Board Members

Melissa Hacker

Executive Director

Melissa Hacker, Executive Director of the KTA, is the daughter of a Kindertransport survivor from Vienna, Austria. Melissa was the first Second Generation member to serve as President of the Kindertransport Association (2013-2023).

During that decade, Melissa was instrumental in bringing the KTA forward, embarking on a multi-year strategic planning process, creating a dynamic platform of in-person and online events including a trip tracing the Kindertransport journey from Vienna and Berlin to London, commemorating the 80th year (2019) of the Kindertransports, and guiding two redesigns of the KTA website. Melissa seeks to build community, impact, and sustainability, while honoring the dreams, intentions and legacy of the Kindertransport survivors who founded the KTA.

Melissa has spoken internationally on the Kindertransports, and consulted on the exhibit, Rescuing Children on the Brink of War at the Center for Jewish History in New York (2018, traveling in 2024), and written for the catalog and provided film excerpts for Without a Home: Kindertransports from Vienna, at the Vienna Jewish Museum (2021). Melissa’s chapter From Novosielitza to New York City, was published by Theodore Kramer Gesselschaft (2020), and Die Kindertransport Association chapter in Rettet Wenigtens die Kinder, by Fachhochschulerverlag (2018).

Melissa is also a filmmaker and professor; she made her directorial debut with My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering the Kindertransports, which was short-listed for Academy Award nomination and seen in film festivals, cinemas, museums, on television, and in universities worldwide. Honors received For Ex Libris, A Life in Bookplates, Melissa’s current work in progress, include a Fulbright Artist-in-Residence award in Vienna, residencies at Yaddo, VCCA, Playa, Willapa Bay AIR, Saltonstall, Millay, Digital Arts Studios in Belfast NI, and a 2022 LABA Laboratory for Jewish Culture Fellowship.

Melissa serves on the Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the World Federation of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants.

Board of Directors:

Ora Gordon

President

Ms. Gordon is President of the KTA as of 2024. She chairs the Executive Committee and serves on the Board Development Committee. From 2022 to 2024, she served as the Executive Vice President to the KTA chairing the Personnel Committee and the Executive Director Task Force, and was a member on the ByLaws Task Force. From 2015-2022, she served as the Correspondence Secretary to the KTA and was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and Remuneration Task Force.

Ora worked for more than two decades in the corporate sector as an art director for Cendant Corporation and Swig Equities. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Rutgers College with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and History. She holds a Master’s Degree from Pratt Institute in Communication Design. For a number of years, she was a student at the Art Students League; her work was shown in Jersey City and Manhattan venues and galleries.

Ora is a KT2; her father, Abrascha Gorbulski later Alexander Gordon, was a Kind who escaped Hamburg, Germany by train in December 1938. Together with her husand and teenage sons, Ora and her family have lived in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Blackrock Ireland, and now they make their home on the East Coast in North Jersey.

Alan Peizer

Executive Vice President, Speakers’ Bureau Chair

A lifetime resident of Seattle, WA, Alan is the spouse of KT2 Elaine Peizer, whose mother, Suse (Herz) Rosenstock, was a Kind from Worms, Germany and who lived with a foster family and in a hostel in England throughout the war.

Alan graduated from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA with a BA in (Mostly European) History and then obtained a law degree from the University of Washington Law School in Seattle.  He recently retired from an illustrious and widely respected 47 year career in litigation where he was the senior partner of his law firm, involved in many interesting and unusual civil cases and trials.

Alan brings to the executive board his experience having served on the boards of several Jewish organizations and as the president of a regional Jewish camp, Camp Solomon Schechter. He also brings to the board his lifetime interest in history and his pleasure in meeting, interviewing and befriending Kinder and their descendants, having attended five conferences of the Kindertransport Association and/or the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants.  His work for the KTA as the Chair of the Speakers Bureau over the past seven years has enabled thousands of people across the USA, Canada and the world (Spain, Germany, Wales, etc.) to hear and appreciate the lessons of the many Kindertransport stories by the Kinder and their descendants.

When he is off the KTA clock, Alan enjoys travel, theatre, college football and learning from his 2 year old granddaughter.

Jason Camis

Treasurer

Jason Camis is the Treasurer of the Kindertransport Association (KTA) and its first 3rd generation Board Member. Jason joined the KTA board a few years ago when he determined it was his responsibility to honor his grandmother, Ilse Camis (a Kind from Vienna), by sharing his vast nonprofit experience to help the organization look to the future.

Kind of Jewish, kind of not… Jason brings a Midwestern voice to our mission, one that effects everyone regardless of their location, experience, religion, or heritage.

Professionally, he is the Executive Director for Sertoma International and the Hearing Charities of America, two nationally-recognized, nonprofit organizations working in the US, Canada, and Mexico. In addition, he is co-owner of Transport Brewery in the Kansas City metro.

