On September 1, 2020, the date on which Holocaust survivor Naomi Kaplan Warren would have celebrated her 100th birthday, the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) held the virtual launch of the Warren Educational Policies Program (WEPP). This new initiative comes as the result of a collaboration between AIPG and the family of Naomi Kaplan Warren to honor her remarkable life.
Naomi Kaplan Warren was born in eastern Poland on September 1, 1920 into a Jewish family. As a young person, the dreams that she had were tragically interrupted by the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. Following three tough years of war, Naomi was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau along with her husband, Alexander Rosembaum, and her mother, Chasia Salman Kaplan, in January of 1943. After spending 2 years in Auschwitz and periods at two other concentration camps, Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen, she was liberated by British troops in April of 1945.
In 1946, Naomi emigrated to Houston, Texas, in the United States, where she married Martin Warren. Together they had three children, Helen, Geri, and Benjamin, and built a successful export business. After her retirement, Naomi began to put all her energy into sharing her story and lessons about the Holocaust with hundreds of young teachers across the United States. Embodying a story of courage and hope, Naomi demonstrated her deep commitment to education and genocide prevention.
The launch event for the new initiative took place virtually via Zoom and was simultaneously broadcasted live on YouTube. In total, 200 people participated, including family members and friends of Naomi Kaplan Warren, and partners of the Auschwitz Institute from around the world.
Led by Jan Cohen, a member of the Auschwitz Institute’s Board of Directors, the event began with a short presentation on the work of the Auschwitz Institute, focusing on the Educational Policy Program’s work over the previous four years. A video produced for the event was then shown, highlighting a series of testimonies from partners, participants, and others involved in the program since its creation in 2016. This was followed by a moving presentation on the inspiring life of Naomi Kaplan Warren, given by her grandson, Matthew Spector.
Finally, event attendees were invited to participate in a Q&A session about the new program, which were answered by the Director of the Warren Educational Policy Program, Clara Ramírez-Barat, the Executive Director of AIPG, Tibi Galis, and by Benjamin Warren Jr., Naomi’s youngest child and member of the AIPG Board of Directors. The conversation touched upon the future of the program, the importance of working to prevent genocide through education, and the Institute’s commitment to honoring the legacy of Naomi Warren.
WEPP Director Clara Ramírez-Barat remarked:
At this time in the life of the Auschwitz Institute’s Educational Policies Program, it is an immense honor and joy to collaborate with the Warren Family and to be able to pay tribute to Naomi Kaplan Warren, whose life embodies the meaning and mission of AIPG’s educational policies efforts and reinforces our work. The addition of the Warren name to the Educational Policies Program is an immense responsibility that we assume with great sincerity and respect. However, it is also an inexhaustible source of inspiration and a force that will remind us every day, in the most real way possible, of exactly why we do this work.
To view the full event recording on YouTube, please click here.