SIMON WIESENTHAL was born in 1908 in Buczacz, Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A recent graduate of the Czech Technical University in Prague and the Polytechnic Institute in Lvov, he had just begun to work in an architectural office in Lvov when Poland was invaded by the Nazis. From 1941 to 1945, Mr. Wiesenthal was a prisoner in several ghettos and concentration camps, including Buchenwald and Mauthausen. By the war's end, he and his wife had lost eighty-nine family members to the Nazi murderers.
After the war, Mr. Wiesenthal joined the American Commission for War Crimes and was later transferred to the O.S.S. at Linz. In 1946, with thirty other concentration camp survivors, he founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center, which functioned in the American Zone until 1954, and reopened in Vienna in 1961. Its task is to identify and locate Nazi war criminals. The center's work was instrumental in bringing over 1,100 Nazi criminals to justice.
HARRY JAMES CARGAS is the author of thirty-one books, including A Christian Response to the Holocaust;Conversations with Elie Wiesel; Voices from the Holocaust; and Reflections of a Post-Auschwitz Christian. He is the only Catholic ever appointed to the International Advisory Board of Yad Vashem. He serves as vice president of the Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust, and on the executive board of the Catholic Center for Holocaust Studies. He is Professor Emeritus of Literature and Language at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.
THE DALAI LAMA, Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, is spiritual leader of Buddhists around the world and revered as a teacher and man of peace. In 1959 he escaped to India, following China's invasion and occupation of Tibet. As spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, he has consistently advocated policies of nonviolence and compassion in the face of aggression. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL, the noted theologian and philosopher, was born in Warsaw and taught extensively in Europe before coming to the United States in 1940. He was chosen as Martin Buber's successor at the Frankfort Lehrhaus, an institute for adult education. He taught Jewish philosophy, ethics, and mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America until his death in 1972. Rabbi Heschel was active in the civil rights movement, marching with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and in the Jewish-Christian dialogue preceding Vatican Council II.
JOSE HOBDAY is a Franciscan nun of Seneca, Iroquois, and Seminole descent. Her writing on Catholic and Native American spirituality as well as Native American affairs has appeared in many publications, includingParabola, Cross-Currents, the National Catholic Reporter, and Praying magazine, where she has been a columnist for ten years. She lectures nationally and internationally and has recorded over a dozen cassettes.
DITH PRAN's wartime life was portrayed in the award-winning movie The Killing Fields. He served as a war correspondent, together with Sydney Schanberg of The New York Times, covering the civil war in Cambodia from 1972 to 1975. He was arrested by the Khmer Rouge and exiled to the forced labor camps where he endured four years of starvation and torture before escaping to Thailand, and later, the United States. In 1976, Schanberg accepted the Pulitzer Prize on behalf of himself and Pran.
SIDNEY SHACHNOW (Maj. Gen. U.S. Army, Ret.) was born in Kovno, Lithuania, in 1934 and was an inmate in the Kovno concentration camp from 1941 until his escape in 1944. Immigrating to America in 1950, he subsequently enlisted in the United States Army and fought in Vietnam as a Green Beret. A recipient of many decorations for valor in combat, he served as the Commanding General of the Special Forces from 1991 to 1992.