Originally from Detroit, Jason lives in rural Kansas with his wife Molly, their daughters Gabriella and Luciana.

Rachel Rubin-Green

Secretary

Rachel is the daughter of Anne Forchheimer Rubin, a Kind from Coburg, Germany. She has been involved with the KTA since 2013, first as the Southern California chairperson, then a Board member-at-large, and most recently as Secretary. She is also a member of KTA’s Books and More Online Programming Team and a member of the Education Committee.

As a retired high school teacher, Rachel is active in her synagogue community in Los Angeles. Rachel feels strongly that the Kindertransport shows the world that actions of people in one country can effectively help people in another country, which in our world today is an important example.

Judy Ludin

Vice President, Membership

Judy Ludin, is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Marietta, who was on the Kindertransport, and Ernest Drucker. Born in Michigan, she has lived most of her life in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her career consisted mainly of work in the not-for-profit sector; her most recent position was Chief Development and Communications Officer for Menorah Manor, a not for profit Jewish nursing center.

After 30 years of service to Menorah Manor, she retired in December 2020, and is now a speaker and docent at The Florida Holocaust Museum. She has been married for 43 years to Eric, an attorney. They have 2 grown sons, Josh and Jacob. They  spend their free time cruising on their sailboat.

Brian Spencer

Vice President, Communications

Brian (KT3) is a Board Member and Vice President of Communications & Marketing for the KTA since December 2023. His grandmother, Liesel Spencer, was a Kind who escaped Wanne-Eickel, Germany by train by way of Duisburg and Hoek Van Holland, landed in England, where she later settled in Nottingham.

Brian holds a B.S. in Economics with a Minor in Jewish Studies from Towson University, where he was an active member of the University’s Hillel. He also holds an M.A. in International Relations from Tel Aviv University and an M.S. in Finance from the University of Tampa.

He was born and raised in Central New Jersey/Jersey Shore, but currently resides in Orlando, Florida with his three cats Mickey, Olga, and Bob.

Karen Kruger

Board Member

Karen is a KT2, the daughter of Holocaust survivor, Erika Stefanie Turkl Neumann. She took 45 years to piece together this family history and the result has been a documentary film, “Letters From Brno,” and the development of a Holocaust curriculum for students in grades 6th – 12th, in partnership with Yad Vashem.

Karen has been an educator for over 25 years and her fascination with neurodevelopment and its impact on learning has been a primary influence both professionally and personally. She worked with the NYC Department of Education to help implement a 5-year contract to train 20,000 NYC public school teachers with curriculum from All Kinds of Minds. Karen also worked with Hidden Sparks as Director of Education; the non-profit program is in more than 25 Jewish day schools in the tri-state area.

In 2011, Karen returned to the Charles Armstrong School, in Belmont, CA, specifically to work on the development of a research partnership between Armstrong and the UCSF Dyslexia Research Center. As the Director of Research and Education at Armstrong, Karen was responsible for overseeing the UCSF partnership on the school side, and for managing the other research partnerships with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NoticeAbility until she retired in 2020.

Karen has two grown children, Erika and Max Kruger and two beautiful grandchildren: Milo Armin and Penelope Rose.

Dunreith Kelly Lowenstein

Board Member

Dunreith Kelly Lowenstein joined the KTA Board in 2023. A member of the Education Committee,  she serves as a part-time facilitator for the Speaker Training Courses, does follow-up work with new speakers, and  is involved in the relaunch of the KTA Oral History Project.

A longtime educator, she was a member of the senior leadership team of Facing History and Ourselves and has designed and facilitated sessions in national and international venues on topics including the Holocaust, civil rights, immigration, race, and gender. “Every Stitch a Memory,” her chapter about Dutch Holocaust survivor Netty Vanderpol, is included in the anthology, Stitching Resistance: Women, Creativity and Fiber Arts (2014). She is also the co-author of a chapter about the impact of her Kindertransport Survivor father-in-law Edward Lowenstein’s 2012 return after more than seven decades to Essen, Germany in the anthology, Breaking Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory. In 2022, her essay about Holocaust survivor Ava Kadishson Schieber “Ava Kadishson Schieber: Creating an Autoportrait” was published in Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues.

Dunreith holds degrees from Williams College (B.A.) and Smith College (M.A.T. in History), and a Master’s certificate from the Harvard Medical School Program in Refugee Trauma.

Ilse Melamid

Board Member

Kind Ilse Melamid was fortunate to be on a Kindertransport from Vienna to England in August 1939. Sadly, she never saw her parents and sister again. Ilse earned a B.A. in Melbourne where she worked as a school counselor. She has lived in New York since 1966 holding mostly administrative jobs. Since marriage and retirement, Ilse has been a Board Member of the KTA, The New School, Selfhelp Community Services, and on projects concerned with services for youth, supportive housing, and environmental issues.

