebach Foundation.” – https://www.carlebach-stiftung-leipzig.de/
CEO Portrayal of General George Patton. Contracted to portray General Patton worldwide for current and retired Armed Forces, Veteran groups, museums, historical organizations, documentaries, films and private functions. Have reproduced to exact specifications his Mobile Van, command car and recreated a living history headquarters with national organization.
Author of Patton Hidden in Plain Sight series, Volumes One through Six.
Consul Omer Chechek-Katz
Consul Chechek-Katz brings to the Houston Consulate over a decade of experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem for over a decade. During his tenure with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he served as the Head of Threat Detection Branch, Head of Special Operations in Security and Infrastructure, and as Deputy for the Logistics and Security System Department.
Before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consul Chechek-Katz worked in the security division of Israeli airline, El Al, in Amsterdam, Netherlands after his service in the army where he specialized in electronic warfare.
Consul Chechek-Katz holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo.
He is married to Libi Katz and together they have three daughters and a son.
David Lawhon is an instructional assistant professor of American history and Holocaust studies for Texas A&M University at Galveston, where he is the university’s Honors program director. The Holocaust has always been a part of his family’s history, wherein, at the age of 18, his father was a liberator in World War II with the American 49th Rainbow Division who liberated Dachau concentration camp near Munich, Germany, and Mauthausen near Linz, Austria. He has been a member of Holocaust Museum Houston for five years and is Education Director for Holocaust Garden of Remembrance at King’s Harbor.
Mayor Karl Mooney
Karl Mooney was elected Mayor of the City of College Station in November, 2016, after serving on the City Council since 2011.
“Today, in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, the City of College Station needs an experienced leader who has selfless determination and vision to lead the city as it faces unprecedented growth. The role of the mayor needs to be filled by someone who can bring people together by consistently sharing fact-based messages that focus on common goals. Throughout my tenures as a teacher, a professor, intercollegiate athletics administrator, a police officer, an electrical utilities worker, a realtor, restaurant wait staff and auditor/manager in the lodging industry, I have attended to the needs of those whom I served and with whom I worked by establishing a team atmosphere.”
Karl Mooney and his wife Laura are a members of Grace Bible Church. Wherever he and his family lived, Mooney served a variety of roles in his community as a volunteer in many organizations including the Boy Scouts of America, his church, the Lions Club, his neighborhood homeowners’ association and the YMCA. He has three adult children and one grandson.
Pastor Chris Osborne
Chris Osborne has pastored Central Baptist Church since 1986. A gifted and anointed preacher, Pastor Osborne is known for his uncompromising presentation of the Word of God. In his years of ministry with Central, the church has grown to a membership of over 3,000, reaching out to all areas of the Brazos Valley. Pastor Osborne and his wife, Peggy have been married since 1974 and are blessed with two children. Stephen and Courtney with their two children, Charis and Drew, live in Bedford. Lauren and her son, Wesley live in Hurst.
Deputy Consul General Michael Ott
2018 German Consulate General Houston, TX, Deputy Consul General
2015-2018 Protocol Department of the German Foreign Ministry, Visits, travels and Foreign Missions
2012-2015 German Consulate General Mumbai, India, Deputy Consul General
2009-2012 German Consulate General Los Angeles, CA, head of cultural and press section
2005-2009 Cultural Directorate General, Foreign Office Berlin, Germany, head of German-French cultural relations
2002-2005 German Mission to the United Nations Vienna, Austria, liaison officer to UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UN Office for Outer Space
1999-2002 German Embassy Damascus, Syria, head of legal and cultural section
1995-1999 Legal Directorate General, Bonn, desk officer civil law section
1992-1995 German NATO Mission, Brussels, Belgium
After serving as the Class of 2019 President three years in a row, Mays management junior Amy Sharp readily stepped up as the next Texas A&M University Student Body President. She received 66.03 percent of the votes.
Sharp grew up in Conroe, Texas, where she attended Oak Ridge High School before coming to Texas A&M. From the start of her college experience, Sharp knew she wanted to make a difference on campus. As student body president, Sharp will focus on three things: academic improvement, increased inclusion, and improved access to mental and physical health services.
Along with her recurring role as Class of 2019 president, Sharp has also been actively involved in the business honors program during her time at Mays Business School. Through business honors, Sharp has been able to network with executive speakers, travel to businesses across the country, and grow as a leader both inside and outside of the classroom.
After she graduates, she is hoping to pursue her passions of helping people with mental health and substance abuse problems, as well as relieve children in poverty. She is applying for 2+2 programs and hopes to pursue an MBA.
Chancellor John Sharp
John Sharp was appointed Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System by the Board of Regents on Sept. 6, 2011.
