Trudy Elbaum Gottesman

Voice of History

Trudy Elbaum Gottesman keeps her family tree in her purse, close to her at all times, so she will always remember the names of relatives who were murdered in the Holocaust.

At 15, her mother Sala survived by being old enough to work as a slave laborer in concentration camps alongside her eldest sister. Their siblings and parents, whom the Nazis judged too young or too old to be of value, were taken away and never seen again. Elbaum Gottesman’s father Izak was in labor camps, escaped and fought with the Polish Army, formed in Russia, against the Germans. Sala and Izak lost over a hundred family members during the Holocaust.

Still, the accounts of survivors give her hope. “If the testimonies have taught us anything, it’s to be vigilant, and to strive for the best in humanity,” she says. “We must take action to fulfill those hopes, and it’s an ongoing, difficult task.”

One of the acts Gottesman has taken is serving on USC Shoah Foundation’s Board of Councilors to help maintain the Institute’s leadership in combating antisemitism and hatred. “The Institute’s underlying strength is its commitment to documenting the true voice of history,” she says.

“I'm grateful to be able to support USC Shoah Foundation,” she adds. “It is the best in its class. Not only is it a leader in terms of its collections and curriculum but also in its generosity to share those with other groups that teach the Holocaust.”