The Botkin Family: A Bridge Between the Past and the Future

Meryl Botkin was delighted when she heard that her granddaughter, Julia, had been accepted into the Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship at the JFCS Holocaust Center. She knew that she would get the chance to see her beloved granddaughter more often throughout the school year, and it would give Julia an incredible opportunity to study the Holocaust and patterns of genocide at a college level. Julia, a student at Presentation High, a Catholic college preparatory school in San Jose, was one of a cohort of eight exceptional Bay Area high school students accepted into the Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship – a rigorous eight month program.

JFCS Holocaust Center

Ingrid Tauber with Meryl and Julia Botkin

When Meryl got a chance to catch up with her good friend, Ingrid Tauber, she learned for the first time that Ingrid had actually established the scholarship in her mother (Lilly Manovill’s) name. As fate would have it, Meryl is one of just a few of Ingrid’s friends who had the opportunity to meet Lilly personally. Meryl remembers her meaningful connection with Ingrid’s mother fondly saying, “Lilly was a warm, charming, and worldly woman with an easy manner and a wonderful laugh.”

Years later, fate would step in again when Meryl and Ingrid went to Berlin for a conference. Ingrid and her husband, Frank Taforo, traveled there with Ellen and Rabbi Doug Kahn who were instrumental in helping Ingrid discover more about her family roots in Berlin. During their trip, Ingrid would unearth even more information about her family history before the rise of Hitler, and it was a profound and moving experience for all those involved.

Lilly’s Story

Lilly Manovill worked as a nurse alongside her husband, Laszlo Tauber, a physician, at the International Red Cross Hospital in the Budapest ghetto. She risked her life to venture out of the ghetto and save the lives of both Jewish and non-Jewish patients throughout the Nazi German occupation of Hungary. Lilly and her family remained in Hungary during the war, rescuing many Jews—not only with medical attention, but also with forged papers that forestalled their deportation to Auschwitz. Through her personal contact with Raoul Wallenberg, Lilly was able to obtain Swedish passports. She and her husband immigrated to the United States in 1947.

At the Manovill Fellowship graduation ceremony last month Meryl addressed the graduates and their families. She spoke about her relationship with Lilly and Ingrid and about the moving and remarkable link—from Lilly to Ingrid to her—and now to Julia—and to all of the Fellowship graduates saying, “You have in your hearts and minds the legacy of a woman who was a humanitarian… a brave and courageous person who acted in unimaginably dangerous times to do the righteous thing. Congratulations!”

Manovill Fellowship Graduation, JFCS Holocaust Center

From left: Manovill Fellows: Meg Bender-Stephanski, Jordana Siegel, Morgan Blum Schneider, Director of Education, JFCS Holocaust Center, Ben Guggenheim, Reanne Zheng, and Jesse Poe, Teaching Assistant and Albert Jerassy University Fellow. Front row: Julia Geaghan-Breiner and Julia Botkin. (Not pictured: Leon Tsai and Zachary Cherian)

About the Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship

The Manovill Fellowship is offered annually to select high school students. It is a rare opportunity to engage in college-level research about the Holocaust and the patterns of genocide. The fellowship emphasizes experiential learning, and participants hear from local Holocaust survivors, pursue research on a topic of their choice, teach their peers, and participate in community events. The JFCS Holocaust Center will begin accepting applications for the 2017 fellowship in September. For more information about the opportunity go here >

Ingrid Tauber established the Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship through the Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation and the Lilly Manovill Endrei Education Fund. Ingrid is a current member of the JFCS Holocaust Center’s Council of Children of Survivors. The mission of the Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship incorporates the Manovill and Tauber families’ passion for education.

Posted by Admin on July 12, 2016

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