Brief Bio: Ernest W. Michel, Holocaust survivor, author, lecturer and community leader served as Executive VIce President of the UJA-Federation of New York
from 1970 to 1989. He continues his active involvement in the organization as COnsultant and Executive Vice
Mr. Michel arrived in the U.S. as a DP in 1946 with the aid of UJA funds. After a brief stint as a reporter and columnist for the Port Huron Times Herald,
he began his 50 plus year career with UJA, first as a speaker and beginning in 1947 as a member of its
staff. His career culminated in his position as CEO of UJA-Federation, the largest citywide fundraising
organization in the United States.
Born in Germany, Mr. Michel was sent to his first camp at age 16 in 1939. After almost six years in some of the
most norotious Nazi concentration camps - Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna-Monowitz, Buchenwald, Berga - just to mention a few, he escaped
from a death march - before the end of WOrld War II.
After working briefly for the United States Military Government, he became a special correspondent
for the German News Agency DANA at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. His articles, carrying the byline "Auschwitz
Survivor #104995" appeared in all German newspapers. In 1960, as Chairman of the first Auschwitz Survivors Dinner
held in this country, he was invited to meet President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House.
Appearing frequently on TV, Mr. Michel is in great demand as a speaker and has been honored by many
major Jewish organizations. The only Holocaust survivor to become a senior professional in UJA-Federation, yhe has been involved in most
of the major events in Jewish history since the end of World War II and has traveled extensively to communities all over the world.
He was the initiator and chairman of the highly publicized Word Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Israel in 1981
which brought together, for the first and only time, 6000 survivors and their families from 23 countries
and 4 continents.
His critically acclaimed autobiography "Promises to Keep", covering his life story beginning with Kristallnacht in Germany
in 1938, his arrest as a teenager and subsequent deportation, his miraculous survival in camps, his final escape and his experiences
with UJA since his arrival in the U.S. in 1946 was published in 1993.
Mr. Michel is an avid collector of historical Judaica, has established a major collection which is traveling
throughout the United States. The Exhibit includes some 150 unique and historical items, letters, autographed photos,
original documents and artifacts.