About Portraits of Honor

Important note

This project is a constant work-in-progress. The information we receive is vast and keeps coming. As a result, we are always in the process of updating the website, including additional photographs and biographies.
So, please come back soon for new info and experiences.

Project history

Portraits of Honor was developed in 1999 under the direction of Dr. Charles Silow, director of the Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families of Jewish Senior Life and a son of Holocaust survivors himself. The purpose of Portraits of Honor is to document the lives of Holocaust Survivors who have lived in Michigan for education and for posterity. Portraits of Honor is a learning tool about the lives of Survivors through their photographs, biographies, and historical references. As you look at the portraits of the Survivors, you will see faces of pain and suffering as well as faces of beauty, resilience, and the triumph of the human spirit.

When, one by one, the national armies of European countries were defeated in World War II, the Jewish populations within these countries found themselves in helpless and powerless situations. They were, by and large, civilians with little or no military training. They had almost no access to weapons and their national armies had been defeated by Nazi Germany.

Portraits of Honor cherishes and honors each and every Survivor who has lived in Michigan. For so long, the Holocaust Survivors, in general, have not been appreciated for what they endured and for all that they have accomplished in their lives after the war.

After the Holocaust, these Survivors came to America and made their way to Michigan. They had to learn a new language, a new culture, and build new lives. Most married, worked hard, and raised families. The memories of the overwhelming losses and horrors they experienced have continued to haunt them, yet they were able to go on with life. Their children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren are here and contribute to society. In spite of the Nazi attempted genocide, the Jewish people have continued and thrive. To quote from the "Song of the Partisans," the unofficial anthem of the Survivors, "Mir zeinen du!" "We are here!"

How to use Portraits of Honor

To access Portraits of Honor, please, click on the SEARCH BY SURVIVOR button. Type in the Survivor’s name, or the country they were from, or when they were born. Then click on the Survivor’s photograph to read a more detailed history about their lives, to see more photographs, to learn about historical references about their experiences, and to see a map of their journeys.

Also, you can click on SEARCH BY EXPERIENCE. You will then find six categories of Survivor experiences: Camps, Ghettos, Child Survivors, Resistance, Escape, Hiding. Click on an experience, Photographs and biographies of Survivors who have gone through those experiences will then appear. You can click on the photograph of a Survivor to learn more about their life history.

On each Survivor's biography, there is an individualized Map of the Survivor's journey from their home to the particular sites of their imprisonment. The Map was created for Portraits of Honor by the prominent Holocaust historian, Sir Martin Gilbert.

Portraits of Honor: Our Michigan Holocaust Survivors is a permanent interactive exhibit at the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. We encourage you to visit Portraits of Honor at the Holocaust Center where photographs, biographies, historical references, and maps are vividly displayed on a 55" screen.

In 2022, the Portraits of Honor exhibit at the Holocaust Center and the website was updated to be more user-friendly and have a more powerful search engine. We thank Vitaly Kozadayev and the entire staff at Continure studio for their creativity, dedication, and diligence.


This project could not have taken place without the dedication of numerous individuals. The goal of honoring and remembering Michigan Holocaust Survivors is being realized because of their efforts. Initially, Sinai Hospital of Detroit and the Jewish Fund of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit helped support Portraits of Honor as an exhibit of photographs and biographies which toured schools and institutions. In conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Holocaust Survivors spoke to groups at the schools about their experiences.

As part of the Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families, a service of Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit, this project has developed into a permanent, electronic, interactive exhibit housed at the Zekelman Holocaust Center, and its contents are accessible online at www.portraitsofhonor.org. Shari Ferber Kaufman, Ron Ferber, Annette Ferber, Leo Eisenberg and Harry Eisenberg embraced the importance and significance of the project and saw the impact and vision of Portraits of Honor: Our Michigan Holocaust Survivors. Through their generosity and commitment to this project, Portraits of Honor has become a reality.

Portraits of Honor is dedicated to their Holocaust survivor parents: Miriam and Fred Ferber, and Belle and Isidor Eisenberg, of blessed memory. These children's devotion and respect for their families and community serves as a blessing.

We give special acknowledgement to Dr. Charles Domstein, past Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families, for his unending tenacity to this project, to Molly Chernow, recent Chairperson, and to Deborah Rosenthal, Chairperson, who continue their commitment to Portraits of Honor. The support and continuing loyalty of the Advisory Committee of the Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families enabled this project to come to fruition.

