Les & Sybil Rosenberg

2019 Spirit of Anne Frank Awards Gala

June 17, 2019 6:00 - 10:00 pm

The Edison Ballroom, West 46th Street, New York, NY, USA

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2019 Honorees


Welcome to the 2019 Spirit of Anne Frank Awards (SAFA), the 23rd annual fundraising gala for the Anne Frank Center USA. We hope you can join us for this night to remember, as we recognize this year's most remarkable students as they usher in the next generation of humanitarians. We are also pleased to announce this year's distinguished honorees:

SAFA Interfaith Unity Award

  • The Congregations of
    Linwood & Al Noor Mosques (Christchurch, New Zealand),
    Tree of Life * Or L'Simcha Synagogue (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
    & Emanuel AME Church (Charleston, South Carolina)

    This year we recognize the congregations of the Linwood and Al Noor Masjids, Tree of Life * Or L'Simcha Synagogue and Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church at the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards. The world has been deeply moved by the horrifying tragedies in Christchurch, New Zealand; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; and elsewhere. We share in the mourning yet are also inspired by the spirit of solidarity that has emerged.

SAFA Human "Writes" Award

  • Jack J. Hersch
    Author of Death March Escape

    Every now and then, there's a story that demonstrates vividly the optimism that guided Anne Frank despite her oppressive conditions. Jack Hersch has brilliantly accomplished that with his memoir about his father's experiences in the Death March from Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps..We recognize his retelling of this remarkable story with our 2019 Human "Writes" Award.

SAFA Legacy of Hope Award

  • Pieter & Susan Kohnstam

    Holocaust survivor, lecturer, and author of A Chance to Live
    Community volunteers

    A lifetime of service has guided the humanitarian duo of Susan and Pieter Kohnstam, who for decades have prompted peace, unity, compassion, and understanding through their voluntary service. This year they receive our Legacy of Hope Award, acknowledging their tireless commitment to teaching about the Holocaust and its frightening relevance to events today.

Hope is the Key

Honoree bios: https://www.annefrank.com/safa

For more information on attending, volunteering, or sponsoring the event, please contact us at [email protected]. We hope to see you there!

2019 Education Awards


SAFA Outstanding Student Scholarship Awards

  • Masaraat Asif
    Frisco, Texas
    Through "Project LifePack," Masaraat collected supplies and volunteered to assist migrant families en route from detention facilities.

  • Emily Herrmann
    Clarkston, Michigan
    Inspired by the power of music to engage children with cognitive and sensory disorders, Emily installed an "outdoor musical playground" in her community.

  • Emilia Peters
    Los Angeles, California
    Sharing art as a means of therapeutic self-expression, Emilia launched KEM Creative Art Studios to work with homeless children.

  • Grace Schuler
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
    To inspire self-confidence and public speaking skills, Grace founded "SpeakOut!" and has helped more than 100 kids find their voice.

SAFA Teacher-of-the-Year

  • Robert Lurie
    Lansing, Michigan
    As a high school teacher at Waverly Community Schools, Robert Lurie introduces his students to a wide diversity of faiths and cultures, fostering opportunities for direct engagement with survivors and immigrants from a variety of backgrounds. His students are connected to humanitarian causes throughout the world, including India, Mexico, Rwanda, Europe, and elsewhere, through travel, guests, Peace Corps, and Skype sessions, and his curriculum ensures that students understand the world's ongoing history of genocide. As the director of an international cultural program at Michigan State University, Robert Lurie has created a podcast series on "Educating Newcomers" as a guide for faculty to welcome international students and refugees, and to gain a more practical understanding of the opportunities and challenges they bring. We are inspired by his decades-long commitment to education and to Anne Frank's enduring legacy of compassion and humanity.

Outstanding Educator certificates

  • Brendan Murphy
    Atlanta, Georgia
    As a high school teacher at the Marist School, Brendan Murphy has led student trips to Washington, DC and across Europe to visit concentration camps and other significant historical sites, and authored the comprehensive "Bearing Witness" guide for ACIS (the American Council for International Studies) on best practices in Holocaust education. He has worked exhaustively to create interfaith programs connecting Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam, including a program he started called "Peace by Piece" and partnering with the local Am Yisrael Chai organization to participate in the Daffodil Project, planting flowers to commemorate each life lost through the Holocaust. He is a frequent guest lecturer and leader in professional development seminars, including through the United States Holocaust Museum.

  • Elliot L. Hearst
    New York, New York
    As an adjunct faculty member at Pace University, Elliot Hearst has guided students through fascinating research on the helpers of the Holocaust, through the exhaustive process of documenting stories and identifying photos of one of the families who assisted the Franks at the Secret Annex, including first-person interviews with descendants. He has also worked with student research assistants on "Escape from the List," documenting a Jewish family from the Netherlands whose ancestors had previously escaped the Spanish Inquisition.

With special guests:

  • Joel Grey
    Special Guest
    Throughout his six-decade career in entertainment, Joel Grey has achieved acclaim as an award-winning actor, singer, dancer, director, and photographer, known today as one of Broadway's legendary personalities. He has also gained an understanding of himself which he's shared through his 2016 memoir, "Master of Ceremonies." We are thrilled to welcome him as a special guest at the 2019 Spirit of Anne Frank Awards.

  • Gillian Walnes Perry
    Master of Ceremonies
    This year we again welcome Gillian Walnes Perry, MBE, as our Master of Ceremonies for the evening. As the AFC Community Outreach Ambassador, Gillian advocates on behalf of the programs and partnerships available to friends of the Anne Frank Center USA, generously lending the guidance and expertise she gained through her role as the Founding Director of the Anne Frank Trust UK.

Gala Host Committee:

With many thanks to the esteemed members of our 2019 SAFA gala host committee:

  • Amanda Bailey
  • Evi Blaikie
  • Donna Cohen
  • Sharon & Preston Douglas, Esq
  • David Estrin
  • George Fechter
  • Charles H. F. Garner, Esq
  • Irene R. Gottlieb
  • Jack J. Hersch & Polly Leider
  • Pieter & Susan Kohnstam
  • Lauren & Michael McGowan
  • Tony & Amy Polak
  • Jud Newborn, PhD
  • Elon & Gillian Walnes Perry
  • Elisa Rapaport, PhD
  • Peter Rapaport, PhD
  • Les & Sybil Rosenberg
  • Owen Schabio
  • William Schabio
  • Siddhartha Shah, PhD
  • Jane & Rabbi Barton Shallat
  • Wilma Tootle
  • Gerhard Vanderpoel

Hosted By

Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect


The Edison Ballroom, West 46th Street, New York, NY, USA

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