On September 7, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott named him the commissioner of the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, which is dedicated to rebuilding critical public infrastructure along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
As Chancellor, Sharp leads one of the nation’s largest systems with an annual budget of $4.7 billion. Enrollment at the A&M System’s 11 universities has grown to more than 153,000 and externally funded research expenditures are in excess of $996 million. The System’s flagship, Texas A&M University, stands among the nation’s top 20 research universities for total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation.
Sharp brings with him more than three decades of public service. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University in 1972, where he was a member of the Corps Staff of the Corps of Cadets, a member of the 1972 rugby team and was elected student body president. Upon graduation, Sharp was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. In 1976, Sharp received a master’s degree in public administration from Southwest Texas State University while working full-time with the Legislative Budget Board in Austin. In 1978, he opened a one-man real estate firm in Victoria and became a successful small business owner. That same year he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives.In 1982, he won a seat in the Texas Senate. Four years later, he was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission. Sharp was elected state comptroller in 1990 and re-elected in 1994. He came to the A&M System from Ryan & Company, where he was a principal with the largest state and local tax consulting firm of its kind in Texas.
Sharp has been married to Charlotte Han of Austin since 1978. They have a son, Spencer; a daughter-in-law, Brigitte; a granddaughter, Simone; and a daughter, Victoria. The Sharps are active members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in College Station and are involved in many community and humanitarian efforts.
Dr. Clifford Spiegelman
Spiegelman was unanimously accepted and approved by the commissioners of Austin-based organization at the group’s April 20 quarterly meeting, held just days prior to Monday’s official Holocaust Remembrance Day and U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s proclamation marking the week-long Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust.
“The stellar recommendation Chairman [Peter] Tarlow made on your behalf at the meeting, combined with the examples of your outstanding project experience you have previously shared with me, made for an easy and complete vote by our commissioners,” said William McWhorter, executive director.
Spiegelman, a member of the Texas A&M Department of Statistics since 1987, a distinguished professor of statistics since 2009 and a senior research scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, is an expert in statistical and environmental forensics. He is a founder of the field of chemometrics, the science of using data to extract information from chemical systems by data-driven means to investigate and address problems in chemistry, biochemistry and chemical engineering. In addition, Spiegelman is a leader in the field of statistical forensics and was instrumental in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) decision to stop using compositional bullet lead analysis after he demonstrated it to be flawed. He routinely testifies in criminal matters related to various aspects of statistics, flawed forensic science, probability and the law and serves as the key statistical advisor to the City of Houston’s crime lab.
McWhorter says Spiegelman’s knowledge and accomplished background will prove key to the success of one of the Commission’s biggest upcoming projects: a survey to be sent to all Texas high school and middle school history teachers, seeking input on what they know and teach about the Holocaust. In addition to helping to design the survey, Spiegelman will provide statistical analysis of the resulting responses.
Spiegelman is a fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) as well as an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). A two-time recipient of the ASA Statistics in Chemistry Award for best paper, Spiegelman also has received the 2007 Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research recognizing innovation in statistical science and the San Antonio Chapter of the ASA’s 2016 Don Owen Award for excellence in research, contributions to editorial activities and service to the statistical community. Most recently, he was celebrated with a virtual special issue of Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems honoring his 30 years of service to both the international publication and the discipline he helped create.
Ruth Steinfeld is a board member at the Houston Holocaust Museum and president of the museum speaker’s bureau.
In a normal world, most 5-year-old girls play with dolls, learn how to become ladies and dream about what their lives will become. But on November 9, 1938, life for Ruth Steinfeld was by no means normal. The then-5-year-old girl watched helplessly as ax-toting Nazi soldiers smashed up her family’s home in Germany in a night known as Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass”. She could only watch in horror as the rampaging soldiers led her father and grandfather away — the last time she would see them alive. They were taken to the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp, where they and more than 30,000 others lost their lives. On Oct. 20, 1940, she and her remaining family were trucked to a train station and deported to Camp de Gurs, a concentration camp in the southwest of France near the Pyrenees mountains. But help arrived from an unlikely source in 1941, Steinfeld said. Pretending to be representatives of the Red Cross, a French group known as the Agency for the Rescue of Children whisked the girls away to Chateau du Masgelier, a medieval French castle that housed Holocaust victims. The girls were told to say they were Christian.
For the next six years, the girls traveled throughout France, living in other medieval castles and regular orphanages. For a while, they lived with a Christian family “who shared their meager rations with us, two strange girls,” she said. With the help of the Jewish Family Agency, the girls were taken to New York City where they cleaned homes and “adjusted to the new language and lifestyle. No one understood our past. And so began my ruthless denial of the past. I wanted to know more about my religion.”
After arriving in Houston in 1949, she met Larry Steinfeld, and the couple wed in 1954. They have three daughters.
