Remembering a Champion of Holocaust Education

Friday, Sep 17, 2021
marilyn and kurt wallach

This week, we learned the sad news that Kurt Wallach, an outstanding business leader, U.S. Navy veteran, and dedicated advocate for the Jewish community, passed away. He was 95 years old.

I had the pleasure of presenting Kurt with an FAU honorary doctorate in December 2020, in recognition of the time, talents and treasures he has dedicated to keeping the lessons of the Holocaust alive, and to help ensure — through education — that such atrocities never happen again.

Like so many Americans, Kurt emigrated to this country as a child with his family, escaping horrific circumstances, and ultimately achieved the American Dream. He has been an entrepreneur, a real estate mogul, an author, and even a tennis pro, achieving success every time. However, he never forgot about the danger he and his family faced — narrowly escaping the Nazis twice — or the many friends and relatives whose lives were lost during the Holocaust.

In November 2020, Kurt and his wife, Marilyn, gave a monumental $20 million gift to FAU — the largest single gift in university history — to create the Kurt and Marilyn Wallach Institute for Holocaust and Jewish Studies. A portion of this generous gift will be used to construct a building or building addition on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, which will serve as the hub for Holocaust, human rights and Jewish studies education programs. The gift also will support the establishment and operation of the institute, which will offer research and educational programs with a mission of deterring hate, bias and discrimination. 

I want to extend my most sincere sympathy to Kurt’s wife, Marilyn, and their son, Mark, a proud FAU alumnus. The world lost a great man in Kurt Wallach, who lived an extraordinary life filled with hard work, service to his nation and his community, and a dedication to educating future generations. We will never forget all he has done for Holocaust, human rights, and Jewish studies education — both here at FAU and throughout his life.