Jacqueline Shelton

Board Member

Jacqueline Shelton, KT2 and 2G, serves on the Education Committee of the KTA and is a member of the programming committee for the 2024 World Federation Conference of Holocaust Survivors & Descendants. Her mother (z”l) and aunt (z”l) traveled on the Kindertransport from Berlin to England in January 1939.

Jackie is a consultant and facilitator with Belonging by Design and loves creating connection and building community. She worked as a consultant with the Goethe-Institut for Lest We Forget, an outdoor photo display of living Holocaust survivors at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza and was the exhibition director for Lost Stories, Found Images: Portrait of Jews in Wartime Amsterdam by Annemie Wolff, which premiered in San Francisco and traveled to several museums across the USA.

A graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, UC Law San Francisco and UC Berkeley, Jackie lives in San Francisco with her husband and family.

Peter Suchmann

Board Member

Teacher, author, inventor and family historian. Peter is retired after 40 wonderful years of teaching science and science research in Great Neck, N.Y. Early in his teaching career, he served on the Board of the Long Island Make A Wish Foundation using my hobby of magic and illusion to ”break the ice” with “wishkids” in order to develop their individual “wish itineraries”. Peter has helped produce and develop approximately 100 TV shows for the Great Neck Public Access TV station, and produced a science and technology series called, “ScITech Long Island” with a number of his high school students.

Peter assisted his parents in writing their memoirs. Both of Peter’s parents left their birth place -Vienna, Austria in November 1938, immediately after Kristalnacht on the first Kindertransport from Vienna.  They met in England years later, moved to Israel in 1948, married and joined the fledgling Israeli Air Force. They later returned to England to raise a family and his family  immigrated to the US in 1962.

After Peter’s father passed away, he placed an article about his father’s beloved violin, which he bought during the Blitz in London, in the KTA Kinder-Link newsletter, as they looked for the perfect candidate to continue to play his prized violin. They found Arielle Korman though her grandfather, a Kind, and later Peter applied to join the Board of the Kindertransport to help keep his parents’ stories alive and to help grow the KTA  and with its vital missions.

David Vogelstein

Board Member

David Vogelstein has been a member of the Executive Board of the KTA for the past two years. He is a criminal defense attorney, a writer and published poet, and for thirty years the coach of Tamalpais High School’s award winning mock trial team, winning 28 county championships, four California State Titles, and the only California High School to win a National Championship in the modern era. He has been awarded the California Advocate of the year by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

David has handled more than ten thousand criminal cases, representing the full spectrum of the American population. He had his first date with his wife Vivian at the Woodstock Musical Festival in 1969. He and Vivian graduated from Clark University and lived for a year on a political collective/commune. While attending college David was sentenced to jail in 1970 for taking over a draft board and served time in solitary confinement.

Their son, Dr. Eric Vogelstein, is a tenured professor of medical and bio-ethics at Duquesne University. Their daughter Sarah is a special education supervisor in Oakland, California. David is a K2. His mother Susan Wolf and father Henry Vogelstein both escaped the Nazis from Hamburg in 1939, his mother on the Kindertransport. Henry went back to Germany as an American soldier, fighting his way through Germany at the Battle of Remagen and the Battle of the Bulge.

Shoshanah Wolfson

Board Member

Shoshanah is a Board Member who has made a variety of contributions towards fulfilling the KTA’s mission: She worked on portions of the KTA 80th anniversary train trip, helps to organize events for the New York chapter of the KTA, and serves on the Education Committee. She attended the 2023 World Federation of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants Conference, and participated in the KTA speaker training program.

Professionally, Shoshanah works as a television producer, interviewing people and directing camera crews, creating production schedules. She has worked for ABC, CBS and independent production companies. She writes, researches and develops stories for documentaries.

Shoshanah’s mother was a Kind from Wuppertal, Germany, and she has said that her participation in the KTA “comes from my heart.” It is her way of
commemorating her mother, her journey and the journey of other Kinder who were separated from their families yet persevered in life. “In light of world
events” she adds, “the work of the KTA is more important than ever, ensuring the continuation of the KTA and its mission is vital.”

Supporting Board Members

Contributions Chairperson Evelyn Frankford
Speakers Bureau Alan Peizer
Elections Chairperson Sherry Kohn
   
Financial Secretary & Membership Chairperson Emeritus Helga Newman (in blessed memory)
Board Member, Emeritus Anne Keleman
Ellen Bottner
Anita Weisboard (in blessed memory)

Kinder-Link Newsletter

Editor Sharon Taub
Designer and Publisher Jennifer Fuchel
Production Manager, Emeritus Martin Weinberger

Founder and President Emeritus

Edward Behrendt (1930-2005)

Past Presidents

1999-2012 Kurt Goldberger
1995-1998 Kurt Fuchel