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President Obama Appoints Five Members to United States Holocaust Memorial Council

WASHINGTON, DC–On October 29, President Barack Obama appointed Joseph D. Gutman, Roman R. Kent, Howard D. Unger, Clemantine Wamariya, and Elie Wiesel to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the governing body of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Council consists of 55 presidential appointees, in addition to ten Congressional representatives and three ex-officio members from the Departments of Education, Interior, and State. Gutman’s and Kent’s appointments expire in 2015. Unger’s, Wamariya’s, and Wiesel’s expire in 2016. Wiesel was reappointed to the Council; the others are new appointments.

Joseph D. Gutman (Chicago, IL) is the Managing Director of Grosvenor Capital Management. The son of a Holocaust survivor, he is an active with the Museum’s Midwest Regional Office. He serves on the executive committee of Birthright Israel, has held leadership roles with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the Israel Public Affairs Committee, and is a member of the boards of the Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago and the Make a Better Place Foundation.

Roman R. Kent (New York, NY) was born in Lodz, Poland and is a Holocaust survivor. President of the Namor International Corporation, he serves as Chairman of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants and was a member of the presidential delegation to Poland in January 2010 to attend the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. He is also President of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous and of the International Auschwitz Committee and is Treasurer of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Howard D. Unger (Briarcliff Manor, NY) is the founder of the investment firm Saw Mill Capital, he was previously a partner at Chase Capital, Chase Manhattan Bank’s private equity investment group. The son of a Holocaust survivor, he is a member of the Committee on Conscience, the Museum’s genocide prevention initiative, and serves on the board of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center and the investment committee of the Binghamton University Foundation Endowment.

Clemantine Wamariya (Kenilworth, IL) survived the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Inspired by Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, she began speaking about her experiences on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005 and has shared her story at Museum events around the country. Currently an undergraduate at Yale University, she is involved in the Yale Refugee Project, which works closely with New Haven’s Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, and serves on the board of Reach Out, a Yale University partnership for international service.

Elie Wiesel (Boston, MA) is a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate. The Museum’s Founding Chairman, he served as Chairman of President Carter’s Commission on the Holocaust, which proposed the establishment of the Museum. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and has received numerous awards for his literary and human rights activities, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor. In 2010, he received the inaugural United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Award—the Museum’s highest honor—in recognition of the singular role he has played in establishing and advancing the cause of Holocaust remembrance. The award is now named the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Elie Wiesel Award.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit

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