Fred Schwartz founded the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation in Oświęcim, Poland, in 2005 as an international center for the study of the prevention of genocide.
In 1995, Mr. Schwartz started the Auschwitz Jewish Center after identifying a crucial need for a Jewish cultural and educational center near the concentration camps. The AJC, which is the town of Oświęcim’s sole Jewish presence, offers visitors the opportunity to memorialize victims of the Holocaust through the study of the former Jewish life and culture of Oświęcim. The AJC is a place of understanding, education, memory, and prayer for all people regardless of race, creed or religion.
Previously Mr. Schwartz was founder, chairman, and CEO of The Fur Vault Inc., which became the preeminent retail fur company in the United States, listed on the American Stock Exchange.
Mr. Schwartz was a Trustee and Executive Board Member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and was the Founder and Chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Scholarships for the study of Leadership in Comparative Democracies at the Hebrew University.
On November 6, 1998, Mr. Schwartz was recognized for his leadership and dedication to Polish-Jewish relations, receiving the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, Poland’s highest civilian medal, presented by the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski. Mr. Schwartz became an honorary citizen of the city of Oświęcim for his contributions to the community.
In January 2004, Mr. Schwartz was an official U.S. delegate to the 2004 Stockholm Forum on the Prevention of Genocide. On November 16, 2004, he was awarded the Medal “For the Promotion of Tolerance” by Fundacja Ekumeniczna “Tolerancja” in Warsaw, Poland. In January 2005, Mr. Schwartz was appointed by President Bush to the United States Delegation commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz Camps.
Mr. Schwartz was involved in numerous humanitarian and community organizations, having served as Trustee of the New York City Citizens’ Budget Commission, Associate Trustee of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Trustee of New York’s Finest Association [NYC Police], member of the Advisory Council of the New York Holocaust Memorial Commission, and of the Chancellor’s Council of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
A graduate of the City College of New York, Mr. Schwartz was also active in the field of education. He was a participant in the Bronx District Attorney’s Opportunity Center, an innovative project helping disabled juveniles avoid the criminal justice system. He founded and directed the Business Development Institute, teaching the entrepreneurial spirit and principles of economics to young people in the public school system. He also served as the New York Regional President and Co-Chairman of the American Friends of Hebrew University, and was a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Mr. Schwartz was a recipient of the Anatoly Scharansky Freedom Award, the Distinguished Graduate Award of the Public Education Association, the Solomon Schecter Medal from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Citizenship Award from the Mental Health Association.