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Mark your calendar and plan to attend:
Monday, June 17th

Please join us as we recognize those who uphold Anne's ideals and commemorate what would have been Anne Frank's 90th birthday. This year's awards gala will be at the Rooftop Ballroom of the historic Hotel Edison, in the heart of Manhattan's theatre district.


Now reserving tables and corporate sponsorships.
Visit our event site or email gala@annefrank.com for more info.

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This year's honorees:

SAFA Interfaith Unity Award

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, Reverend Eric S.C. Manning, and Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim

This year we recognize congregations who have witnessed unspeakable tragedy in the midst of prayer:

  • Linwood & Al Noor Masjids
    Christchurch, New Zealand · March 15, 2019

  • Tree of Life *Or L'Simcha Synagogue
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · October 27, 2018

  • Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
    Charleston, South Carolina · June 17, 2015

The world has been deeply moved by these and other horrifying tragedies throughout the world; we share in the mourning yet are also inspired by the spirit of solidarity that has emerged.

SAFA Human "Writes" Award

Jack J. Hersch

Every now and then, there’s a story that demonstrates vividly the optimism that guided Anne Frank despite her oppressive conditions. Jack Hersch has brilliantly accomplished that with his memoir about his father’s experiences in the Death March from Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps. We recognize his retelling of this remarkable story with our 2019 Human "Writes" Award.

SAFA Legacy of Hope Award

Pieter & Susan Kohnstam

Imagine knowing Anne Frank as a child. Pieter Kohnstam doesn't have to imagine; Anne was his babysitter in Amsterdam, before the Frank family went into hiding and his family escaped to Argentina. A lifetime of service has guided the humanitarian duo of Susan and Pieter Kohnstam, who for decades have prompted peace, unity, compassion, and understanding through their voluntary service. This year they receive our Legacy of Hope Award, acknowledging their tireless commitment to teaching about the Holocaust and its frightening relevance to events today.

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Scholarship Awards:

Masaraat Asif

Frisco, Texas
Through "Project LifePack," Masaraat collected supplies and volunteered to assist migrant families en route from detention facilities.

Emily Herrmann

Clarkston, Michigan

Inspired by the power of music to engage children with cognitive and sensory disorders, Emily installed an "outdoor musical playground" in her community.

Jacob Salzman SAFA Scholarship,
donated by Les & Sybil Rosenberg

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Emilia Peters

Los Angeles, California

Sharing art as a means of therapeutic self-expression, Emilia launched KEM Creative Art Studios to work with homeless children.

Grace Schuler

Gaithersburg, Maryland

To inspire self-confidence and public speaking skills, Grace founded "SpeakOut!" and has helped more than 100 kids find their voice.

Jacob Salzman SAFA Scholarship,
donated by Les & Sybil Rosenberg

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Educator Awards:

Robert Lurie

SAFA Teacher-of-the-Year

Lansing, Michigan

As a high school teacher at the Waverly Community Schools, Robert Lurie introduces his students to a wide diversity of faiths and cultures, fostering opportunities for direct engagement with survivors and immigrants from a variety of backgrounds. His students are connected to educational and humanitarian causes throughout the world, including India, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Europe, and elsewhere. Through travel, guests, Peace Corps, and Skype sessions, his curriculum ensures that students understand the world's ongoing history of genocide. As the director of an international professional learning community at Michigan State University, Robert Lurie has created a podcast on "Educating Newcomers" as a guide for faculty to welcome international students and refugees, and to gain a more practical understanding of the opportunities and challenges they bring. We are inspired by his decades-long commitment to education and to Anne Frank's enduring legacy of compassion and humanity.

Brendan Murphy

Outstanding Educator certificate

Atlanta, Georgia
As a high school teacher at the Marist School, Brendan Murphy has led student trips to Washington, DC and across Europe to visit concentration camps and other significant historical sites, and authored the comprehensive "Bearing Witness" guide for ACIS (the American Council for International Studies) on best practices in Holocaust education. He has worked exhaustively to create interfaith programs connecting Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam, including a program he started called "Peace by Piece" and partnering with the local Am Yisrael Chai organization to participate in the Daffodil Project, planting flowers to commemorate each life lost through the Holocaust. He is a frequent guest lecturer and leader in professional development seminars, including through the United States Holocaust Museum.

Elliot Hearst

Outstanding Educator certificate

New York, New York
As an adjunct faculty member at Pace University, Elliott Hearst has guided students through fascinating research on the helpers of the Holocaust, through the exhaustive process of documenting stories and identifying photos of one of the families who assisted the Franks at the Secret Annex, including first-person interviews with descendants. He has also worked with student research assistants on "Escape from the List," documenting a Jewish family from the Netherlands whose ancestors had previously escaped the Spanish Inquisition.

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With special guests:

Joel Grey

Currently directing the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s revival of Fiddler on the Roof, Joel Grey has achieved acclaim as an award-winning actor, singer, dancer, director, and photographer, known today as one of Broadway's legendary personalities for his six-decade career in entertainment. He has also gained an understanding of himself which he's shared through his 2016 memoir, "Master of Ceremonies." We are thrilled to welcome him as a special guest at the 2019 Spirit of Anne Frank Awards.

Natasha Trethewey

We are humbled this year to be graced with the presence of Natasha Trethewey, distinguished award-winning poet who has twice been selected to serve as the national Poet Laureate by the United States Library of Congress. She shares through her gift a commanding power to stir the emotions while reflecting on both personal and cultural history, often pointing to her family's personal experience and the challenges of racial inequality.

Gillian Walnes Perry, MBE

As the AFC Community Outreach Ambassador, Gillian advocates on behalf of the programs and partnerships available to friends of the Anne Frank Center USA, generously lending the guidance and expertise she gained through her role as the Founding Director of the Anne Frank Trust UK.

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About the Awards

Each year in celebration of Anne Frank's birthday, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect hosts the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards to recognize worthy students, educators, citizens, peacemakers, and role models who uphold Anne's ideals of hope, justice, and equality. Scholarship and humanitarian award recipients are selected based on their extraordinary social and humanitarian efforts to engender understanding, equality, and mutual respect among diverse populations of people.

Recent Honorees

On June 12, 2018, we were pleased to recognize the following recipients of our 22nd annual Spirit of Anne Frank Swards (SAFA):