Kurt Gutfreund - Holocaust Survivor -

Kurt Gutfreund is a Holocaust survivor born on January 6, 1938, in Vienna, Austria. In June of 1942, his father Heinrich was deported to Maly Trostinec and murdered on arrival. That same month, his grandfather Sigmund died at Terezin (Theresienstadt) and his grandfather’s second wife at Treblinka. After living in hiding, Kurt and his mother Hildegard were deported to Terezin (Theresienstadt) on January 6, 1943-- his fifth birthday-- and survived there until they were liberated on May 8, 1945. Kurt returned to school in Vienna and emigrated from Austria to the United States in 1958. An advocate for Holocaust education, he often speaks to students and other groups about his experiences as a child survivor. Book Speaker

Marguerite (Lederman) Mishkin - Holocaust Survivor -

Marguerite was born on May 8, 1941, in Brussels, Belgium to a Jewish family who had recently fled from Poland. Both of her biological parents perished at Auschwitz: her father in 1942, and her mother as one of the final Jews deported there from Belgium in 1944. Marguerite and her sister Annette survived the Holocaust as “hidden children”, taking refuge with a Catholic family until the end of the war when they were sent to a Jewish orphanage in Brussels. The sisters were adopted by a Chicago Rabbi and his wife in 1950. Marguerite is a retired teacher and continues to speak about her family’s experiences with schools and community groups across Illinois. Her story was included in the 2013 anthology Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust. Book Speaker

Peter Bul -Lost Boys of Sudan Survivor -

Peter is a native of South Sudan, co-founded the Chicago Association of Lost Boys of Sudan, and has been a leader in multiple anti-genocide organizations. As a seven-year-old, his village of Wangulei was destroyed during the conflict in the Sudan which killed 2.5 million people and displaced an additional 4 million. Peter became one of the approximately 20,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan” who walked hundreds – in some cases thousands – of miles without provision of food, water, medicine, or adult guidance to reach refugee camps in Ethiopia. Peter, a leader in this group, was one of a fortunate few to both survive the ordeal and eventually be resettled in the United States. A longtime resident of the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago who became a U.S. citizen in 2007, Peter served in leadership with the Chicago chapter of the Save Darfur Coalition to oppose the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region and has been involved in important educational initiatives related to the Rwandan genocide, modern-day slavery in Mauritania, and the genocide against the Rohingya in Burma. Book Speaker

Juliana Taimoorazy -Assyrian Genocide Survivor

Juliana Taimoorazy was born in 1973 in the Imperial State of Iran to an Assyrian family. Her great-grandfather,  a victim of the Assyrian genocide, was killed in a death camp, and two of her great-aunts were raped and killed during the genocide by Kurdish fighters. Juliana fondly describes her life before the Islamic Revolution in Iran as granted religious and cultural freedom to Assyrians. She was six years old at the time of the revolution. Afterward, she experienced numerous cases of institutional and social discrimination. Book Speaker

Jeff Schoep - Former White Supremacist -

Once America’s most notorious neo-Nazi, now a consultant for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and an inspirational speaker for Conscious Campus, Jeff Schoep speaks with students, communities, and law enforcement about the dangers of hate and extremism. For 25 years, Jeff Schoep was the National Leader of America's largest neo-Nazi party, the National Socialist Movement (NSM). Then in 2019 Jeff left the NSM and publicly denounced the ideology he once espoused. It was through relational dialogue and interpersonal relationships, with those he once vilified, that Jeff’s life was forever changed. His nonprofit organization Beyond Barriers is dedicated to helping others counter extremism and change their lives. He once was infamous – today, he is deadly serious about combating extremism. Book Speaker

Marty Zak - Son of Holocaust Survivors

Marty Zak is a passionate Next Generation advocate for Holocaust remembrance and education. With a personal connection as the son, grandson, and nephew of Holocaust survivors, he shares their compelling stories through engaging presentations. Marty's mission is to preserve the truth about the Holocaust, combat anti-Semitism, and educate deniers. His powerful presentation, "IMAGINE," features the son of John Lennon performing the iconic song during the Ukrainian war, accompanied by impactful visuals. Marty's presentations leave a lasting impact.

Born and raised in Chicago's Rogers Park, Marty experienced his own anti-Semitic traumas. Following his parents' footsteps, who served in the Israeli Army after the Holocaust, he lived in Israel from 1973 to 1979. Married to Ruth and proud father of Renie, Marty retired after a successful 38-year career in the meat industry. Now dedicated to his role as a Next Gen, he ensures the Holocaust's memory lives on and inspires a future free from hatred and discrimination. Book Speaker