Steinfeld pushed her past from her mind, but the memories flooded back in 1981 when she attended the first international gathering of Holocaust survivors in Israel. There, she learned that her parents, Anna and Alfred Krell, had been gassed to death upon their arrival at Auschwitz on Sept. 9, 1942. It was then, Steinfeld said, that her desire to ignore her past suddenly melted away. “I knew I had a purpose, to speak for the 1.5 million children who never had a chance,” she said. “I knew that my new sense of peace came from a sense of forgiving but never forgetting.”
Rabbi Peter Tarlow, Ph.D
Rabbi Peter Tarlow, Ph.D of College Station, is the former chairman of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, having been selected by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He is a lecturer at Texas A&M University Medical School. He previously served as the Rabbi for the Texas A&M Hillel for thirty years and now holds the title of Rabbi Emeritus. Additionally, he is the director of the Center for Latino-Jewish Relations and Crypto-Jewish Studies that works to educate the Hispanic and Jewish communities about their shared history and lineage. lecturing around the world. He also writes a monthly column for the Bryan Eagle and a weekly bilingual Torah commentary available through his various organizations.
He is the founder and president of Tourism & More, Inc., and the past president of the Texas Chapter of the Travel and Tourism Research Association. He is fluent in Hebrew, English, Spanish, and Portuguese and is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and economic development. Rabbi Tarlow has consulted on tourism development and security for the Hoover Dam, the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the U.S. National Park Service, the Smithsonian’s Institution Office of Protection Services, The Center for Disease Control, the Rio de Janeiro 2014 World Cup Games, the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, and the Panama Canal Authority. He has contributed to numerous articles and books, but is the sole author of several books including Twenty Years of Tourism Tidbits: The Book, Event Risk Management and Safety, and Tourism Security: Strategies for Effective Managing Travel Risk and Safety. Rabbi Tarlow received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from George Washington University. He was ordained as a Reform Rabbi and earned a Master of Arts in Hebrew literature from Hebrew Union College. He received a Doctorate in sociology from Texas A&M University.
Consul Daniel Agranov
Daniel Agranov recently began his post as the Consul of Israel to the Southwest United States. The 35-year-old diplomat began his tenure Aug. 14, taking over from Maya Kadosh, who returned to Israel after serving as Deputy Consul General for the past four years. Agranov arrived in Houston after a three-year post as Israel’s second highest-ranking diplomat in St. Petersburg, Russia, which is the city of his birth. At age 11, he settled with his parents in Tel Aviv. “It’s an honor to represent the State of Israel,” Agranov said. Most recently, he served as Deputy Consul General of Israel to St. Petersburg, Russia. A Consulate he was instrumental in establishing. Prior to this, Agranov worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which included missions to Angola and Kazakhstan. The Russian native holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economy and Biology and a Master of Business degree in Finance and Marketing, both from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Mr. Phillip Aronoff is the Honorary Consul of Hungary in Houston, Texas. Mr. Aronoff has contributed in an exceptional way to the improvement of Hungarian-US trade and economic relations, providing support in specific company- related issues, identifying US companies interested in trading with Hungary and establishing a Hungarian trade presence in the Greater Houston area.Aronoff was recently awarded the Honorary Foreign Economic Counselor title on December 6th, 2013 during the annual meeting of Honorary Consuls at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington DC. Mr. Aronoff is the 8th Hungarian Foreign Economic Counselor in the United States to receive this distinction, which underscores Hungary’s focus on promoting investment, trade and business relations between the Southern United States and Hungary.
Peter and Charlotte Berkowitz
Appointed as Chairman of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission in November 2009, Mr. Berkowitz also serves as Chairman of the Friends of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission 501(c)(3). He is currently a trustee of the Executive Corps of Houston, serving the organizational needs of the nonprofit community.
As former Chairman (2005-2007) of Holocaust Museum Houston, he helped expand museum programs that serve the public interest with greater understanding of genocides; core exhibits including an authentic German railcar and Danish rescue boat; and diversity of the Board of Directors. During his term, the museum also hosted the internationally recognized Medical Ethics conference based on experiences derived from the Holocaust.
Prior to retirement in 2001, Mr. Berkowitz was President and CEO of GE Continental Controls Inc. He then worked with Temple University to review National Science Foundation (NSF) scholarship programs, acted as an advisor to the NSF, and visited several university campuses to interview the schools’ chancellors, science and engineering department heads, educators, and students. His recommendations to the NSF were critical in administering $220 million in grants and scholarships. Charlotte is now on the Commission as well.
Jobst and Charlotte are the founders, visionary leaders, and face of March of LIfe, which led to the inspiration for March of Remembrance. Pastor Bittner is Senior Pastor of TOS, a non-denominational Charismatic church and ministry founded by Jobst and Charlotte in Tübingen, Germany 1987. Since 1997 international branches have been planted in nine nations through prayer ministries, establishing children´s homes throughout Latin America, and centers for drug rehabilitation in Eastern Europe. Next to this apostolic pioneer ministry, Jobst Bittner is also a speaker at conferences in Europe, Latin America and the United States. Prayer and repentance concerning Germany´s Nazi history has always been on the agenda of TOS Ministries. Go to www.tos.info to find out more.
