Holocaust Museum Houston to Honor Two Houstonians as Guardians of the Human Spirit

HOUSTON, TX (October 17, 2006) Holocaust Museum Houston will conclude its 10th anniversary celebrations this fall with a Nov. 9 luncheon honoring two Houstonians whose work has changed the lives of people not just in Houston, but literally around the world.

Martin J. Fein and Sandra G. Weiner will be recognized at the 10th Anniversary presentation of the Museum’s Guardian of the Human Spirit awards, set for 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 9, at the InterContinental Houston hotel, 2222 West Loop South.

This year’s luncheon is already sold out, with an expected crowd of more than 930 people. This year’s luncheon is chaired by Tali and Eric Blumrosen and presented by The Lester & Sue Smith Foundation, with Houston Modern Luxury magazine as the primary media sponsor. Finance Chairs are brothers Jonathan H. Lack and Stephen P. Lack.

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.

"Sandra and Martin were the driving forces behind our Museum’s founding," said Museum Chairman Peter N. Berkowitz. "Sandra was pivotal in convincing the Jewish community leadership of the importance of a Holocaust museum not only for the Jewish community but for the entire Houston community. Martin, the museum’s first chairman and the son of Holocaust survivors, was instrumental in managing the fund-raising and program development necessary for such a visionary endeavor that, since its creation, has touched the lives of people in countries as far away as Russia, China, Uruguay, Chile and Peru."

"Because of their vision and guidance, our curriculum school trunk program has impacted more than 2 million children around the world, and 1,500 more students learn the lessons of the Holocaust each day through our varied educational programming. Without the courage, leadership and vision of Martin and Sandra, that would never have been possible," Berkowitz said.

Weiner has been an active and dedicated member of the Jewish community on the local, national and international levels since her arrival in Houston from Duluth, Minnesota more than 50 years ago. Educated in Minnesota and then at the University of Colorado, her organizational involvement has touched on every aspect of Jewish and civic life, particularly in the building of the Houston Jewish community, starting initiatives for Jewish cultural projects nationally and support for the State of Israel.

At Congregation Brith Shalom, she served as the first female president of a local synagogue. Her next leadership role was in the Jewish Federation, the cause that has best exemplified her belief that each person is responsible for the other and that led to creation of the Museum. As its president in 1990, she embraced the idea of Holocaust survivor Siegi Izakson and others that Houston need a permanent education center and memorial and used her influence to raise funds and bring the Museum to reality.

Since that time, she has remained an active member of the Museum’s Board of Directors.

It was Weiner who recruited Fein to serve as the new Museum’s founding chairman, a role which saw him move the Museum from a single room at the Federation’s own building first, then into its own offices in Southwest Houston and later into its current award-winning facility in Houston’s Museum District.

Since settling in Houston in 1973, Fein has been actively involved in the Houston community. He is a recipient of the JINSA Community Leadership Award and the New Life/New Leadership Award of the State of Israel Bonds. He has also served on several bank boards and currently serves on the board of Compass Bank Houston. He has also served on the boards of the Society for the Performing Arts, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Congregation Beth Yeshurun and the Jewish Federation. He is past chair of the Southwest Region Board of the Anti-Defamation League as well as a past member of the National Commission and the National Executive Committee of the ADL. Fein is married to Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein and has five children.

This year’s event also will focus on second and third generations of Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans in an effort to better engage them as future leaders in the fight to teach the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Fein is the son of Holocaust survivors Celina Fein and the late Ely Fein. Tali Blumrosen’s father, John W. Haenosh, was a survivor, and Ruth Vinn Hendler Lack, mother of the event finance chairs, was a survivor who worked closely with Weiner and Fein and was the Museum’s second executive director until her death in a car accident in 1994. Eric Blumrosen is the son of the late WWII veteran J.R. Blumrosen.

Previous recipients of the award have included Naomi Warren and Fred Zeidman, Joan and Stanford Alexander, Ed Wulfe, the H-E-B grocery chain, Jack Blanton, The Houston Chronicle, the Rev. William A. Lawson, Ron Stone, Julie and Ben Rogers, Linda P. Lay and Siegi Izakson.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the six million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline Street, Houston, Texas 77004.

For more information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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Holocaust Museum Houston is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

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Museum Hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Museum Admission:

$12 for adults
$8 for active-duty military and AARP members
Free for children, students and college-level students with valid ID
Free admission on Sundays

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