The ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, founded in 2009, is dedicated to ensuring the remembrance of the Holocaust.
The building blocks for ZACHOR began in 1995 when founder and visionary Ben Lesser started sharing his story with the public. Then, in 2008, Ben was given a tiny lapel pin from a Holocaust Survivors group with the Hebrew letters of the word ZACHOR … Remember.
This pin was affixed to his jacket and people asked him what it meant. Each time, Ben would explain the meaning of the pin and hand them one so they, too, could remember and share his story. This little piece of jewelry symbolized much more than just the word “remember”; it symbolized an idea. A passion. A promise to our dear departed ones, that are crying out to the world in a single word “ZACHOR”. Do not forsake us.
Within months, he handed out more than 1,000 pins. Everyone who listened to Ben speak at schools and other places were wearing them. It was then that ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation was born, dedicated to spreading awareness, to remember and most notably, TO NEVER FORGET.
But, how can we make sure that people never forget? It was realized that ZACHOR shouldn’t simply be about pins, and Ben’s story, but there was a need for even more of an educational element to be incorporated.
That was the motivating factor behind Ben’s actions in 2011: when he penned his biography, “Living a Life That Matters, From Nazi Nightmare to American Dream.” Written to accompany Holocaust studies curriculums, it is now widely read, sold and utilized in educational programs leaving no questions unanswered but WHY.
The foundation’s need for awareness has grown to accommodate the ever-changing world that we live in. Thus, ZACHOR expanded its educational programs, outreach and online resources to preserve the memory of the Holocaust along with advocating change for our future by teaching tolerance. I-SHOUT-OUT.org, an anti-hate campaign powered by ZACHOR, strives to put an end to intolerance by speaking up —and out —for those who cannot.
Today, The Foundation not only helps keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, but works tirelessly to ensure its mission:
- Preservation of Holocaust Survivors stories
- Making the past relevant to today with Ben Lesser serving as the voice for those who did not survive the Holocaust
- Educating and inspiring future generations through the innovative and interactive I-SHOUT-OUT campaign
In the coming years, ZACHOR aims to grow beyond simply advocating Holocaust Remembrance but to continue building awareness and tolerance.
As Ben Lesser said best “As long as there is a need for Holocaust education, there will be a need for these ZACHOR Pins and The ZACHOR Foundation.”
To date, we have distributed nearly 200,000 pins world wide.