fot. The Neubauer Family Foundation

The Neubauer Family Foundation

The Neubauer Family Foundation’s gift to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was made to honor the memory of Miles Lerman.

Miles Lerman (1920-2008) was born in Tomaszów Lubelski, Poland. Deported to a Nazi slave labor camp, he escaped, and spent the rest of World War II fighting as a partisan in the forests of Galicia. After the war, he became a U.S. citizen. A champion of democracy, he never lost his sense of urgency in combatting the insidious damage of totalitarian ideologies.

Mr. Lerman’s primary philanthropic focus was on Holocaust remembrance. He was a founder of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and chairman of its International Relations Committee (which negotiated with then-Communist governments to obtain Holocaust artifacts and access to sequestered archives). He raised the funds to build the Museum and from 1993 till 2000 served as Chairman of its Council.

He then turned his attention to creating a memorial and learning center to commemorate the 500,000 victims of the Bełżec camp, meeting with Pope John Paul II to enlist his support. Additionally, Mr. Lerman served on the International Council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

After the fall of communism, Mr. Lerman worked with like-minded Polish colleagues toward reconciliation between the Polish and Jewish communities. He believed in the power of education and the impact that cultural institutions such as this Museum could have. For these efforts and his work to improve Poland’s stature in the United States, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, in 2004.