History of Kol Israel Foundation
Kol Israel Foundation is an organization forged by Holocaust Survivors who settled in Cleveland after WWII. Putting their history of unbearable losses of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, children aside, they found themselves alone, strangers in a strange land. Because of the strength and vibrancy of the Cleveland community, many Survivors settled here.
In the early 1950s, alone and strangers in a strange land, these courageous men and women, many who were the last surviving members of their families, identified with each other’s history and heritage, felt free to speak in their native languages, and formed strong bonds with people of similar histories. They became not only lifelong friends but each others’ families. Out of the ashes, they embraced their new homeland. started new lives, built schools and shuls, raised money in support of Eretz Yisrael (Israel) and formed what would in later years evolved into The Kol Israel Foundation.
In 1959, the group met at the home of Anne and Mike Frum and officially started Kol Israel. The name for the organization was taken from an Israeli radio station that disseminated information throughout post war-torn Europe. Per the Ohio Secretary of State, KIF was incorporated on February 2, 1960. This is the first time Kol Israel was officially recognized as a not-for-profit entity.
In 1961, Kol Israel built one of the first monuments in the United States dedicated to the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Ashes of the victims from concentration camps are buried beneath it and the names of deceased family members are engraved on its surrounding wall.
Today, with resounding strength and commitment, the “family” has grown to include Survivors, second- and third-generation children, and supporters. They are actively engaged in carrying forward Kol Israel Foundation’s legacy and mission of advocacy and support for Survivors, commemoration programs and Holocaust education programs designed to preserve the eyewitness narratives of our survivors.