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JAN 28, 2016

A Letter from New LAMOTH Board President Beth Kean

Dear LAMOTH Community,

As the Museum’s new board President I want to take this opportunity to formally introduce myself and tell you a little bit about why this Museum is so important to me. My family has long supported LAMOTH in a variety of capacities ever since my husband, Jon Kean, introduced me to the Museum over 10 years ago while he was doing research for his documentary film Swimming in Auschwitz. I knew LAMOTH was a place I needed to be a part of as soon as I met the Survivor community, the staff and the board members. My grandparents, Arnold and Rose Rakoszynski, were Holocaust survivors from Sosnowiec, Poland. I grew up on Long Island surrounded by Survivors who spoke Yiddish and English with heavy Polish accents, so needless to say, spending time at the Museum felt like coming home. I joined the board right away and a few years later, thanks to my 20+ years working in finance, I was appointed Treasurer, a position I have held until now.

There was never a time in my life that I didn’t know about the Holocaust.  The stories of my family members in Poland filled the air we breathed in our home growing up. I always wondered if I would have been as brave as my grandmother who risked her life hoarding potato peels for herself and her two older sisters in order to survive while working in the kitchen in Ravensbruck. Or, would I have been able to use spiritual resistance as a way of maintaining dignity and holding on to any shred of optimism and humanity like my grandfather did while living and working in the most horrific and dehumanizing conditions. My grandparents are no longer alive so I, like many children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren of survivors, carry the responsibility of retelling their stories and preserving their memories for generations to come.

In that vein, LAMOTH plays such a critical role through commemoration and education.  Every person who walks through our doors learns from our artifacts-based exhibits, listens to a survivor and, by bearing witness to one of the most atrocious acts of genocide in history, becomes a link in the fabric of a history that must be remembered. It is a mission that I embrace and embody.

I am honored that the Board has entrusted me with this job and I am fully committed to furthering the Museum’s mission and continuing the momentum that our previous leader, Randy Schoenberg, and those who served before him like Gary Schiller, had started building.  In addition, I’m excited to announce that we have three new executive board members, Andrea Cayton, as Vice President; Paulette Nessim, as Secretary; and Paul Nussbaum, as Treasurer. These board members are accomplished leaders in the Jewish community. LAMOTH and the LAMOTH community will benefit from their extensive experience and talented skill sets.

Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to meeting many of you at the Museum, hopefully soon.

With gratitude,

Beth Kean