Consul Guy Cohen
Guy Cohen is Israel’s Consul for Economic Affairs and Head of the Government of Israel Economic Mission to the US Midwest. In this position Mr. Cohen is responsible for promoting economic and business ties between Israel and the Midwest region. Under his leadership the Economic Mission generates business opportunities for Israeli companies, facilitates collaboration in industrial research and development and attracts foreign direct investments to Israel. In addition, the Economic Mission connects Midwest corporations to the Israeli innovation eco-system and supports their technology scouting efforts in Israel.
Prior to joining Israel’s Ministry of Economy, Mr. Cohen worked as an analyst at Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank. He also served as an assistant manager at one of the largest retail stores belonging to the Sherson Group in Toronto, Canada.
Mr. Cohen holds both an MBA and Bachelor’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is married and has three boys.
Helen Colin was born on April 15, 1923 in Tuszyn, Poland to Josef and Miriam Fried Goldstein. After being moved into the Lodz ghetto in 1942 she lost her father but married Kopel Colin in 1944. In the summer of 1944, together with her husband and her family, she was deported to Auschwitz where her mother and sister perished.After starvation, injury and unremitting terror, Helen and her sister were liberated from Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945 on Helen’s 22nd birthday. Helen and Kopel moved to Houston, where they raised their two daughters and ran a jewelry store for 35 years.
For more than 70 years, Helen willingly shared her experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Each time she spoke, Helen would experience anew her anguish, pain and deep sadness, but drove herself to speak because she felt that it was critically important to convey her message that a more peaceful, loving and tolerant world should be our continuing work and was possible.
Dr. Franziska Eckert
Dr. Franziska Eckert is an Oncology and Radiology in Tubingen, Germany. Born in 1980. Her grandfather was part of the SS elite troop “Adolf Hitler” and an SS instructor. He was involved in atrocities in the Ukraine and led an SS training camp close to Prague. Her grandmother was part of the organization Todt in Poland, managing forced labor. Franziska is a medical doctor and part of a national committee in Germany to work through the history of radiology in Germany, as radiology was used for forced sterilizations and tuberculosis screenings.
Dr. Eckert said she is motivated to speak at and participate in the March of Life movement because of her own family history.
“What I found out about my grandparents broke my heart,” said Eckert.
Commissioner Martin Fein
Floersheimer was born in Horschst im Odenwalt, Germany in 1931. His family suffered through the terrible evening called Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass, when in 1938, Nazi soldiers destroyed all Jewish businesses. Fred was just a young boy at the time, but this event has always been part of his life.
His family was fortunate enough to escape Nazi Germany in 1939, and Fred has devoted much of his life to his involvement with Judaism and educating others about the Holocaust. For the last 15 years, he has served as a volunteer docent at Holocaust Museum of Houston. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
“The German Army began the invasion of the USSR late June 1941. My father, as all able bodied men in the Ukraine, was drafted into the Russian Army, even though he was a Jew. My mother was left to fend for herself and her aging parents and teenage sister in Kiev, a city besieged by the Nazis. She found passage for herself and small family on a cattle car headed toward Siberia. They spent six weeks on that train and my mother gave birth to me just as they approached the Ural Mountains. This is MY story of a child surviving the Holocaust.; Siberia, Kiev, East Berlin, West Berlin, dozens of Displaced Persons camps throughout Germany, and finally arriving to New York City July, 1949. I was one of the lucky ones.” Please click here for Lili’s video. Click here for her book.
Birney “Chick” Havey
Birney Havey is a WWII Decorated Veteran who was in the 42nd Rainbow Division 222nd Anti-tank Unit , which liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp in April of 1945. His unit entered a house near the camp whose owner later turned out to be one of the Nazi Doctors who worked at the Camp. His Unit then entered Dachau near the Railroad tracks and discovered over 300 Railroad cars full of emaciated and decaying bodies of dead prisoners. The guards had fled the Camp and his Unit had to send scouts to the surrounding area to capture the guards and return them to the Camp to be indentified by the remaining prisoners. As Birney and his Unit walked through the Camp the starving prisoners were begging them for food. They gave the prisoners all the rations they had. Later in the day prisoners showed Birney the ovens where the bodies were burned. All over bodies were stacked like cord wood waiting to be cremated. The stench was horrible. They were also shown the barracks where the inmates slept, packed together like sardines in hard wooden racks. The next day Birney’s unit, the 222 Anti Tank Unit were given orders to push towards Munich, Germany.
