Holocaust Survivors awarded Germany’s Order of Merit
In recognition of their service as witnesses to the Holocaust, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier honored survivors Anita Lasker-Wallfisch and Henrietta Kretz with the highest civilian honor, the Order of Merit. Due to the pandemic, the president was unable to confer the medals personally but sent handwritten notes acknowledging their dedication to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive and providing a strong voice against current antisemitism, right extremism and racism.
Both Anita and Henrietta’s testimonies are in the Visual History Archive. In 2015, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch returned to the Institute to participate in the Dimensions in Testimony project. At the time, she conducted her interview in English. In 2019, with support from EVZ Stiftung „Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft“, Anita provided the first German language testimony for the project. While beta testing began in coooperation with the German Museum of Technology in Berlin in February 2020, due to covid and closing of the Museum, the testing was shifted to an online environment using IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation's educational platform. After successful completion of the testing phase, USC SF hopes to integrate Anita Lasker-Walffisch’s German language interactive biography into German language education programming.
“In classrooms around the world, generations of students learn about Anita and Henrietta's experiences during the Holocaust and this in turn promotes hope, tolerance and the denunciation of hatred,” stated USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi Executive Director Stephen Smith. “They have devoted their lives to education impact, making this is a well-deserved honor.”