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Biography of Karen Z. Brass

A Second Generation of a Holocaust Survivor Educator and Speaker

    Karen Z. Brass is the daughter of Mr. David Zauder, a Holocaust Survivor and detainee in the Krakow Ghetto, enslaved in the Plazcow work camp, Auschwitz death camp, Flossenburg concentration camp, and Sachsenhausen concentration camp as well as being forced to take the Death March from Auschwitz. Brass has provided her Father's personal account concerning the atrocities that befell his family and other victims of the Holocaust. Since 1982, after being coached during a high school Holocaust program by Dr. Leatrice Rabinsky, a Holocaust Educator in Cleveland, Ohio, Brass was then trained by The Anne Frank Exhibition where Dr. Rabinsky was training as well.  She also developed a close relationship with Mary Neufeld, a Holocaust Survivor who spoke regularly in schools, including Bowling Green State University, where Brass first heard her speak and decided to follow in her footsteps. Brass has spoken to more than 800 public and private schools, synagogues, churches, educational groups and to our esteemed military.

    Her Father's story is impressive. As a Polish-born citizen, his experiences being taken into slavery for five years by the Nazi's, as well as losing both parents to murder, his survival, liberation and immigration to the United States, and his life accomplishments, in spite of his horrific past are impressive.

    Some of the details of her Father's experiences parallel the movie, Schindler's List, although he did not get on the list. He remained in Auschwitz death camp for two years before being forced on the Death March, as well as into two additional concentration camps. Brass shares the lessons of the Holocaust through her Second-Generation eyes.

    Brass believes no one should ever stand silent in the face of hatred. While sharing her Father's story of survival, she weaves in her thoughts concerning what it means to be a bystander, and how to eliminate discrimination, as it is cruel, irrational, and only flourishes when bystanders are present and do not act. She promotes being a Standupster® instead of being a bystander. She coined this word and defines a Standupster® as any human being who chooses to take a stand and use their sense of personal responsibility, and moral leadership, to take action to stop bullying and discrimination in today's school environments. She romances how our differences make us stronger and how we must stand united against bigotry, racism, and sexual stereotyping. To not just be tolerant of our differences, but to be educated about them so that we can embrace each other's differences.

    She started this website, as well as her company, Can I Count On You LLC, to make what she teaches more accessible to educators, parents, and students alike. Hatred of other's differences must be stopped and she promotes that together we are stronger because of our unique qualities. Brass also teaches why it is important to put an end to stereotyping, selecting scapegoats, and the proliferation of prejudice.

    Brass graduated from Bowling Green State University with a double major in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education K-12 as well as a Minor in Psychology. She  also studied Holocaust education and speaking styles under the fine tutelage of Mary Neufeld, a Holocaust survivor who spoke regularly in the Toledo, Ohio, area. Brass taught elementary school after graduating in 1987, and today, is still an educator. She was the assigned chairman of The Raoul Wallenburg Scholarship Award at Toledo University for 3 years, prior to moving to Colorado.

    Karen Z. Brass is happily married to her husband, David Seth Brass, since 1996, and is a mother to their two children, each with learning and physical disabilities, including Autism. She has seen first hand what bullying does to self-esteem in her children's eyes, as well as in the eyes of their friends who didn't know what to do to help them. She enlisted their assistance by first educating them and their parents on her children's unique strengths as well as their disabilities, and focused on building a stronger community, surrounding each child with friends who understand, care, and have learned the meaning of compassion and personal accountability for their own actions. Watching these other children rise to the occasion of not allowing bullying to occur in their presence has been a great source of strength and hope for Brass and her children.

    Brass has been a docent and speaker to over 5,000 adults and students at the Anne Frank Exhibit during its month long tour in Toledo, Ohio, in 1999. She has organized and regularly met with other Second-Generation, Children of Holocaust Survivors, since 1995. She has served on the Speakers Bureau for both The Mizel Museum, as well as Colorado University's Holocaust Awareness Institute, and she  has been a guest speaker for Hillel on Campus. Brass is on the speaker list for The Colorado Coalition of Genocide Awareness and Action and has been gratefully involved in this important organization since 2013. She has contributed to the Teen Aggression & Bullying Workbook, which is part of a series of Teen Mental Health & Life Skills Workbooks. She is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary. She has helped advocate, speak on behalf of and make into law, three bills in the State of Colorado, one of which was The Holocaust Awareness Week; Holocaust studies are now taught in Public Schools state-wide due to the law.

    Brass was honored to be an invited Holocaust Lecturer to U. S. Military leadership at the Cheyenne Mountain NORAD facility, and to the Peterson Air Force Base military personnel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2006, and returned again in 2007. Brass has attended sixteen World Federation of Child Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants conferences, including one in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She was an invited Education Speaker at the 2011 World Federation Child Survivors and Their Descendants Conference in Warsaw, Poland, and Cleveland, Ohio in 2012, Las Vegas, Nevada in 2013, and to Berlin and Bunde, Germany and again spoke in Jerusalem, Israel in 2017. She serves on the Executive Board for the WFJCHSD now since 2013. Her speaking on behalf of her Standupster® program was shared on April 16th, 2012, at Fort Carson, at the invitation of Major General Joseph Anderson, for their Days Of Remembrance program. Again, on April 28th,2014 she was an invited speaker to Fort Carson's Day of Remembrance by Col. Sienna. Brass speaks wherever there is interest in learning more about the importance of the connection between the lessons of the Holocaust and today's environment.