Our hearts are heavy as we mourn her passing. Noémi’s message to us was clear and remains pertinent, perhaps now more than ever: to confront hate with love and to speak out and act against antisemitism, bigotry, discrimination, and hate. She was a gifted teacher, a compassionate advocate for Holocaust Education and a genuinely kind human being. We will miss her and her voice of reason dearly. And we will continue to make sure that her memory and message will be remembered at Western Washington University.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved community member, friend, and supporter Noémi Ban. Noémi passed away on Friday, June 7, 2019. A memorial and celebration of life was held at Congregation Beth Israel, and later that day, surrounded by family and friends, Noémi Ban was laid to rest at Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, Washington. In lieu of flowers, the Ban Family suggests sending memorial contributions to the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University or the New Synagogue Fund of Congregation Beth Israel.
Without Noémi, there would be no Ray Wolpow Institute – to learn more about her life and how she has impacted and made our work at Western Washington University possible, please visit NOÉMI’S STORY and OUR STORY.
Please join us on Thursday, October 17, 2019, 4:00PM in Western Libraries Reading Room, as we honor the life and legacy of Noémi Ban with a talk by Dr. James Waller. Dr. Waller is the Cohen Professor for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College and will deliver the inaugural address “Confronting Evil: Why Holocaust and Genocide Studies Matter Today” for Western’s new minor in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (HGST). The talk is free and open to the public. Western President Sabah Randhawa will share welcoming remarks, and a reception will be held immediately following the public talk.
Noémi Ban’s story is one of loss, tragedy, resiliency, hope, and inspiration. A survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Mrs. Ban lost her mother, grandmother, and younger sister and brother to the horrors of the death camps, and worked at a bomb factory in a sub-camp of Buchenwald. After the Holocaust, she was witness to the 1956 Soviet repression of the anti-communist uprising in Hungary. And, later in life, Mrs. Ban experienced her husband’s Earnest attenuated struggle with aphasia, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Despite the many tragedies she faced, this extraordinary educator spoke out against hate and praised tolerance, hope, and love of life. In 1995, Noémi Ban began speaking publically about her Holocaust experience. She spoke all over the globe, from Bellingham to Taiwan. Her belief that sharing is healing sustained her. Mrs. Ban is the winner of the 1997 Golden Apple Award, a recipient of honorary doctorates from Gonzaga and Western Washington University, winner of the 2003 Washington Education Association Human and Civil Rights Award in the category of International Peace and Understanding and the recipient of the 2011 Daughters of the American Revolution Americanism Award. She is also the author of Sharing is Healing (with Prof. Emeritus Ray Wolpow). Her experiences are documented in the 2007 DvD “My Name is Noémi.”