Filmmakers Donate Grandfather’s Artifacts to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Corey Samuels Recounts 1st Visit to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from Stephanie Houser on Vimeo.

Summary: A local Fort Lauderdale production team has just played an instrumental role in ensuring that the very personal and meaningful remnants of Henry Oertelt’s Holocaust survival story are forever preserved at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Stephanie Silverman Houser wrote and produced the film Becoming Henry with her friend, Corey Samuels, Ph.D., and recently became involved with the Museum’s South Florida Business & Professional Advisory Committee.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FlA. (June 28, 2016) — Yesterday, Corey Samuels’ journey to tell the story of her grandfather, Holocaust survivor Henry Oertelt culminated in an emotional donation of Oertelt’s personal belongings to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Samuels and Stephanie Silverman Houser met in 2008 and together became determined to share the unusual story of Henry Oertelt, Corey Samuels’ grandfather. Houser wrote and produced, Becoming Henry, a 2014 short film based on a true story from Oertelt’s book, “An Unbroken Chain: My Journey though the Nazi Holocaust.” Upon producing the film, many of Oertelt’s personal artifacts from the Holocaust were stored in a closet at Houser’s Fort Lauderdale home.

“After Stephanie became a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s South Florida Business and Professional Advisory Committee, I attended an event in Boca Raton and learned about their significant commitment to rescue the evidence of the Holocaust,” Samuels said. “After a flood nearly damaged Henry’s irreplaceable personal belongings, we came to the realization that this evidence of the Holocaust required a safe permanent home that served an educational purpose.”

Samuels discussed the idea with her family, and they agreed that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum would be the most secure and meaningful place to preserve Henry’s belongings. In addition, Samuels’ late mother, Stephanie (Steffi) Oertelt Samuels was a co-author on Henry’s book, created a teacher’s guide and spent most of her life dedicated to Holocaust Education.

“Steffi would be especially thrilled to know that her father Henry’s artifacts and even some of their teaching materials will be part of the museum’s collection,” Samuels shared.

(Full list of donations below, and pictures can be viewed at this Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ckn6utkjoy2jnp7/AABf0csNVhk6momnZm7EYeYga?dl=0

Now, as an active member of the Museum’s South Florida B-PAC, Stephanie Houser is playing a meaningful role in the historic race against time to rescue the evidence of the Holocaust through facilitating the donation of Oertelt’s artifacts, and by participating in the Museum’s social media campaign dubbed #RescueTheEvidence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This campaign contributes to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, teaching future generations about the Holocaust, and to helping raise money for the construction of the David and Fela Shapell Family Collections, Conservation, and Research Center.

“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is grateful for the opportunity to add Henry Oertelt’s artifacts to our ever-growing collection of Holocaust evidence,” said Sheri Zvi, the Museum’s Southeast Regional Director. “With this donation, Henry Oertelt’s connection to the Museum truly comes full circle as Henry visited the Museum in 1993 when it first opened, and his name is one of the I.D. cards that the Museum issues to new visitors as they tour the Museum.”

List of video footage and still photos available for use in news stories:

List of Henry Oertelt’s artifacts donated to the Museum by Corey Samuels:

  • Family photographs both pre and post-war depicting Henry Oertelt, his wife Inge Fromm, and their families
  • Wedding photograph of Henry Oertelt and Inge Fromm
  • Copy print of the interior of the Fasanenstrasse synagogue which was destroyed during Kristallnacht
  • Deutsches Reich Kennkarte (identity card) issued to Erna Fromm (Inge’s mother) which is marked with a “J” identifying her as Jewish
  • Yellow star of David patch with “Jude” printed in center, used by Henry Oertelt during his presentations (it is unknown, but doubtful, if this badge was worn by a member of the Oertelt family)
  • Red and white Hitler Youth armband with swastika given to Henry Oertelt following one of his presentations
  • Three copy prints of images documenting victims found in the Buchenwald concentration camp immediately following liberation
  • Scripts/notes for presentations given by Henry Oertelt and his daughter Stephanie Oertelt-Samuels
  • DVD of Henry Oertelt speaking at St. Cloud State University
  • CD, rough cut intro for Henry Oertelt’s audio book
  • 2 VHS tapes of presentations given by Henry Oertelt
  • DVD for USHMM Library – copy of short film “Becoming Henry”

To request interviews or for more information, please contact:

About Henry Oertelt

Holocaust survivor Henry Oertelt was liberated by General Patton’s Third Army during the Flossenburg death march in April 1945. He arrived in St. Paul, Minn., in 1949 and spent 40 years lecturing about his experiences and the importance of tolerance, political involvement and confronting hatred until he died at age 90 on January 27, also known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On April 23, 2006, St. Paul honored him with the key to the city and proclaimed “Henry A. Oertelt Day.” Oertelt was additionally a recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees from St. Cloud State University, South West State University and St. Olaf in Minnesota.

About the Museum

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.

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