Remembers The Past ACK KLIGER says learning what his parents experienced in Hungary motivated him to support the efforts of the Anti-Defamation League in fighting hate and bigotry. ADL national director Abraham Foxman presented him with Norman Newhouse Human Relations Communications Award at a dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York.
Kliger, president and chief executive of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., said one is defined by what one remembers what came before.
The Germans occupied Hungary in1944 when his mother Ann was 14. Both his mother and father Sam were born in Poland but found themselves in Hungary during the war.
One day all the Jewish women, ages 10-30, were ordered to gather at the train station. The crowd was more than the train could handle, so the youngest were told to go back.
Ann lied about her age and was sent back to the ghetto. That day she missed her ride to the death camp of Auschwitz.
"If my mother hadn’t lied about her age," Kliger said, "I wouldn’t be here."
Jack was born in 1947 in Florence, Italy, where his parents had settled after the war. He came to Brooklyn with his family at age three.
He asked his mother if all the people at the train station were Jews. She said that Hungarian people were there, going about their business. "But they didn’t look. The Jews were invisible, something to get rid of."
"This is a very moving dinner honoring Jack Kliger," said Francois Delattre, the French consul general in New York.
"An attack against a Jew is an attack against all of France. France will attack anti-Semitism with any means. France has taken a leading role in cracking down on anti-Semitic websites. This zero tolerance policy is paying off."