The support of the Shaarit Haplaytah, Abraham Weberman, President and Ruth Lehman, Vice-President; The Zekelman Holocaust Center, founder Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig, of blessed memory and Stephen Goldman, Executive Director; United Jewish Social Organization, Michael Weiss, President; C.H.A.I.M.-Children of Holocaust-Survivors Association In Michigan, Dr. Charles Silow, founder and President, and the Hidden Children and Child Survivors of Michigan, Dr. Rene Lichtman, President, has been invaluable.

C.H.A.I.M. - Children of Holocaust-Survivors Association In Michigan has been intimately involved with Portraits of Honor since the project's inception. It's members have lent their support, guidance, enthusiasm. C.H.A.I.M. celebrated its 30th anniversary with the dedication of Portraits of Honor .

The photographs of Portraits of Honor photo are on permanent display at the Zekelman Holocaust Center, Portraits of Honor Gallery.

Special thanks to Susan Rabinovitz, whose tireless efforts, perseverance, and inspiration assisted in making this project possible. Alice Ehrinpreis, who worked diligently to assist with the historical keyword references found with every survivor history. Caryn Aharoni Finkelman, who worked assiduously and creatively in her dedication to the project.

Darius Gueramy, Principal of Red Road Media, Midland, Michigan designed and created this interactive electronic exhibit, Portraits of Honor: Our Michigan Holocaust Survivors . We thank Darius for his creativity and professionalism in producing this Exhibit. David Goodman, Project Manager worked diligently offering his keen expertise and guidance.

We sincerely thank Dr. Sidney Bolkosky, of blessed memory, of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive for his ongoing support, historical expertise, and invaluable guidance.

We acknowledge the use of the historical references from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority of Israel used in the Keywords . Except where noted, all of the Keywords are from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem.

We are grateful to Carol Rosenberg, Director, Jewish Senior Life Foundation, who enthusiastically supported Portraits of Honor to help bring this project to fruition.

We thank Rochelle Upfal, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit for her continued support of the Project.

We thank Stephen Goldman, Executive Director, The Zekelman Holocaust Center, and Professor Guy Stern for their ongoing collaboration on Portraits of Honor. The map of the birthplaces and the journeys of our Michigan Survivors during the Holocaust was created by Sir Martin Gilbert of London, England. Sir Martin, the world renowned Holocaust historian, graciously donated his time and effort to producing this map for Portraits of Honor . We cannot thank him enough for all of his dedication to this project.

We thank Sylvia Nelson, Director, Janice Charach Epstein Gallery who initially displayed many of the original photographs and biographies of Portraits of Honor in November-December, 2001, at the gallery housed at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan. We thank Miriam Brysk, a child survivor, who was invaluable in helping us obtain photographs of child survivors in their early years.

We thank all the Survivors who came to our Café Europa program at the Jewish Community Center in Oak Park, Michigan on February 28, 2011, to sing and record the "Song of the Partisans" for this project. We thank Michelle Chekan, Community Outreach Coordinator of Jewish Senior Life who accompanied in the recording.

The future

There were 401 Holocaust Survivors featured in the initial opening of Portraits of Honor: Our Michigan Holocaust Survivors in 2011. Portraits of Honor has evolved and grown since its origin in 1999.

In 2014, an additional 147 Survivors were added to Portraits of Honor totaling 548 Holocaust Survivors. Our goal is to continue to add more Survivor photographs and biographies to the Project.

A Holocaust Survivor is defined by AMCHA , the National Israeli Center for Psychosocial Support of Holocaust Survivors and the Second Generation , as any Jew who lived under Nazi occupation during the second World War and who was thus threatened by the policy of the "final solution" but stayed alive.

According to this definition, persons with widely different Holocaust experiences are considered to be Holocaust Survivors. For example, those who were confined to a ghetto, who were in forced labor camps, who were imprisoned in concentration camps, who were in hiding or living under false identities, refugees who left their families behind, those who fought with the partisans, or those who were sent away in the "Kindertransport," those who were children, etc. All of these people were traumatized in one way or another, either by constant threat of being killed, having suffered significant losses, or having lived under the shadow of Holocaust persecution.

We encourage people to learn more about our Michigan Survivors through extensive oral history interviews available at the John J. Mames Oral History Collection of the Zekelman Holocaust Center, the University of Michigan-Dearborn Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, and the USC Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Collection.

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