Year Honored: 2021
Born in: Poland
A retired teacher, Ann Jaffe continues to connect with young people, speaking to them in person as a first-hand witness and survivor of the Holocaust. She chairs the Speakers' Bureau of Delaware’s Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Committee and has presented her story, and the lessons from it, well over 400 times in public and private schools, churches and universities, and throughout the community far and wide.
Over the years she has influenced the lives of tens of thousands of people. Until her family was forced to leave, Ann lived in the small village of Kobylnik, Poland. All but one of her immediate family members survived World War II, largely by hiding in the forest from the Nazis for nearly two years. Between the ages of 11 and 13, Ann endured freezing temperatures without shelter, experiencing starvation, constant humiliation and mortal danger. She credits her parents for her survival, and for the life lesson she now shares with others, “to never hate your fellow man.”
Once liberated from the war, Ann’s family made their way to a displaced persons camp and ultimately left Europe. After a brief stay in Canada, they immigrated to the United States where she worked, completed her studies, and became a teacher. She married Edward Jaffe (who died in 2018), whom she met in the displaced persons camp.
Inspiring people daily, Ann offers acts of kindness with an open and generous heart. She always advocates for tolerance of differences and encourages people to speak out against injustice. Acknowledged by the ADL, Hadassah, and her community, Ann is a devoted matriarch, enjoying close relationships with her family, including three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She is also a dedicated member of her synagogue in Wilmington, where she has lived for the past 45 years.
Sources and Additional Readings
Short, M., By, -, & Short, M. (2019, October 23). Learning forgiveness wasn't easy for local Holocaust survivor Ann Jaffe - 'it didn't happen overnight'. The Dialog. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://thedialog.org/international-news/learning-forgiveness-wasnt-easy-for-local-holocaust-survivor-ann-jaffe-it-didnt-happen-overnight/.
University, M. S. (2021, November 2). Holocaust survivor Ann Jaffe. Vimeo. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://vimeo.com/30390185.
Wilmington Holocaust Survivor tells Remarkable Story (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://www.newarkpostonline.com/news/local/wilmington-holocaust-survivor-tells-remarkable-story/article_a5d2e6b7-256b-57c7-8770-94972d5dbbc0.html.