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.
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 started working as the Cultural Affairs officer at the Israeli Consulate to the Southwest, which is located in Houston, Texas, in March 2012. Prior to his arrival, he was the CEO of Notzar Theatre in Bat-Yam in Israel, an innovative and important troupe of professional stage artists under the artistic director Dalit Milstein. He holds a Master’s of Fine Arts from the Tel-Aviv University Arts Department, where he specialized in directing theatre. Guy has directed several theatre productions and has also taught drama analysis for stage and acting at several acting schools in Israel.
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.
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.
Commissioner Martin Fein
Distinguished Leader in the Jewish Community and Child of Holocaust Survivor Wolf Finkelman who was born on December 12, 1928 in Savin, Poland. Wolf lost his parents and all six siblings in the Holocaust, but was blessed to arrive in New York Harbor on his 18th birthday in 1946, finally settling in Houston a short time later. Steve is President of Hillel Texas and advisor for the Holocaust Garden of Remembrance at King’s Harbor.
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 chord 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 theTexas 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.
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.
(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.
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.
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. “As children, we were not allowed to play in the streets or go to school,” Steinfeld said. “The Germans were not allowed to buy from Jewish citizens. Our parents whispered about how bad things were. They only wanted to protect us,” she said of then 6-year-old sister, Lea. But little did Steinfeld know that bad would become worse. 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 Pyrennes mountains. “The screams and cries did not diminish when we arrived at our destination,” she recalled. “It was dirty, there was mud and no toilets. The mud was human excrement. We were given straw to sleep on and a bowl to eat with. We heard loud screams day and night”. 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….
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
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 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.