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NBA Great on Holocaust Education Mission

Ray Allen at Auschwitz, 2017 (Photo: instagram/trayfour)

This week we bring you another current advocate and ally for the Jewish people. This time, it's a name that many will know - Ray Allen, the basketball legend and future Hall of Famer. But shooting hoops is not Mr. Allen's concern now that he's retired from the hardwood court. Instead, Tablet's Jonathan Zalman reports that Allen recently visited Auschwitz concentration camp and has vowed to educate today's generations about the Holocaust in hopes of being "a vehicle for positive change":

Last December, retired NBA champion Ray Allen was named a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by then-President Barack Obama. Allen said he was honored to be named to the organization’s board and that he was looking forward to being “a vehicle for positive change and inclusion of all people.” But Allen has long been an advocate for Holocaust education, beginning with his days at UConn, and as a rookie for the Milwaukee Bucks...

Last week, Allen, now a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, visited Poland for three days with a few friends. The trip was organized by Simon Taylor, a Boston-based rabbi who works at NCSY, a Jewish youth organization, and Jonny Daniels, the founder and executive director of From The Depths, a Holocaust preservation organization that’s run entirely by millennials.

Allen began educating upon arriving at the airport in Warsaw when he met a group of high school kids. He talked to them for 30 minutes, Taylor said, about everything from the Holocaust to basketball. “They asked him, ‘What’s the best opportunity you’ve ever had?'” Taylor recalled. “This trip,” Allen replied.

Allen’s schedule was jam-packed: He visited the former Warsaw Ghetto; met with the nuns from the Franciscan Monastery of the Maria Family, where over 750 Jews were saved during the Holocaust; ate dinner with a group of people deemed by Yad Vashem to be Righteous Among the Nations; watched The Zookeeper’s Wife at Warsaw Monastery; met with Moshe Tirosh, the last living survivor of the Zookeepers villa who was hidden there when he was 6; and visited Oskar Schindler’s factory in Kraków.

Allen, Taylor, and Daniels, along with others, also helped to rescue a Jewish headstone that was stolen during the Holocaust and used to build a home in the small village of Jozefow Nad Wisla. Later, Allen visited the kitchen in the home of the Skoczylas family in Ciepelow, who had built a small bunker under the floorboards during WWII. According to a press release, the family was caught attempting to hide Jews there and 12 members of the family were killed by the Nazis. Allen met with the grandson of the only surviving family member...

Tags: Advocates and Allies

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