In Memory of Natalie Sharf

In Memory of Natalie Scharf

We mourn the passing of Natalie Scharf, Survivor and long time supporter of our mission.

Ms. Scharf, whose Hebrew name is Necha bat Rasel, was born in Jaworzno, Poland in 1925. The Holocaust decimated her family – her parents, Yitzhak and Rasel, and three sisters, Chava, Rivka, and Sarah, were killed along with many others; she survived but spent several harrowing years in the Gabersdorf labor camp. Her brother, Leon, and one sister, Yadja, also survived. She met her husband, Bernard, in a displaced persons camp after the war and in 1947 they settled in Philadelphia. Ms. Scharf worked as a seamstress for many years and was a member and choir singer with the Association of Jewish New Americans. She overcame her experiences to build a loving family and is survived by her son, Jeffrey and daughter-in-law Nancy, and her daughter Andie and son-in-law Yehuda as well as grandchildren Joshua, Michael, Cara, Niva, and Jonathan, and great grandchildren Aidan, Daria, and Benjamin, plus many other family members both blood and chosen.

Give a Gift in Memory of Natalie

Watch a clip of her video testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation

Arizona becomes 18th State to mandate Holocaust education.

Governor Ducey Signs Holocaust Education Bill

Governor Ducey Signs Holocaust Education BillJuly 9, 2021

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation to ensure the next generation of Arizonans learns about the horrors of the Holocaust and the more than six million lives lost at the hands of evil.

“Arizona will continue to stand with and support the Jewish community,” said Governor Ducey. “This bill works to educate our youth on the atrocities of the Holocaust and other genocides. Tragedies like this must never be allowed to happen again. This bill is a step in the right direction to fight antisemitism in our state, but our work is far from over. We have seen a rise in crimes against individuals in several communities, and we must do more to prevent any additional harm and suffering. Antisemitism is real. I would like to thank Representative Alma Hernandez for her many years of work on this important issue, as well as all the survivors who played a crucial role in making this bill a reality.”

House Bill 2241 requires that all Arizona students receive education on the Holocaust and other genocides during their K-12 education at least twice between seventh and twelfth grade.

Antisemitism has been on the rise in recent years with incidents in Queen Creek, Chandler and most recently at the Chabad on River Synagogue in Tucson. In 2020, there were over 2,000 incidents of antisemitism around the country and 23 incidents in Arizona, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Already this year, there have been 10 incidents in Arizona.

“This was a community effort, and I am proud to see it finally get done. This legislation is an important step to honor both those lost in the Holocaust and the survivors who have worked tirelessly to tell their stories,” said Representative Alma Hernandez. “I’m grateful to Governor Ducey for signing this bill into law. Knowing that all Arizona students will learn about the Holocaust gives me hope. We must teach the atrocities of the past to ensure it never happens again.”

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2019, fewer than half of respondents could correctly answer multiple-choice questions about the number of Jewish individuals who were murdered during the Holocaust or the way that Adolf Hitler came to power.

In Memory of Michael Herskovitz

In Memory of Michael Herskovitz

We mourn the passing of our Holocaust survivor speaker, HAMEC Board member, and dear friend Michael Herskovitz on May 30th 2021. Michael was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929. At 15 years old in 1944, Michael and his family were taken in cattle cars to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he was separated from his parents and four siblings. He unfortunately would not be reunited with his parents, as they were killed at Auschwitz. Michael spent six months in Auschwitz and the remainder of WWII in the concentration camps Mauthausen and Gunskirchen until liberation in May of 1945.

and the 1956 Sinai War. In 1959 Michael immigrated to the United States and settled in the Philadelphia area. Arriving in the United States with a limited education and speaking no English, he worked long hours acquiring a trade as an automobile mechanic and teaching himself English. Soon a representative from Gulf Oil approached Michael to purchase and run a franchise. Three gas stations, two parts stores, four shoe stores in Philadelphia and Miami, later Michael established himself as a self-made successful businessman – a shining example of the American Dream.After the war Michael moved to Israel and fought in both the 1948 War for Independence

Michael HerskovitzMichael dedicated the last 30+ years to educating students about the Holocaust. Michael was an instrumental part of our remarkable growth in the number of school programs served over the last 12 years. Michael reached tens of thousands of eager young people with his amazing story of survival and his positive attitude about life. He has told his story across the country and all over the world to students with the advent of Skype and Zoom. We at HAMEC are so grateful that he devoted his time to educate so many students over the years about what happened to him and his family because of unbridled hatred he faced as a young man. Michael inspired so many to become upstanders against prejudice and hatred.

We send our condolences to his wonderful wife and teammate on his mission, Tonya. We will miss him, and we will honor his life and memory by continuing to tell his story.

Suite 203/205

8339 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027

Give a Gift in Memory of Michael

Download Michael’s Biography Here (pdf).