Sarah Cushman, Director of the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University, came to HEF with broad administrative experience and a background in Holocaust history and education. She looks forward to bringing her skills to bear on the operation of HEF of NU and the development of its programs. Cushman served as Head of Educational Programming at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University for three years immediately preceding her arrival at HEF. From 2007-2013, she was Director of Youth Education at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (New York). While there, she completed her doctoral dissertation, The Women of Birkenau (Clark University, 2010), a social history of the women’s camp in Auschwitz. She is currently revising the dissertation into a book. Her research and writing have been supported by fellowships from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Holocaust Educational Foundation, and Steven Spielberg.
Alexandra Israel (Assistant Director) received a B.A. in Linguistics and Languages from Swarthmore College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. She joined the Holocaust Educational Foundation in January of 2014.
Alissa Schapiro (Graduate Assistant, Winter – Spring 2017) is a third year Ph.D. student in Art History working on mid-twentieth century American art related to World War II and the Cold War, focusing most specifically on various American modernist responses to the Holocaust during the war years. Schapiro received her B.A. in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University, and her M.A. in Curatorial Studies from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
Theodore “Zev” Weiss, Founder (1976-2013) was born and spent his early childhood in Hungary. When the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz with his parents, brother, and sister. He was immediately separated from his family and never saw them again. After imprisonment in Auschwitz-Birkenau, he worked as a slave laborer in other camps, and eventually was liberated by the US army. He came to the United States in 1956, where he served as a teacher and principal for 35 years. Along with his wife Alice and a host of friends who comprised the original Board of Directors, Weiss founded the Holocaust Educational Foundation in 1976. For the first decade, the Foundation’s primary work was to record Holocaust Survivor testimony. In 1988, the Foundation provided funding to establish a Holocaust history course at Northwestern, which continues to this day and enrolls over 100 students each year. The success of this course prompted the broadening of the Foundation’s mission to encourage Holocaust education at the university level. As a result of Weiss’s efforts, the Foundation has become a critical force in developing and supporting the field of Holocaust Studies.
Benjamin Frommer (2013-2016) oversaw the integration of the Holocaust Educational Foundation into Northwestern University and served as the first Director of the Foundation after integration. Building upon the work of Zev Weiss, Frommer formalized processes related to all aspects of the foundation, including leadership advising, awarding fellowships and grants, staffing the Summer Institute, and fundraising. He grew the Foundation from two part-time staff members to two full-time staff members and laid the groundwork for continued growth and impact on the field of Holocaust Studies. He continues to serve on the faculty at Northwestern University in the Department of history. For more information click here.
Past Graduate Student Assistants
Amanda Kleintop (Spring 2016) is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in nineteenth-century American history with a minor field in historical methodologies. Her research interests include the U.S. South, Civil War, slavery, and emancipation in the Atlantic World. Before attending Northwestern, Amanda worked in digital history with the Digital Scholarship Lab and public history with Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission. She holds an M.A. in history from Northwestern University and a B.A. in history and leadership studies from the University of Richmond (2011).
Lev Daschko (Spring – Fall 2015) is a graduate student studying Modern European History, concentrating on the historical relationship between Ukrainians and Jews in Austro-Hungarian Empire. He completed an Honours BA in History and Political Science at the University of Toronto, and a master’s degree in History at the University of Western Ontario. Recently, he presented at a conference in Toronto on the representation of Jews in Ukrainian nationalist newspapers during WWI. Lev is currently examining the depiction of local Ukrainians by Jewish publishers and printers in the Habsburg Duchy of Bukovina.
Beth Healey (Fall 2014 – Winter 2015) is a doctoral candidate in History, concentrating on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. She holds a bachelors degree in History from Providence College and a masters degree in History from Boston College. Beth has presented her work in Rome, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, and Munich, and is currently working on her dissertation examining the Royal Warrant war crimes trials of Nazi war criminals in British-occupied Germany.