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Ellen Trachtenberg: A Gift of Permanent Remembrance

Ellen"If you are ever thinking about building a museum, I would like to help."

Little did she know, but this simple offer to Siegi Izakson would launch an almost 30-year endeavor for Ellen Trachtenberg, as she eventually joined with other volunteers to plan, build, open and grow Holocaust Museum Houston.
As the Museum was being created, Trachtenberg was co-chair of the committee that developed the Museum's permanent exhibit, "Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers." Trachtenberg undertook this journey with a deep-seeded sense of reverence and passion that has never wavered. "I have such a deep respect and love for the survivors," she said. "I am honored to have been entrusted to keep their stories alive. I feel very privileged. I have always wanted to do right by them."

While the Museum will grow and change with time, the permanent exhibit will always be the heart of the Museum. In fact, the exhibit is commonly referred to as the "core," which is fitting. Even today, Trachtenberg is devoted to - and protective of - the Museum and the core exhibit. She explained, "I want to ensure that the historical events of the Holocaust are still told and told in an effective way. The core exhibit is how we teach this history. This space teaches what can happen when evil and hatred go unchecked and the importance of tolerance and respect for others."

Trachtenberg has taken steps to ensure that the permanent exhibit will continue beyond her own time. She and her husband created and funded the Ellen and Dan Trachtenberg Permanent Exhibit Endowment Fund, which will provide perpetual support for the core exhibit. When asked why they chose to make this gift, she said, "When you endow, you make a promise. People will know what you care about. An endowment reminds my grandchildren of what is important to me. I want them to know that this is part of who I am." She went on to add, "The legacy I want to leave isn't money, but values and traditions."

Ellen Trachtenberg and husband Dan created an endowed fund to provide ongoing support for the Museum's Permanent Exhibit. To join Ellen in providing endowed funding for the Museum's future, contact Stephanie Dugan, CAP® at 713-527-1629 or

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