Bob is the founder of the Holocaust Remembrance Scholarships in honor of his parents Leizer and Rose Horowitz . He was born in a Displaced Persons camp and both of his parents were survivors. Most of Bob’s parents’ friends were survivors, he was surrounded with survivors throughout his childhood and his new beloved, Helen Utay, is also a descendant of two Holocaust survivors. Click here for information about his yearly scholarship.
Dan Huberty is a businessman from Humble, Texas, a suburb of Houston, who is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives. Since 2011, he has with relatively little opposition represented District 127 in Harris County. Huberty ran unopposed for his third term in the state House in the general election on November 4, 2014. Huberty is running to be re-elected for his fourth term on March 1, 2016. Huberty is a native of Parma in Cuyahoga County east of Cleveland in northern Ohio. In 1991, he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland. In 1998, he received a Master of Business Administration degree from the on-line University of Phoenix. Since 2009, he has been the vice-president of business development for Clean Energy Fuels. He is also the vice president of Ampco Systems Parking. He is a member of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International in Humble, and the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic men’s organization. He has been a long-time supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the companion Students Against Drunk Driving. Huberty and his wife, the former Janet Marie Etterman have three children, Brianna, Ryan, and Dylan. They are members of the Saint Martha’s Catholic Church parish in Walden, Texas.
Rabbi Jimmy Kessler
Rabbi Jimmy Kessler is the founder of the Texas Jewish Historical Society, is the first native Texan to serve as rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston, Texas. Kessler first served as director of the Texas Hillel, which serves the students attending the University of Texas. While there, Kessler taught very popular courses in the Religious Studies programs at UT and served on several committees at the request of the University president. Based on his long interest in Texas Jewish history, Kessler founded the Texas Jewish Historical Society in 1980. Today the society has grown to more 750 members and has sponsored and supported research for scholars and students of Texas Jewish history. In 1976, he was called as rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston, Texas, serving them for five years. He returned as rabbi in 1989, and has led the congregation since then. Kessler’s strong dedication to education and youth has continued: he serves as campus minister to Jewish students at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), and teaches philosophy at Galveston College. He also serves as Jewish chaplain for patients at UTMB’s hospitals.
Claudia Kiesinger is a relative of former German chancellor Kiesinger, who successfully concealed his top Nazi-career after the war. Her paternal grandfather was an ardent Nazi and follower of Adolf Hitler. This enthusiasm and example remained with him even after the end of the war.
Out of a growing desire to know more about this dark cloud that hung over her family’s past, Claudia took part in the first March of Life, a memorial march at historic locations of the Holocaust,in 2007. Three hundred fifty participants from 14 nations walked over 200 miles from Bisingen, a concentration camp near Tuebingen in southwest Germany, to Dachau,in upper Bavaria. The route recreated the final death-march of the Jews imprisoned in those camps. At the end of the war, the Jews were led to their deaths, starving and cold, in a final desperate effort by the Nazis to hide the human evidence of their evil deeds. The march made Claudia’s connection to the Holocaust into a personal commitment.
Claudia lives in New York City where she organizes prayer groups at the United Nations to pray for the sake of Israel.
(Peter) Moshe Loth is a Holocaust survivor who was born in Stutthof Concentration Camp to his Jewish mother who was imprisoned with his aunt and grandmother. After the liberation of Stutthof by the Russians, Moshe’s mother handed her infant son over to a kind Polish woman who agreed to care for him until his mother could return. Moshe lived in Poland not knowing about his real mother until he was 14 years old. During that time he was shuffled from one orphanage to another. The years held much suffering, abuse, and humiliation at the hands of soviet police and guards. At 14 years old, he was reunited with his mother who was living in western Germany with her new husband, a U.S Army soldier. The many years of abuse and dysfunction created an angry and bitter young man until God changed his life.
Dr. Patrick Louchouarn
French-born, he grew up and completed his secondary education in Mexico City. He then moved to Canada where he undertook his undergraduate and graduate education. He completed a B.Sc. in 1989 in Marine Biology at McGill University (Montreal), followed by a M.Sc. in 1992 and a Ph.D. in 1997 at the University of Quebec in Montreal in Environmental Sciences (geochemistry). His graduate research focused on understanding the cycling of trace metals (mercury), nutrients (phosphorus), and terrestrial organic matter in freshwater and marine systems. He was educated in and speaks fluently three languages (French, English, and Spanish). He also studied Mandarin in Mainland China in the late 1980s, as part of a Minor in East Asian Studies. He lives in Galveston and has three children, Naomi, who recently graduated from his alma mater McGill University, as well as Noah and Teva who are respectively attending Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin. He became an American Citizen (and Texan) in the spring 2009.
