Roman was instrumental in all of our organizational activities, from the national and worldwide survivor gatherings of the 1980’s to the yearly memorial services at Yom HaShoah. He was an eloquent orator whose voice reached millions through his speech at the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Roman was a determined advocate for survivor reparations and for the acknowledgment of and advocacy for righteous gentiles, negotiating with the German government and winning concessions from them even as he was personally weakening from age and illness, to assure that survivors and those who had helped Jews during the war years might live out their days as free from want as possible.

His enthusiasm for teachers and for Holocaust education led him to develop a strong relationship with HAJRTP. He often said that education would ensure that his past would not be our children’s future. So many of our teachers were witnesses to his riveting testimony about his survival during the Nazi occupation of Lodz and his concentration camp experiences. He never failed to remind us of the devotion of his dog Lala who followed the family into the ghetto. He talked with humor and love about the years after the war, when he came to the United States as an orphan, lived with a foster family in Atlanta and was able to continue his education at Emory University.

Roman’s generosity was boundless. In his last years he made sure the teacher program would continue through personally funding “last dollars” when the program was in financial straits. He was a lively presence at our alumni reunions, regaling groups with his stories and jokes.  He came to the teacher send-offs in recent years though it was increasingly difficult for him to travel and emotionally draining for him to speak. He always held the audience in the palm of his hand with his gentle manner and his insistent warning that we should teach children not to be bystanders.

Roman’s beautiful wife Hannah who was also a survivor and friend of HAJRTP died in 2017. He is survived by his daughter Susan Avjian and his son Jeffrey Kent. Also surviving are his son-in-law Robert, his grandchildren Dara, Eryn and Sean, and his great-granddaughter Hannah.

May his memory be for a blessing..