HOUSTON, TX (November 8, 2005) – More than 920
people were on hand on Wednesday, Nov. 2, to honor two Houstonians who
have worked to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind.
Holocaust Museum Houston’s annual “Guardian of the Human Spirit”
luncheon at the Westin Galleria Houston hotel, 5060 W. Alabama, raised
more than $520,000 to support ongoing educational programs that promote
awareness of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and apathy against the
backdrop of the Holocaust and to enable the Museum to continue to offer
free general admission to the public.
The event honored Naomi Warren, a Houston area Holocaust survivor
who went on to establish a national program to train teachers in ways
to teach the dangers of hatred and prejudice, and Fred Zeidman, another
Houstonian who has contributed extraordinary time and resources to
humanitarian and educational initiatives and who serves as current
chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.
This year’s luncheon was chaired by Punkin and Walter Hecht and
presented by The Smith Foundation. Honorary chairs included President
George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush. Scott McClelland and Lester Smith
served as finance chairs.
The Museum established the Guardian of the Human Spirit award in
1997 as a platform for acknowledging dedicated Houstonians who have
worked to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind.
"This award recognizes individuals or organizations that have
demonstrated a true commitment to community service and that have
reached beyond themselves to build an open-minded society for the
betterment of all residents of Houston. I can think of no more
deserving individuals than Fred Zeidman and Naomi Warren," said Peter
N. Berkowitz, chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors.
Warren overcame her own personal tragedy to become a symbol of
perseverance, determination and success. Born in Eastern Poland, she
survived three concentration camps during the Holocaust. Her first
husband, Alexander Rosenbaum, died in Auschwitz in 1942, but Naomi
survived the war and later immigrated to the United States in 1946.
She married Holocaust survivor Martin Warren, and together the
couple raised a family and established a successful import company.
After her husband’s death, she continued to run the business until her
retirement in 2002.
Today, she is an active member of the boards of Holocaust Museum
Houston, The Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federation. She has
been honored by the National Association for Danish Enterprise in
recognition of her work on trade relations between the United States
and Denmark and was recently asked by Houston Mayor Bill White to serve
on the board of the Houston Katrina Relief Fund.
An active member of the Museum, she and her family established the
Museum’s Warren Fellowship program in 2003 to train future teachers on
strategies and approaches for bringing Holocaust education into the
classroom. Since that time, almost 60 future teachers from Texas and
Washington, D.C., have completed the free, week-long training session
to learn how to teach the history of the Holocaust and the dangers of
hatred, prejudice and discrimination.
Zeidman serves as chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council
and has committed his time, energies and resources to support many
humanitarian, political and educational initiatives and organizations,
including the Houston Jewish Community Foundation, State of Israel
Bonds, Texas Inter-Faith Housing Corporation and Baylor College of
He is vice chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and was
co-chairman of the "Victory ‘04" Florida Jewish Outreach campaign. He
recently was honored at a benefit for the Future of Yiddish Theatre in
America and received the 2005 Lifetime Hero Award from Texas Southern
Previous recipients of the award have included Joan and Stanford
Alexander, Ed Wulfe, the HEB grocery chain, Jack Blanton, The Houston
Chronicle, the Rev. William A. Lawson, Ron Stone, Julie and Ben Rogers,
Linda P. Lay and Siegi Izackson.
Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public
of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop
of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding and education.
Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is
located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline Street, Houston,
TX 77004. For more information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.