Few people will ever know the truly horrifying trauma that comes with being a survivor of the Holocaust, which has been coined as one of the darkest periods of mass human suffering throughout history. Al Marks is one of these brave few, and on Wednesday, March 20, he spoke to the 10th grade students, teachers and staff members at Splendora High School about his experiences and what he has done to overcome them. Marks was born in Hungary and was forced to live through the horrors of four different concentration camps, the first of which was Auschwitz. He arrived there with his mother and father when he was only 13 years old. On June 6, 1944, he and his parents were sent to the infamous camp by cattle car, as ordered by the SS Nazi police. Once there, Marks was separated from his parents immediately. They were sent by Dr. Mengele, also known as the “Angel of Death,” to the gas chambers. Marks never saw them again, and shortly after, he was sent to one of several work camps, where he was forced to endure even more unthinkable hardships.
Holocaust survivor Bill Orlin was born in Poland in 1932 and was seven years old when Nazi troops invaded. His family watched as the Nazis destroyed the city and began their policies of persecution. HIs entire village was forced into a 50-mile march, suffering abusive humiliation along the way. His family eventually escaped form Europe, and Bill made a new life in the United States, serving in the army during the Korean War. His difficult childhood and journey to Houston taught him valuable life lessons. He now teaches actively about his experiences to help others understand the importance of respecting human life.
Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
Dr. Ozsváth serves as the Leah and Paul Lewis Chair of Holocaust Studies, UT Dallas. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth is Director of the Holocaust Studies Program. She has published a number of articles, dealing with aesthetic and ethical issues in French, German, and Hungarian literature as well as with the relationship between art and totalitarian ideology. Since the eighties, she has undertaken several translation projects and worked on various branches of Holocaust Studies.
In the field of translation, she started out with rendering and publishing a significant number of German and Hungarian poems and short stories in such journals as Poetry, Judaism, The Hungarian Quarterly, Partisan Review, The Webster Review, Literary Review, Osiris, Congress Monthly, just to mention a few. But the culmination of her work in this field have been three volumes of poetry (each with Fred Turner), involving the work of some of the greatest poets of Hungary. Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklós Radnóti (Princeton: UP, 1992). This book appeared in Hungary as well, in a bi-lingual edition); Their next book of translation has been The Iron–Blue Vault: Attila József, Selected Poems (New Castle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1999). And Ozsvath and Turner’s third volume of translation is: Light among the Shade: Eight–Hundred–Years of Hungarian Poetry, which has been chosen as one of the most important books of the year of 2015 by Choice magazine, the magazine of the American Library Association.
Besides Ozsváth’s translation projects, she has become involved in Holocaust Studies. Completed in November 1999, In the Footsteps of Orpheus: The Life and Times of Miklós Radnóti, 1909–1944, is a biography of Radnoti and the political circumstances in Hungary during the interwar period. It has been published by Indiana UP, 2000. The translation of this book, under the title Orpheus nyomaban: Radnoti Miklos elete es kora (Akademiai Kiado, 2004), appeared in Hungary as well. Her book, When the Danube Ran Red (Syracuse University Press, 2014), is her memoire. This book is now in the process of translation into Hungarian; and it will appear in 2016 by Corvina Press, one of Hungary’s most prestigious presses (Budapest, Hungary). In addition, presently, Ozsvath has just finished (with Fred Turner) a new book of translations: The Golden Cup: Selected Poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They will start to send it off to publishers within the next few weeks.
Besides translating and writing a number of essays on Radnóti, Ozsváth has published several articles on such writers and poets of the Holocaust as Kosinski, Celan, Nelli Sachs, including several Hungarian Holocaust novelists. Her talk in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Trauma and Distortion: Holocaust Fiction and the Ban on Jewish Memory in Hungary” (2004, March), has been published in a volume Hungary 60 Years After, by Columbia UP 2006. Her talk at Indiana University, “From Country to Country: My Search for Home” (2006, March), was published in the volume The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature, by Indiana UP, 2008. Her article, “Playing during the Siege,” appeared in the Sewanee Review, spring, 2010.
Besides her translations and scholarly writings, Ozsváth is Associate Editor and East European Editor of Common Knowledge, a publication of Duke University Press. Invited speaker at a number of national and international professional conventions, she also is frequently interviewed by newspapers and television stations in this country as well as in Hungary. Furthermore, she consults with and is on the board of such professional, civic, and community organizations as the ZOA, the Educational Committee of the Jewish Federation, The Dallas Memorial Holocaust Center, and The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
Dr. Hy Penn
Leader in Houston community and child of two Holocaust survivors. His father Morris, was born April 14, 1922, in Vilkiviskis, Lithuania and his parents, Mordechai and Zlata Penn; his brother, Refael, and sister, Rivka, all perished in the Holocaust. Morris was able to escape capture by being hidden by righteous Gentile families. Morris was preceded in death by his loving wife Linda, whom he had met in a displaced persons camp in Austria. Dr. Penn is a frequent speaker for the March of Remembrance Houston.
