Five Appointed to United States Holocaust Memorial Council

President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint

  • Joseph D. Gutman,
  • Roman Kent (Holocaust survivor),
  • Howard D. Unger,
  • Clemantine Wamariya (Rwandan genocide survivor) and
  • Holocaust writer and Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Elie Wiesel

to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Biographies follow the jump.

Joseph D. Gutman

Joseph D. Gutman is the Managing Director of Grosvenor Capital Management.  Before that, he was at Goldman Sachs, where he was Co-Head of the Chicago office at the time of his departure.  Mr. Gutman is the son of a Holocaust survivor, and is an active member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Chicago office and the Birthright Israel executive committee.  He is a member of the Board of Overseers at the College of Business at the University of Illinois. Mr. Gutman has also held leadership roles with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.  He is a member of the Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago Board of Directors as well as the board of the Make a Better Place Foundation.  Mr. Gutman earned a B.S in accounting from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Roman Kent

Roman Kent is President of Namor International Corporation.  Mr. Kent was born in Lodz, Poland and is a Holocaust survivor.  He arrived in the United States in 1946 under the auspices of the children’s quota of the United States Government’s “Displaced Persons Act.”  He worked in the field of international trade for 45 years focusing on textiles and dinnerware.  Mr. Kent has produced a documentary called “Children in the Holocaust,” and authored two books, including an autobiography titled Courage Was My Only Option.  Mr. Kent 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.  He is Chairman of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, President of Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, Treasurer of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and President of the International Auschwitz Committee.  Mr. Kent attended Emory University.

Howard D. Unger

Howard D. Unger is the founder of the investment firm Saw Mill Capital, a private equity firm that acquires middle-market manufacturing and service companies.   Prior to forming Saw Mill Capital, Mr. Unger was a partner at Chase Capital, Chase Manhattan Bank’s private equity investment group.  Mr. Unger is the son of a Holocaust survivor.  He is a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, the arm of the Council tasked with stimulating worldwide action against genocide and other crimes against humanity.  Mr. Unger also serves on the board of The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center and is a member of the Investment Committee for The Binghamton University Foundation Endowment.  He received a B.S. from Binghamton University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Clemantine Wamariya

Clemantine Wamariya is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. During the six years following the genocide, Ms. Wamariya lived in numerous refugee camps in seven different African countries before coming to Chicago in 2000.  Since first discussing her experiences as both a survivor of genocide and her life as a refugee on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005, Ms. Wamariya has traveled the country, speaking at numerous universities, high schools, and other organizations. During this time, she has spoken at the Annual U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Luncheon, the United Nations Annual Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Human Rights Law Conference, and the National Tribute Dinner of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  At Yale, she is involved in several human rights and genocide intervention activities. She is a part of the Yale Refugee Project which works closely with New Haven’s Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, and she also serves on the board of Reach Out, a Yale University partnership for international service.  Ms. Wamariya is currently an undergraduate at Yale University.

Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel is University Professor and the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University. Mr. Wiesel is a prolific writer, political activist, and a Holocaust survivor.  Mr. Wiesel is the author of 57 books of fiction and non-fiction.  Night, his memoir based on his experiences in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps is considered among the most important works in Holocaust literature.  Mr. Wiesel was the Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and was instrumental in the development of the Museum.  He has served continuously on the Council since its creation.  Mr. Wiesel has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal, the rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor, and, in 1986, he received the Nobel Peace Prize.