A Message from the Kleins
“Ilse, a childhood friend of mine, once found a raspberry in the concentration camp and carried it in her pocket all day to present to me that night on a leaf. Imagine a world in which your entire possession is one raspberry and you give it to your friend.” – Gerda Weissmann Klein
Our dream is to create the opportunity for young people to understand injustice in the world, and translate that understanding into positive action. The Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation, which became operational in the Spring 1998, promotes tolerance for differences, respect for others and the empowerment of students through education and community service.
We choose to share the details of our lives’ darkest hours, to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and draw on the lessons learned from that period in history, in the hope that our message will enlighten students and nurture the seeds of social responsibility that grow in their hearts. The world today may be different from that which we faced as young adults, but many of the same issues still confront us. All of us recognize the increasing violence in our schools, the lack of tolerance for diversity, and the loss of respect for personal differences. In particular, the murders at Columbine High School in Colorado and the violence in our schools throughout the country, indicate the depth of intolerance that continues to unfold amongst our nation’s youth as well as our adult population.
We want to make the world a more positive place for today’s young people, and for the future. We hope that the sharing of our story, and the projects we have undertaken to help others, will unleash the energy of young people who can make a difference in their future.
Gerda W. Klein