Mildred (Millie) S. Kritzler

Simon and Hildegunde Straahs, my grandparents, saved their daughter from certain death by selflessly sending her into the arms of strangers. At the age of nine and a half, Mom boarded a train for France. For my mother, Millie Kritzler, of blessed memory, that was the beginning of a journey to a new life.

At the age of nine and a half, Mom began to realize the difference that one person can make – that one decision can make. Mom always felt that she had a guardian angel who protected her and brought not one but many individuals whose actions helped to make that difference – among them the American Friends Service Committee, HIAS, Jewish Family Services, and of course, Betty Brand (mother of Marilyn and Marcus Brand) and Hyman and Clara Brand.

Mom called me the day she made her gift to the Jewish Community Foundation to tell me what she had done. I was so proud of her and so proud to be her daughter. Through her act of giving she will make a difference in the lives of children she will never get to meet – children who will have the opportunity to receive a Jewish education at the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy.

I miss Mom every day. Although she is no longer here, her memory lives on in her act of giving and loving kindness.