My childhood in Croatia (Bosnia) was wonderful from 1933 until 1940 when at the age of 7 years old, we had to leave our home. My father was taken by the local fascists to a concentration camp at Jasenovac (Croatia) and murdered in 1941. My mother, sister, neighbor and I fled to the Adriatic Coast under Italian occupation. A catholic lady, Denise Joris, helped our escape. But we were arrested and from 1941 to 43 we were in an Italian concentration camp on the Island of Rab in the Adriatic. From 1943 to 45 after Mussolini was captured and Italy liberated by the Allies, we joined the Yugoslav (Croatia) Partisan forces, facing death, starvation and constant flight from capture by the Germans. At the end of 1945 I left for Romania, my sister for England. My mother was captured by the Nazis and murdered in 1944.
Bernd Reindl, Political Consul at the German Consulate was one of the guests who came to the “behind-the-scenes” visit at Project Ezra in New York last week. Project EZRA is an independent grassroots organization. It was founded in 1972 in reaction to a lack of social services for New York’s Lower East Side Jewish senior citizens.
Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld
Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld is Clinical Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, and is a Fellow in both the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology. His scientific articles have been published in many medical journals, he is a member of numerous professional medical societies, and he pioneered the use of fine needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid in Texas. Dr. Rubenfeld has taught Healing by Killing: Medicine During the Third Reich for three years and Jewish Medical Ethics for seven years at Baylor College of Medicine. He created a six-month program about Medicine and the Holocaust at Holocaust Museum Houston, including an exhibit entitled How Healing Becomes Killing: Eugenics, Euthanasia, Extermination and a series of lectures by distinguished speakers entitled The Michael E. DeBakey Medical Ethics Lecture Series.. Dr. Rubenfeld lives with his wife and hypothyroid dog in Houston and his two adult children work and go to school in New York City.
Dr. Victoria Sarvadi
Dr. Victoria Sarvadi along with her husband Paul Sarvadi, CEO of Insperity Inc., a publicly traded company with the NYSE, started what eventually became known as The Nathaniel Foundation in 1994 in Kingwood TX. This foundation awards grants to qualified ministries that support the Hebraic awakening of Christianity and organizations that promote advocacy between the Church and Israel as well as community projects in the Kingwood and surrounding area. As a licensed minister, Dr. Sarvadi received her masters and THD from the Center for the Study of Biblical Research in Redlands California. Studying under some of the most prominent Hebraic Scholars in the world. Dr. Sarvadi finished her THD in 2006 in 1st century Christianity. Having homes in both the Houston and the North Texas area, the Sarvadi’s felt a strong leading to start The Nathaniel Fellowship in McKinney, TX. in 2007. This secret treasure home bible study meets weekly for the teachings in The Word, special Shabbat dinners bi-monthly and celebrations of the major Biblical feasts. Now with over 30 deeply committed people attending this organic home bible fellowship its development and existence paints a picture of how early 1st century believers developed communities of faith.
Pastor Gladys Seahorn
Gladys Pratt-Seahorn is the Founder, President & CEO of City of Refuge Global Outreach Ministry (formerly GPS Ministries, Inc.) locally based in Houston, Texas. Gladys is the author of a series of booklets entitled “Inspirational Principles for Practical Living”, that are used by women groups, churches, and Bible Study groups around the United States, as well as in the Caribbean, 52-Day Prayer Guide, and From Passover to Pentecost. She conducts workshops, women conferences, and revivals throughout the United States and abroad. Gladys is the wife of Ivan Seahorn, Sr. and they have four sons. She is a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Hebraic-Christian Studies (IHCS) in Houston, where Dr. Richard Booker mentors her in biblical Zionism and Jewish roots of Christianity. Presently, Gladys is an instructor for IHCS. Classes are held weekly at City of Refuge Global Outreach Ministry.
Dr. Anna Steinberger
Anna Steinberger was born in Radom, Poland and was 11 years old when she fled with her parents to escape German occupation during WWII. Despite numerous hardships, she managed to continue her education first in the Soviet Union and then in medicine, in Frankfurt, Germany. After immigrating to the USA in 1949, she married and had two daughters. Steinberger received her MS degree from University of Iowa and PhD from Wayne State University. She taught and conducted biomedical research at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and then at University of Texas Medical School in Houston. Dr. Steinberger received numerous awards and recognitions for her research published in over 250 scientific articles and book chapters. After retiring from academia in 2001 as Professor Emerita, Anna continues to be actively involved in docent training and leading tours at Holocaust Museum Houston. She has served on its Board of Directors and numerous committees. She and her husband established the “Steinberger Endowment Fund for Docent Education” to ensure that well informed docents will educate future generations about the Holocaust and the importance of preventing genocides. Commissioner Steinberger considers her appointment to the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission a great privilege and unique opportunity for promoting Holocaust and genocide education in schools and institutions of higher learning, with the hope of preventing similar atrocities from happening again.
