Sam Fried

A legacy he can trust.

For three decades, Sam Fried and his wife, Magda, kept silent about their experiences in Nazi concentration camps. Then, in 1976, they heard about a professor who had written a book denying that the Holocaust had ever existed.

“Here we are, survivors, still alive, and there’s already this book,” Sam said. He couldn’t be silent any longer and started sharing his story, especially with children, with high school and college students. People who he believes have the power to prevent another Holocaust.

After Magda’s death, Sam started thinking about a lasting way to dedicate himself to Holocaust education. Education, he believed, would impassion future generations to defend America’s promise of equality and respect for all races and religions. Sam remarried in 1990. He and his wife, Frances, came to the Omaha Community Foundation for help with the Heartland Holocaust Educational Fund, a plan to support ongoing classes at local colleges and universities.

The classes open students’ eyes to the atrocities of the Holocaust, and genocide. The lessons are disconcerting, yet effective. “I can honestly say that I will be studying the Holocaust for the rest of my life,” offered one student upon completing the class.

The Foundation’s partnership was vital to delivering this education, Sam says.

“They’re part of us,” he says. “They represent us. They’ve earned the trust the community has for them.” The Foundation team has helped Sam and Frances at every step, from encouragement, to research, even connecting them to like-minded donors. And for that, Sam is grateful. “It’s unusual for the donor to be grateful. It’s usually the other way around.”

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