The Jewish History Museum/Holocaust History Center will honor Rosie Eilat-Kahn on Sunday at its 2019 Fall Benefit, “A Call to Courage.”
“Rosie has been a leader among the second generation of Holocaust survivors in this community for decades,” says Bryan Davis, executive director of the museum. “She has coordinated the Holocaust survivors’ speakers bureau, organized teachers’ workshops, and served on the steering committee for our community-wide Yom HaShoah commemoration. She was a leading voice in the effort to establish our Holocaust History Center. In fact, the very origins of Holocaust education in Tucson trace back to Rosie’s days as a middle school student when she introduced her social studies teacher, Ray Davies, to her parents, Meyer and Susan Neuman, both survivors of Auschwitz. Ray then spent the next several decades working to develop and implement Holocaust studies in districts across Southern Arizona.”
The Neumans were among the first survivors to settle in Tucson, moving here in 1956, notes Davis.
“It’s an honor for me to do this work because of my parents being Holocaust survivors, and I feel it is a tribute to their memory,” says Eilat-Kahn. For the past 10 years, she has been involved in providing speakers for classrooms.
“We’re still trying to use survivors as much as possible, but when we can’t get a survivor, we’re looking to encourage second-generation people to step up and take over,” she says, adding that she does speak to school groups that come to the museum.
“I used to accompany my mom into classrooms” as well as accompanying other survivors, she says. Her parents both died in 2010.
“Kids are always extremely interested. I see a lot of compassion with the children,” Eilat-Kahn says. “When I talk to the kids, I always say to them at the very end — even when I went with my mom — that they have a very important job to do because the children today are the last generation that will ever be able to say I actually knew a survivor of the Holocaust. And it’s their job to carry on in light of the fact that so many people are denying that the Holocaust actually happened. I always tell them it’s their job to step up and say, ‘No, it did happen, because I actually saw a survivor.’”
Hedy Feuer is event chair for the benefit and immediate past president of the museum.
“I’ve known Rosie for approximately 30 years, when our kids met at Anshei preschool,” says Feuer. “We’ve been very good friends. I admire her for her involvement in the Jewish community. I too am a second-generation survivor, so we have a lot in common.
“She is a wonderful example of teaching your children, l’dor v’dor, about Jewish education and Jewish values.
“I had the pleasure of knowing her parents because they were very active in the children’s school lives and in Anshei Israel. Her parents also knew my mother, when she would come out to visit, so there was that wonderful connection. I remember her parents very fondly.”
The event begins on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 11:30 a.m. with a reception on the patio at Westward Look Resort, with a luncheon beginning at noon. It will include a presentation by Count Ferdinand von Galen, the nephew of a German bishop who protested against the Nazis. Tickets are $100. The Westward Look Resort is located at 245 E. Ina Road. Register at www.jewishhistorymuseum.org or contact Gugulethu Moyo at 670-9073.