Happy 100th Birthday to Livia Shachter

SWC Founder & Dean

Mazel Tov Livia!
What a wonderful occasion - may you live 'biz hundred un twentzig'. Thank you for the wonderful work you did on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for so many years educating thousands of students about the tragedy that befell the Jewish people during the Shoah. Thank you for all you have done - G-d bless!
Rabbi and Malka Hier

SWC Associate Dean

Dear Livia,
So wonderful that you have reached this wonderful milestone in our beloved Israel. Please know you are missed at the Museum of Tolerance and if you ever want to vacation in Los Angeles, we will be happy to put you to work again!
All our love and kol hakavod!!
Rabbi Abe

Museum of Tolerance Director

Dearest Livia,
We are honored and delighted to send you our love and very best wishes on the wonderful occasion of your 100th birthday.

Your beautiful portrait smiles warmly at everyone in the Museum of Tolerance every day. You continue to inspire us and we remember with fond gratitude the many years that you spent with us in the Museum, sharing your personal story as a testimony to the truth about the Shoah. You are one of the pioneers who started the important program of Holocaust Survivor Speakers at the Museum, and you have touched and influenced thousands of people, young and old.

May you continue to be blessed with health, happiness, nachat, peace and contentment.

With our love and admiration,
Liebe Geft, Elana Samuels and the entire staff, faculty and volunteers at the Museum of Tolerance.

Executive Producer
Moriah Films

My memories of Livia:
It’s almost exactly 21 years since I pulled tapes from our video collection of Holocaust survivor oral histories, “Testimonies to the Truth”, that contained Livia Shachter’s testimony. I had pulled a number of interviews to review with Mark Harris, who was directing our film “The Long Way Home”. We were looking for stories of survivors who had vivid memories of their lives in the DP camps after the war as well as how they rebuilt their lives after the Shoah.

What struck us about Livia’s story was her modesty, her honesty and her positive attitude. I had met Livia when she began volunteering to speak at the Museum when it opened and I recall that her experience of doing an oral history for us was one of the first, if not the first time she had sat in front of a camera to tell her story. When Mark and I decided that she would be an important addition to the interviews we were doing for “The Long Way Home”, I remember that Livia didn’t think that anything she had to say was so special and it took a little coaxing to get her to sit down for a new interview for our film. And when we did the interview, our editor Kate Amend, who also viewed Livia’s original testimony, insisted on sitting in as well as we filmed her story for the documentary.

Livia mesmerized us and we were in tears as she told the story of how she met her beloved husband in the DP camp, their wedding and “honeymoon” there, and the beautiful story of how they built a new life together in the United States. In a film that included such luminaries as Abba Eban, former White House Counsel Clark Clifford (in his final interview before his death) and legendary journalist Ruth Gruber, Livia’s interview stood out and was often mentioned in reviews and articles about the film.

When Livia informed me a good 15 years ago me that she was going to be leaving Los Angeles to join her children on the East Coast, I was sorry to see her leave because I always enjoyed speaking with her and seeing her interact with the visitors to the Museum. However, I was also happy that she was so close to her family and would be able to spend time with grandchildren and hopefully one day great grandchildren. Then, I heard she was making aliyah with her children and was amazed—she must have been in her late 80’s or possibly in her early 90’s when this new chapter of her life started to be written.

I saw a couple of the news stories about her that appeared in various Israeli newspapers when she moved and loved that she was getting such well deserved attention. And now, celebrating a 100th birthday! I wish I could be in Israel physically to celebrate this milestone. Happy birthday dear Livia!! You are an inspiration to us all!