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Race & Social Justice

Gussie Zaks

Jewish Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

Gussie Zaks

Gussie Zaks was born in Poland in 1925 and at age 13, was sent to several concentration camps before ending up at the Treblinka death camp in Poland where she lost her whole family. When she was liberated, she spent time in Sweden and Belgium where she met her husband and immigrated to the US and in 1963, moved to San Diego.

As a Holocaust survivor, Ms. Zaks speaks about the atrocities of hate crimes and racial and religious discrimination in the U.S. and the world. Ms. Zaks also speaks to schools and various organizations to help others learn about the Holocaust. She inspires young men and women to make a positive difference in their own and others’ lives.

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Despite the fact that she lost many family and friends and experienced unspeakable acts of prejudice, oppression and scorn, Ms. Zaks believes that hate is not the answer. She has been recognized by many organizations including the Board of Education of San Diego City Schools and she received the Channel 10 Leadership Award-2000.