New Henia Leibman Fellowship to Send Teachers to Study Holocaust in Israel

HOUSTON, TX (Aug. 4,  2009) – Up to two Houston-area educators a year will get the opportunity of a lifetime to study the Holocaust in Israel thanks to a recent endowment of the Henia Leibman Fellowship at Holocaust Museum Houston.

Every year Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial and education center dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, selects teachers from around the globe to attend its 18-day International Seminar. The Leibman Fellowship will fund local educators’ trips to study with scholars at Yad Vashem as well as explore Israel with historical guides.

The fellowship was formed with a gift from John Hagee Ministries in memory of Holocaust Museum Houston founding member Henia Leibman, daughter of Holocaust survivors, who died peacefully on March 28, 2009 at the age of 62. Hagee and his organization have worked with the Museum to create a $100,000 endowment fund that will provide support for the scholarships for educators to travel to Israel under the auspices of the Museum.

“During our treasured times together, Henia would recall stories of her family’s survival during the Holocaust, always capturing the need for providing the next generation with the truth about one of the most tragic moments in world history,” Hagee said. “It is only fitting that the fellowship established in her name offers its recipients an intensive education of the history of Henia’s beloved Israel and its people.”

“The Henia Leibman Fellowship will initiate a unique and rich opportunity for Houston-area educators to hone their abilities as teachers of the Holocaust,” said Museum Executive Director Susan Myers. “To visit Yad Vashem is, in itself, a significant experience. The personal and educative journey offered by the International Seminar requires open-mindedness and physical, intellectual and emotional stamina. To study there is profoundly life-changing. By learning from pre-eminent scholars, networking with others to teach about the Holocaust in settings around the world and by learning about the history and people of Israel, a teacher inevitably changes.”

Leibman was born in Israel on July 26, 1946, to Renia and Pesach Berzak. Pesach had fought with the Russian Partisans, liberators of Nazi Germany-occupied land, for much of World War II, while her mother Renia spent 22 months in hiding after losing her father and three younger siblings to the genocide that would claim more than 6 million Jews. Escaping with her mother from the Baranowicze Ghetto in Poland, Renia hid under the floorboards of their non-Jewish friends’ house, sitting virtually unmoving for the duration of their concealment.

Leibman is survived by her mother Renia Berzak; brother Harry Berzak and his wife Mandy; husband Richard Leibman; daughter Lara Leibman; sons Bryan and Neville Leibman with their wives Eleonora and Allison; and grandchildren Kate, Julia, Daniel and Philip Leibman.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 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 St., Houston, TX 77004.

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

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