Nina Katz: 1924-2014

February 9, 2014 in Faith Matters by David Waters

jwkatzbw_t607Nina Katz, the Holocaust survivor who became a voice for tolerance, diversity and literacy in Memphis, died Sunday.

Katz was born in 1924 in Poland. In 1939, her parents, grandfather and younger sister were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp where the perished. She was sent to Oberaltstadt to work in a textile factory in a slave labor camp. She was among 800 survivors to be liberated by Allied troops in 1945.

“Why I survived, I do not know. But I told myself I would carry the message of justice,” Katz told The Commercial Appeal in 2007.

Katz and her husband moved from Israel to Memphis in 1949. She helped to establish the Memphis Literacy Council, co-founded Diversity Memphis, and was the first female chairman of the board for the Memphis chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

“Her involvement and passion made all of us try harder, appreciate what we had more and realize that one person standing up could make a difference,” said Jim Foreman, longtime executive director of the NCCJ. “Let us all strive to be better in her memory.”

Her funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Anshei Sphard Cemetery, 3160 Airways. The family will be sitting Shiva at a later time.