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With increased antisemitic incidents nationwide and hate rhetoric permeating social media, Sandra Kanengiser directed $1 million from the Jack and Goldie Nomberg Foundation to support free educational tours for students at Holocaust Museum LA.

The Museum annually welcomes 30,000 fourth grade through high school students – primarily from underserved communities – for customized, docent-led tours and conversations with Holocaust survivors, and will soon break ground on a major expansion project. By 2030 the Museum expects to welcome half a million visitors annually, including 150,000 students.

As a result of participating in a tour of Holocaust Museum LA, 95% of students agreed that young people should learn about the Holocaust to stop something like it from happening again and 85% said they would say or do something if they heard negative comments or jokes about any religion, other races or ethnicities.

The Jack and Goldie Nomberg Foundation was funded by Jack Nomberg, who died in 2019 at the age of 101. Jack and his wife Goldie were both Holocaust survivors who met in Los Angeles in the 1950’s and built a successful wholesale and retail textile business. Jack’s niece Sandra Kanengiser directed this grant to Holocaust Museum LA in memory of her parents, Robert and Barbara Gerson, who were also survivors.

Goldie & Jack Nomberg

Barbara was born in Poland in 1924. Shortly after Nazi Germany invaded Poland, she left Lodz at her family's insistence for Czestochowa, where she met and married Robert Gerson. During the next few years, she and her husband were imprisoned and worked at a forced labor camp. After liberation, she reunited with her brother, Jack Nomberg in Landsberg am Lech, Germany Barbara and Robert immigrated to the United States in 1949, first to New York, and then in 1961, moved to Los Angeles.

Barbara & Robert Gerson

Barbara said, “All of us survived against the odds. We prevailed, endured. Our victory and destiny was to survive and bear witness against the heinous crimes committed against our families and mankind by the Nazis.” Both Robert and Barbara were active in The 1939 Society, the first organization started by survivors to promote Holocaust education and remembrance. They both served as president of the 1939 Society. They regularly spoke of their experiences to school groups and Barbara was a docent at Holocaust Museum LA.

Joseph, Gabe, Sandra, Rebecca (Barstow) and Lewis Kanengiser

Sandra Kanengiser said, “My parents talked about the war frequently and it was an important part of my children’s upbringing too. Our goal in making this grant is to further education toward reducing and eliminating antisemitism and hate crimes.” Her son Joey added, “We want to carry on the legacy of my grandparents who believed that educating the next generation was the most impactful way to fight hatred.”

Beth Kean, Holocaust Museum LA CEO, said, “Sadly our community of Holocaust survivors is shrinking and conversely Holocaust denial and antisemitism are increasing. Education combats misinformation and is our biggest catalyst for change. We are so grateful to the Kanengiser family for honoring the survivors in their family with this generous grant in support of our student tours program. Students who enter our Museum as bystanders leave as upstanders.”


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