Miles (left) and Yona Lerman playing a game of chess in their home in Tomaszow Lubelski, Poland, 1935. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Members of the Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth movement gather for a portrait. Miles Lerman is in the front row, second from left. Lvov, Poland, 1937. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles and Chris Lerman pose for their wedding portrait in Lodz, Poland, February 25, 1946. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles and Chris Lerman walk along a street in Berlin while living in the Schlachtensee displaced persons camp. Berlin, Germany, March 1946. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles and Chris Lerman travel to the United States aboard the SS Marine Perch in January 1947. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman stands on the deck of the SS Marine Perch upon its arrival in New York harbor. February 11, 1947. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman (seated, center) takes part in the first Days of Remembrance ceremony, held in the East Room at the White House. Participants included President Ronald Reagan, Hadassah Rosensaft, Benjamin Meed, and Elie Wiesel. Washington, DC, April 18, 1981. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman (far left) and fellow United States Holocaust Memorial Council members pose with two milkcans containing a Scroll of Remembrance signed by Holocaust survivors at the Museum's symbolic groundbreaking ceremony. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Alan Gilbert
Miles Lerman (left) stands next to Elie Wiesel at the official groundbreaking ceremony held on the site of the future Museum building. October 16, 1985. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman, representing the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, signs an agreement with the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland at the site of Belzec. Warsaw, Poland, 1987. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Gustaw Russ
Miles Lerman (left) with Founding Director Jeshajahu Weinberg (center) and Michael Berenbaum meet to discuss the transfer of artifacts. November 2, 1991. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman (far left) stands before the grand staircase in the Hall of Witness during construction of the Museum. Washington, DC, 1991. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman (front row, left) and members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council attend the Special Ecumenical Service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, on April 18, 1993, to commemorate the opening of the Museum. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Chairman Miles Lerman (far left), Director Sara Bloomfield, DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey (center), and Abe Pollin (far right) gather at the Museum's Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust program. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Marshall Cohen
Miles Lerman and Sara Bloomfield speak at a United States Holocaust Memorial Council swearing-in ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. May 31, 2000. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman (far right) gathers with Elie Wiesel (far left), Ruth Mandel, and Benjamin Meed for the 2003 Days of Remembrance ceremony. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman and his wife, Chris, pose for a picture in the Museum's Hall of Witness. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Miles Lerman (second from left) and his wife, Chris, take part in in the 2006 Days of Remembrance events with Council Vice Chairman Joel Geiderman and Chairman Fred Zeidman. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum deeply mourns the passing of Miles Lerman, Holocaust survivor, partisan fighter in the forests of Poland, international leader in the cause of Holocaust remembrance, and a founding father of the Museum.
Mr. Lerman served on the Museum’s Council for 23 years, having received appointments from Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton, and he was chairman through most of the Museum’s first decade, from its opening in 1993 until 2000. He remained on the Council until 2003.
“During the Holocaust, Miles Lerman fought the Nazis and their collaborators,” said Museum Chairman Fred S. Zeidman. “Afterward, he fought with equal determination to ensure that the world would never forget the Holocaust’s victims or its lessons by leading the effort to establish the Museum. Miles taught his successors the meaning of memory. Those of us who follow in the path he forged owe him a debt of gratitude and bear a tremendous responsibility to carry on his legacy.”
“Miles often referred to those of us who worked closely with him as his ‘comrades in arms,’” says Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “His boundless energy and determination were a driving force that created the Museum and made it the international institution it is today.”
Mr. Lerman and his wife, Chris, also a survivor, were actively involved in every aspect of the Museum and were exceptionally generous supporters. He led the nationwide fundraising campaign to build the institution and negotiated historic international agreements that helped create the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition and its world-renowned archives. Through his initiative, the Museum established the Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance to dispel the myth that Jews did not resist the Nazis and their collaborators.
Under Mr. Lerman’s leadership, the Museum began to serve as a voice of conscience by establishing the Committee on Conscience to speak out about contemporary genocide. His relentless efforts and determination to make the world remember those who perished also led to the creation of the memorial at Belzec, in Poland, where some half a million Jews were murdered, including members of his own family. As a global force for confronting hatred, antisemitism, and genocide, the Museum stands as one of his most enduring legacies.
“We must learn from the past as we address the present and the future ... We, the eyewitnesses of the horrors of the past, must remind and warn those around us ... that hatred consumes not only its intended victims but its passive bystanders as well. In this way, the lessons of the Holocaust will be applied once again as we seek to create a better and a saner tomorrow.”
— Miles Lerman