About

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Who we are

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation (ABMF) is a group of historically minded individuals who believe that the existence of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, its authenticity, and its message will help prevent a reoccurrence of the hatred, racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia that led to the Holocaust.

Our mission

Our Mission is to secure the preservation of the authentic remains of the former German Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and to seek Jewish voices of leadership for the future. While the physical site of Auschwitz Birkenau is located in the Republic of Poland, Jewish voices have had an influence on critically important decisions pertaining to the preservation and conservation of the Site. Most of these voices belonged to the Survivors. As the generation of Holocaust eyewitnesses passes away, we are committed to continuing the financial support for the preservation efforts and providing leadership for the Site.

The Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial Foundation (formerly “Friends of Auschwitz Birkenau Foundation”) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established in 2012.

Board of Directors & Staff

chairman
Ronald S. Lauder

International philanthropist, diplomat, public servant, entrepreneur, investor and patron of the arts, Ronald S. Lauder is deeply committed to his Jewish heritage and has worked tirelessly to help the Jewish community, worldwide, through a wide range of philanthropic and professional endeavors.

In 1983, Mr. Lauder began his public service career when he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs.

In 1986, he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Austria, by President Ronald Reagan. Upon his return from Vienna in 1987, he established The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, which now maintains 35 Jewish schools, kindergartens and summer camps throughout 15 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Over 7,500 children are enrolled in these schools today, and 2,500 children attend the summer camps. Over the years, the Foundation has educated more than 30,000 children in a region that was sadly devoid of Jewish learning during the Communist era and this has, in turn, helped build thriving Jewish communities throughout this area.

In June 2007, Mr. Lauder was elected to lead the World Jewish Congress, and has served as the organization’s President ever since. In this capacity, Mr. Lauder meets with heads of countries, diplomats and religious leaders around the world, representing Jewish communities in 100 countries.

In 1986, Mr. Lauder visited Auschwitz-Birkenau for the first time and was shocked to see that the camp had fallen into a terrible state of repair. Worried that the artifacts were disintegrating and would not be available for future generations to see, he immediately brought conservators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to help preserve these historic objects. Mr. Lauder spearheaded the international campaign that raised $40M for the preservation of the remaining barracks of Birkenau, as well as the mountains of shoes, suitcases, eyeglasses and other personal item that the Nazis took from Jewish inmates before they murdered them. Mr. Lauder believes this effort is of utmost importance in an age of Holocaust deniers and growing anti-Semitism throughout the world. Soon, the last eye-witnesses of the Holocaust will no longer be with us and the camp will stand as the only testament to what took place. For all these reasons, Mr. Lauder believes the integrity of the camp must always be maintained.

Vice-chairman
Joel Citron

Joel Citron is Co-CEO and Principal of Tenth Avenue Holdings, LLC (TAH). Prior to founding TAH in 2008, Mr. Citron spent 24 years as an executive of several operating and investment companies. Mr. Citron has served on the Board of Directors of many public and private companies in Europe and the United States.

Mr. Citron is currently Chief Investment Officer of TAH Management, LLC, Chairman of the Board of Tenth Avenue Commerce LLC, Avenue Income Credit Strategies Fund (NYSE: ACP), Avenue Mutual Fund Trust (Avenue Credit Strategies Investors ACSAX and ACSBX). He also serves on the Board of Evolution Gaming Group AB (SS:EVO), Attivio, Inc., Hello Products, LLC and Boulevard Acquisition Corp II.

Mr. Citron is actively involved in philanthropy. He is the past President and current executive committee member of the Board of Trustees at the Abraham Joshua Herschel School in New York (Nursery through 12th grade).

Mr. Citron is a board member of the Birthright Israel Foundation, the USC Shoah Foundation, Paideia – the European Institute for Jewish Studies, and Starfall Education Foundation. Mr. Citron holds an M.A. in Economics and a B.Sc. in Business Administration from University of Southern California.

 

members of the board

Gail Becker
Clifford Brandeis
Andrea Cayton
Joseph Finkelstein

Lewis Gantman
Andrew Intrater
Martin Karlinsky

Harry Krakowski
Kathy Rocklen
Howard Unger

Staff

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Dr. Maria Zalewska

Dr. Maria Zalewska is a media and Holocaust scholar who writes on the memory of the Holocaust in the digital age. She received her Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she continues to teach undergraduate students as a postdoctoral fellow. Her dissertation project, “#Holocaust: Rethinking the Relationship Between Spaces of Memory and Places of Commemoration In The Digital Age,” focused on the relationship between interactivity, visual studies, and Holocaust memory. Her research develops new directions in Holocaust Studies and innovative responses to the challenges facing Holocaust Education and Commemoration in the Digital Age.

Maria was the recipient of the 2016-2018 Mellon Fellowship in Digital Humanities, as well as the 2017 Graduate Research Fellowship at the USC Shoah Foundation. In years 2015-2020, she served on the Peabody Awards screening committee (Documentary Film category). She also consults for the online Holocaust remembrance project “Faces of Auschwitz.” After receiving her M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies from University in Oxford Maria served as the director of the Warsaw office of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. In 2017, Maria joined the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation as the Director of Education. She now serves as the Foundation’s Acting Director. Maria was born and raised in Warsaw. Her great-grandfather was killed in Auschwitz.

DIRECTOR OF LEADERSHIP ENGAGEMENT
Lisa Steinberg

Lisa Steinberg has always seen things a little differently. She believes anything is possible when good people come together to realize a dream and make the world a better place. That philosophy, along with more than 25 years of fundraising experience and a lifelong commitment to the Jewish People, is what Lisa brings to the Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial Foundation as the Director of Leadership Engagement. As a devoted daughter-in-law of an Auschwitz survivor, Lisa feels a personal responsibility to see that future generations will be able to visit and learn how the world allowed such a place of hatred to exist.

Following years in varying fundraising roles for The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, ADL, American Friends of Hebrew University, B’nai B’rith International and Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Lisa brings an unmatched passion for this work and feels the importance of it in her bones.

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, SURVIVORS’ DELEGATION COORDINATOR
Linor Abrahamian Andreoli

Linor Abrahamian Andreoli was born in Israel to parents of Persian and Romanian descent, respectively. Her father fled Iran at age 16 and emigrated to Israel, where he promptly joined the military (IDF), lying about his age to fight for the Jewish nation. His parents and eight brothers and sisters fled shortly after that to join him in Israel. Linor’s maternal grandparents, both Holocaust survivors, left Romania after the fall of the Nazi regime to settle and rebuild their lives in Israel, as well.

Linor studied Holocaust and Genocide studies at Stockton College, New Jersey, the first school to offer a master’s degree in Holocaust studies in the country. She went on to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Gender studies from Rutgers University. Although Holocaust studies have always been Linor’s passion, her trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau solidified her dedication to preserve the memory of those who perished and those who survived.