The Foundation Of Education And Support Of Testimony Based Education
Suzi Weiss-Fischmann’s commitment to testimony-based education comes from her roots. The co-founder of OPI Products, Weiss-Fischmann was born in Hungary, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who endured the horrors of Auschwitz. Her mother’s experiences and her own early life in Hungary reinforced the importance of education as a way of countering hatred. It’s a major reason why she has supported the Institute for more than a decade, and why she recently joined the Institute’s Board of Councilors.
Weiss-Fischmann’s support of the Institute began with her decision to fund Teaching with Testimony initiatives in her native Hungary. “It’s such an important thing in Hungary and other countries of the former Soviet Bloc,” she said. “The history of these places and the deeply rooted antisemitism there makes education vitally important.”
Weiss-Fischmann has been inspired by the scale and effectiveness of the Institute’s educational work in Eastern Europe, where the Institute has trained more than 500 teachers in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and elsewhere to counter antisemitism and other forms of hatred through the use of testimony. Weiss-Fischmann’s own mother – Magda Weiss – gave her testimony in 2015. Weiss-Fischmann was in the room at the time, and recalls that it was the first time she heard much of the story.
“It was a deeply moving and meaningful experience,” she says. “It definitely gave me a sense of how powerful the stories of survivors are.”