RABBI MARVIN HIER
Founder and Dean
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Museum of Tolerance
In 1977, Rabbi Hier came to Los Angeles to create the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named in honor of famed Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. Under his leadership, the Center has become one of the foremost Jewish human rights agencies in the world, with a constituency of more than 400,000 families, and offices throughout the United States, in Canada, Europe, Israel and Argentina. In 1993, an article in the Los Angeles Times noted that Rabbi Hier had made the Wiesenthal Center, “the most visible Jewish organization in the world” and, in 2007, and again in, 2008, an article in Newsweek named him the “Most Influential Rabbi in America.”
The Center’s educational arm, The Museum of Tolerance, opened in February 1993 to worldwide acclaim. Founded to challenge visitors to confront bigotry and racism and to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts, the Museum hosts over a half million visitors a year, including 110,000 students. Because of the success of its diversity training programs, the New York Tolerance Center opened in Manhattan in February 2004. Construction has now started on the three-acre $100 million Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, located off Independence Park in the heart of the city.
Rabbi Hier is the founder of Moriah Films, the Center’s documentary film division, and has been the recipient of two Academy Awards™. Since 1981, he has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
As founder of Moriah Films, Rabbi Hier has been the recipient of two Academy Awards™ - in 1997 as co-producer of The Long Way Home and in 1981, as co-producer and co-writer for Genocide. He has also written and co-produced the award-winning Echoes That Remain, Liberation, In Search of Peace, Unlikely Heroes, Beautiful Music, Ever Again, Against the Tide, I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny and It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl. Moriah‘s latest production, The Prime Ministers, is narrated by Academy Award™ winners Michael Douglas, Christoph Waltz and Sandra Bullock, and Emmy Nominee, Leonard Nimoy. Based on the book by Ambassador Yehuda Avner, The Prime Ministers is the first and only insider account of Israeli politics from the founding of the Jewish State to the near-present day.
Under his direction, the Center has served as consultant to Steven Spielberg’s epic Schindler’s List and ABC Television’s miniseries adaptation of Herman Wouk’s novel, War and Remembrance, among others.
Noted for his powerful oratory, his views on issues of the day are regularly sought by the international media and his editorials have appeared in newspapers across the United States and in Israel. Rabbi Hier meets regularly with world leaders to discuss the Center’s agenda – a wide range of issues including worldwide antisemitism and hate, the resurgence of neo-Nazism and international terrorism, standing with Israel, defending the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations.
In 1992 and again in 2003, Rabbi Hier keynoted historic conferences on antisemitism and the struggle for tolerance which were co-sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Wiesenthal Center, both convened at UNESCO’s international headquarters in Paris. Rabbi Hier has led Wiesenthal Center delegations to the Vatican to participate for two private audiences with Pope John Paul II and one with Pope Benedict XVI urging the leaders of the Catholic Church to lead a “Coalition of Good” to combat Iranian threats, suicide bombers and international terrorism. “The greatest threat to mankind comes not from secularists and atheists, but from religious fanatics and zealots,” he said. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, his dialogue with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl led to a critical debate on German reunification and the need for “deutsche memory.”
He is the recipient of two honorary Doctorates – one of them from Yeshiva University (2004). In 1993, the President of France, François Mitterrand awarded him France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Merite.