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. In 2008, Ben purchased a tiny lapel with the Hebrew letters of the word ZACHOR…Remember, where he wore it affixed to his jacket daily.
This ZACHOR pin serves as a conversation piece intriguing the interest of many. Each time, he would explain the meaning of the pin and hand them one so they, too, could remember and share his story. But it was one moment, a conversation, that he had with a young woman that led Ben to another direction. This woman was so touched and honored to have such a token with so much meaning. She vowed to always remember, share his story and cherish this piece of jewelry and passing it on to her children so they too can carry on his message. This powerful statement etched in Ben’s heart spoke volumes and sparked the need to manufacture and distribute pins to all. It was at that moment that the ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation was born.
Lesser founded the organization in 2009 in pursuit of preserving the memory of the Holocaust and to prevent such tragedies from happening again through continued outreach and education. In turn, this little piece of ZACHOR jewelry symbolized much more than just the word “remember”; it symbolized an idea. A passion. A promise to spread love, not hate.
Within months, he handed out more than 1,000 pins. Everyone who listened to Ben speak at schools and other places were wearing them.
To date, The Foundation has distributed over 1 million ZACHOR pins worldwide with a goal to reach six million. It is Ben’s hope that ZACHOR will be internationally recognized as a symbol of Holocaust remembrance.
Over the years ZACHOR has grown to accommodate the ever-changing world what we live in. Thus, ZACHOR expanded its educational programs with Ben’s curriculum-based autobiography “Living a Life That Matters, From Nazi Nightmare to American Dream.” , and newly developed first ever online curriculum taught by a survivor – ZACHOR Holocaust Curriculum where over 500+ schools worldwide are utilizing. Outreach is the helm of our organization and continues to evolve through our “Generation Now” campaign engaging and encouraging survivors of all ages to order and wear their pins proudly. And lastly, the future of ZACHOR is teaching tolerance by advocating change through the I-SHOUT-OUT.org, an anti-hate movement with a mission 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:
1. Preservation of Holocaust Survivors stories.
2. Making the past relevant to today with Ben Lesser serving as the voice for those who did not survive the Holocaust.
3. Providing a “Generations Now” forum uniting survivors and generational survivors in preserving the legacies and lessons learned from the Holocaust in order to never repeat.
4. Prevention starts with education. Provide FREE access to the comprehensive interactive teaching site, ZACHOR Holocaust Curriculum to school districts, teachers, students and history enthusiasts.
5. Raising awareness is one of the most essential aspects of our anti-bullying campaign. Our mission is to inspire future generations to take part of the innovative and interactive I-SHOUT-OUT campaign.
6. Manufacture and distribute the mighty ZACHOR lapel pin to ensure the world always remembers.
In the coming years, ZACHOR aims to grow beyond simply advocating Holocaust Remembrance but to continue to educate, build awareness and teach 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.”