MA Milestones

March of the Living Keeps Holocaust Survivor Pledge alive

BOSTON – Israel “Izzy” Arbeiter, 96, died on Oct. 29, just weeks after being honored by the New England Friends of March of the Living (NEF MOTL) at their Second Annual Tribute Event ‘Voices from the Past… Lessons for the Future.’ 

The theme of the event was “A promise kept: Honoring the enduring impact of Israel ‘Izzy’ Arbeiter.” Arbeiter, a resident of Newton, received the Stephan Ross Excellence in Holocaust Education Award, named for New England Holocaust Memorial Founder, Stephan Ross. Arbeiter and Ross were lifelong friends after arriving in Boston following World War II. Both men dedicated their lives to ensure critical lessons of the Holocaust would never be forgotten.

Arbeiter lost most of his family in Nazi death camps during World War II. He devoted much of the last 75 years to keeping a promise he made to his father the last time he saw him — to “never forget” and to “continue to tell the world what happened to the Jews.”

Arbeiter passionately spoke to audiences of all ages and backgrounds on three continents about his family story and about the roots of prejudice. He was founder and former president of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston, was appointed by President Barak Obama to the delegation of the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and received the Order of Merit from his native Poland, presented by the Polish President. He testified at the Nuremberg trials, participated in a World War II documentary film entitled “A Promise to My Father,”  and was instrumental in creating the New England Holocaust Memorial.

Arbeiter took special interest in the New England Friends of the March of the Living, part of an international organization that annually sends 10,000 Jewish high schoolers on an educational, life-changing heritage mission to Poland and Israel. That involvement also was in keeping with the pledge he made to his father. Via the NEFMOTL, every qualified participant will receive $2,000 toward the cost of the 2022 trip.  

The N. E. Friends of March of the Living is now recruiting for the 2022 trip.  For more information or to donate toward scholarships, contact Irv Kempner, chair of NEFMOTL at Irv@MOTLnewengland.org  or (617) 285-8620.

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