Judy and Mark Alpert

Eradicating Dehumanization

Dr. Judy Alpert is the child of Holocaust survivors. Born in Hungary during the 1956 revolution, she and her parents escaped to the United States from Budapest when she was 10. Her husband, Mark, was born during World War II and is acutely aware that if he had been born where his grandparents fled the pogroms in the late 19th century, he would have not survived the Holocaust.

“We owe an unpayable debt to those who perished,” said Dr. Mark Alpert, explaining why he and Judy give to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute annually. “We want to do everything we can to honor their memory. And to remind future generations of the lost lives and contributions to humanity of those whose murders left all of us poorer as human beings.”

Dr. Judy Alpert said the gathering and the preservation of testimony are profoundly important in educating future generations about historical truths.

“And preventing historical revisionists from denying and distorting factual events,” said Alpert, a singer, jazz vocalist, pianist, arranger, college professor, and published music researcher.

USC alumnus Dr. Mark Alpert, Mark I. Foleys Professor in Retailing at The University of Texas at Austin, said the Institute’s testimonies can help students develop empathy, embrace tolerance and reject bullying, bigotry and racism.

“I visited Dachau [concentration camp] when I was 22, and I have had a hard time with racial jokes and stereotypes ever since,” he said. “I realized that anything that permits us to think of others as less human, or less worthy, based on what we want to think of as our ‘superiority’ to those we deem different, based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, and a host of other reasons for dehumanization, makes it all the easier to marginalize — or worse.”