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The Eva Unterman Holocaust Education Fund

In Memory of Dawid Sierakowiak

The mission of The Eva Unterman Holocaust Education Fund in memory of Dawid Sierakowiak is to promote and provide funding for projects that foster understanding, education and commemoration of the Holocaust that benefit the state and people of Oklahoma.

This endowment fund of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa honors Eva Unterman, who as a child survived the ghetto and camps, and has gone on to lead our community in meaningful and poignant Holocaust interfaith programs.

At Eva’s request, the fund is dedicated to the memory of Dawid Sierakowiak, whose diary recounts the hopes and suffering he experienced in the Lodz Ghetto before his death at the age of nineteen.

Eva has memories of a young man who came to the ghetto rooms her family called home and tutored her in Hebrew. She believes that this young man was Dawid Sierakowiak.

Contributions may be made in person, by mail, or online
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“I was so fortunate to have survived and I feel a real obligation to tell my story for David Sierakowiak and all the other children who died in the Holocaust.

-Eva Unterman

In 1939, Eva was a happy six-year-old living with her parents in Lodz, Poland. She was looking forward to starting first grade. However, instead of starting school, Eva, along with her family, was forced into the Lodz Ghetto, in accordance with the occupying Nazis’ policy against Jews. After four years in the ghetto, the family was deported to Auschwitz, Stutthof and a labor camp in Dresden, and then marched to Theresienstadt. There, in May 1945, Eva and her parents were liberated. By the age of twelve, she had endured over five years of imprisonment, hunger, disease and forced labor.

In 1978, Eva stood in a Tulsa classroom and for the first time shared the story of her Holocaust experiences. Since then, she has told her story over and over to thousands of students. Her commitment to Holocaust education continued to deepen and evolve with the formation of the “Holocaust Educators Group,” the direction of Tulsa’s annual Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration, and the establishment of Tulsa’s Council for Holocaust Education. Eva Unterman has truly shaped the way our community understands, learns and commemorates the Holocaust.

“In politics, there’s absolutely nothing new. Again, out of impatience I feel myself beginning to fall into melancholy. There is really now way out of this for us.”

-Dawid Sierakowiak

In 1939, after a summer of swimming, hiking and mountain climbing at a Jewish youth camp, fifteen-year-old Dawid returned home to his parents and younger sister in Lodz, Poland. He was anxious to see his friends, start back to school and resume his studies, especially his favorite subjects: literature, writing and foreign languages. Aware of Europe’s political turmoil, the next six months flashed by with the Nazi invasion and occupation, the closing of his school and the decree that ordered Dawid and his family into the Lodz Ghetto.

Following the war, in an apartment formerly within the walls of the Lodz Ghetto, five notebooks were discovered atop a stove, ready to fuel a fire. These notebooks were Dawid’s diary, a detailed, daily account of life in the Lodz Ghetto. He describes the depravity of ghetto existence, his relationship with family and friends, his desire to continue his education and, most of all, his determination to survive the war. Unfortunately, he did not. In August 1943, just two weeks after his nineteenth birthday, Dawid died in Lodz Ghetto. Fifty-three years later, The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak was published.

The mission of The Eva Unterman Holocaust Education Fund in memory of Dawid Sierakowiak is to promote and provide funding for projects that foster understanding, education and commemoration of the Holocaust that benefit the state and people of Oklahoma.

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