Dr. J. Doug Stringer is founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International, which birthed an international movement known as Somebody Cares. Somebody Cares has received recognition for the organization’s work nationally and globally. His years of ministry have taken him to numerous communities and nations; from urban to foreign missions; from garbage dumps to the palaces and halls of government leaders. As an Asian-American, Doug is considered a bridge-builder of reconciliation among various ethnic and religious groups. From preachers to politicians, he is recognized as an ambassador. Doug is a sought-after international conference and crusade speaker. Annually he addresses thousands throughout the U.S. and abroad on topics such as compassion evangelism, persevering leadership and community transformation, and more. Additionally he is invited by civic leaders including mayors and police officials to address issues in major cities across the US.
Dr. Todd Sutherland
“I and my incredible staff oversee many of the important activities occurring outside the classroom to include residence life and management of the residence halls, student activities, leadership development, multicultural and diversity education, student discipline, management of the pool and student center, intramural sports, student clubs and organizations, and new student conferences. ”
Michael K. Young
As president and tenured Professor of Law at the University of Washington from 2011 to 2015, he led the nation’s top public university in competing for federal research funding, as well as its ambitious plan to double the number of new companies based on UW research. He also launched the Global Innovation Exchange, a partnership in the State of Washington between the University of Washington, a major Chinese university and European universities. The University also more than doubled its fundraising during his tenure. Prior to that, he served as President and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Utah. Under President Young’s leadership, Utah raised its stature nationally and internationally, including becoming the nation’s top university in the number of new companies generated from university research. The University also built over a million square feet of academic and research space under President Young’s leadership.
Before assuming the presidency at Utah, he was Dean and Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School, and he was a professor at Columbia University for more than 20 years. He also has been a visiting professor and scholar at three universities in Japan.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, President Young has broad experience across legal, public service, and diplomatic arenas. He served as a law clerk to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has held a number of government positions, including Deputy Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, and Ambassador for Trade and Environmental Affairs in the Department of State during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Among many other international agreements, President Young worked extensively on the treaties related to German unification, as well as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Uruguay Round negotiations leading to the World Trade Organization, and the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. Subsequently, President Young served eight years on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which he chaired on two separate occasions.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
One day in 1937, 15 year old Zoly Zamir came home from his school in Bucharest, Romania, and announced to his astonished family that he had been told not to return because he was a Jew. Romania formally allied with Nazi Germany in November 1940, but well before then the government was already harshly persecuting the country’s Jews, restricting their business, civic, and educational opportunities. His education abruptly cut short, Zoly found a job in Bucharest’s Grand Hotel Lafayette, an elegant establishment that catered to an international clientele. The friendships and contacts he made there were to prove fortunate. For the next several years, as the fascist Iron Guard consolidated power in Romania and launched a campaign or terror against the Jews, Zoly remained relatively safe. His adventures at the hotel bear all the trappings of a spy novel: clandestine meetings, false identities, intrigue, and bribery. When Zoly learned that a group of young Romanian Jews was headed for Palestine under the auspices of the Youth Aliyah, a movement founded to rescue the Jewish children from Europe, he used his hotel contacts to secure the necessary paperwork and join them.
Arriving in Palestine in the spring of 1941, he apprenticed himself as a diamond polisher, eventually establishing a small business of his own. Zoly married Shoshana (Berti) Kempinski in 1944 and their daughter, Yelena was born two years later. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was established. In the War of Independence that followed, thousands of Holocaust survivors, including Zoly and his brother David, distinguished themselves in combat. Soon after arriving in Palestine in 1941, Zoly had joined the Haganah (the underground military organization of the Jewish Settlers in Palestine) so he was well-prepared for the battle. “I started the war in Tel Aviv and I finished it in Eilat. I went through Rehovot, to Gedera, to Be’er Sheva, all the way down to Eilat,” proudly recalls Zoly, who served as a staff sergeant with the military police.
Discharged in 1949, Zoly rejoined his family, which soon grew to include daughter Varda. He became the concierge of prestigious King David Hotel and later joined his stepfather in the restaurant business. In 1962 Zoly and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he worked as a salesman for a synthetic rubber company. After nearly two decades on the road, he was ready for a change. He and Shoshana moved to Houston in 1982, opening a series of delicatessens. They retired in 1990 but Zoly remains active as member of Congregation Beth Yeshurun and a volunteer at Seven Acres Geriatric Center and Holocaust Museum Houston. He is very proud of his two daughters, five grandchildren, and two great granddaughters. “I’m just a very lucky old man,” he reflects with a smile.
Rosian Zerner saw a picture of herself one day on an card inviting her to a Holocaust remembrance event! “I am the child in the photo chosen for this announcement!” she wrote to UNESCO… (see article)
Here is a short video with Rosian sharing her family album.