by Suzanna Deutsch, his widow

Henri Zvi Deutsch–1930-2007

Henri Zvi Deutsch was born in Antwerp, Belgium. He was 9 when he fled Belgium with his family and 10 when they arrived in New York City. His immediate family, which consisted of his father, Bernard, his mother, Helen, his brother Simon and his sister, Josette, survived. His extended family all perished in the Holocaust.

Deutsch lived in Israel from 1963-1970 and taught at Tel Aviv University. It was there that he met his wife, Suzanna Deutsch, who came from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The couple had three children and returned from Israel to live in Milwaukee.

Henri Zvi Deutsch devoted his life to educating both Jews and non-Jews about the Holocaust. He was a teacher and a writer. Many of his plays were about the Holocaust and other Jewish themes. They were presented locally and also were produced and presented by the Eden Theater, an African-American Theater Company in Denver, Colorado. The remarkable director of the Eden Theater, Miss Lucy Walker found that his work spoke to her audience.

He also did a great deal of writing for children. His plays for children were shown on “The Open Door,” a Chicago television show, presented in the 1980s. He also wrote for “Shofar,” a magazine for Jewish children that is no longer in publication.

In the 1980s Henri Zvi Deutsch found out that his family had been saved by a Righteous Diplomat, Aristides de Sousa Mendes. This remarkable man was the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, France and saved around 30,000 lives. Deutsch devoted much of the rest of his life to teaching people about the life of Aristides de Sousa Mendes as well as other Holocaust related history. He became friendly with one of the surviving sons of the Mendes family.

Deutsch attended classes at Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC in order to enhance his teaching skills. He was a presenter at numerous national Conferences on Jewish Education. In 1995 he traveled to Portugal representing survivors who had been saved by de Sousa Mendes. He also represented those survivors at a special ceremony held at the United Nations.

Henri Zvi Deutsch taught college, high school and Hebrew school classes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for almost 35 years. He never missed an opportunity to transmit knowledge of the Holocaust through those classes. He loved his students and they loved him. He also appeared on local television many times in order to tell his story and that of other survivors.

Henri Zvi Deutsch wanted to be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, a proud and grateful American, a good Jew—and most of all-a good human being.