Nina Katz, 89, died February 8, 2014. A Holocaust survivor, she came to Memphis in 1949, after World War II, with her late husband and Holocaust survivor, Morris Katz. They were married for 58 years. A tireless community activist, she worked for human rights, literacy, and Holocaust education. She was a proud American and believed in "giving back" to society. For over forty years she taught Holocaust education and gave personal testimony to schools, churches, colleges, Teacher Institutes, and any group that would listen to what she had to say. She was so excited to help bring Facing History and Ourselves to Memphis which promotes Holocaust education and sends speakers to give testimony. She knew that when she is gone, Facing History will continue to carry on the legacy to make sure no one ever forgets what happened to those who perished in the Holocaust. She helped establish the Memphis Literacy Council to assist individuals to learn to read, helped co-found Diversity Memphis, and was the first female chairman of the Memphis National Conference of Christians and Jews. She started in her home, an interracial, interfaith, women's discussion group to help bridge the gap that divides us, called "Coffee and Dialogue". She was also a past president of Hadassah, a Red Cross volunteer with World War II paralyzed veterans, and a travel agent. In addition, she played an important role in a host of other civic organizations. Nationally and locally recognized for her work on behalf of human rights, diversity and education, she was the recipient of numerous awards from organizations as diverse as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the City of Memphis, the Gandhi Institute, the Heroism Award from Women of Achievement, the Yad Vashem Award in Israel, and the Doctors of Humanity from Christian Brothers College. Mrs. Katz always spoke fondly of her home, it was known as her "house of freedom". She was a fantastic cook and welcomed people of all nationalities and religions to dine at their table. Some people would say it was like dining at the United Nations. In her over 40 years of speaking about the Holocaust, Nina's voice is one that has touched thousands of people and whose echo will be heard for many generations to come. She is survived by two children, Marilyn Magnus (Alan) of Memphis and Jerry Katz (Cheryl) of St. Louis, four treasured grandchildren, Tanya Burt (Richard), Elaina Sexton (Michael) and Lauren and Josh Katz, and two very loved great-grandchildren, Zachary, and Eva Burt. Services were held at Anshei Sphard Cemetery, Sunday February 9th. The family requests that memorials be sent to Facing History and Ourselves, Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth Synagogue, The Memphis Jewish Home, or donor's choice.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Feb. 16, 2014