SWC Founder & CEO To Transition to Founder and Dean Emeritus after Leading the Global Jewish Human Rights Organization For Forty-Five Years
December 8, 2022
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) has announced that its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rabbi Marvin Hier will be transitioning from the CEO role to that of Founder and Dean Emeritus. With the blessing of the late famed Nazi Hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, Rabbi Hier founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 1977 and has led the international Jewish human rights organization’s diverse and impactful agenda for four and a half decades. Rabbi Hier has directed the strategic planning for the SWC’s development and growth, and launched innovative programs, including the worldwide social action activities of the SWC, including the United Nations, where the Center has full NGO status. In his capacity as CEO, Rabbi Hier and his senior team have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the institutions he has supervised and directed including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Moriah Films and the Museums of Tolerance.
Under Rabbi Hier’s leadership, the Simon Wiesenthal Center grew to include 400,000 member families and today is an accredited Non Governmental Organization (NGO) at the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Organization of American States, the Latin American Parliament, and the Council of Europe. Headquartered in Los Angeles it has offices in New York, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, Paris, Jerusalem, and Buenos Aires.
Rabbi Hier earned two Academy Awards® for powerful documentaries about the Holocaust and its aftermath. He founded Moriah Films, the two-time Academy Award®-winning film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It has produced 17 documentaries that have examined the tragedy of the Holocaust, seminal events in modern Jewish history, the creation of the State of Israel and the lives of epic personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries. Over one billion people around the globe have seen Moriah’s films, including Oscar® winners Genocide and The Long Way Home, in theaters, on cable, and on every major streaming platform, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
The Museum of Tolerance Los Angeles, also founded under Rabbi Hier’s direction, is the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Since opening in 1993, the Museum has hosted over 7.5 million visitors. More than 3.5 million children and youth have participated in the Museum experience and its programs, and almost 200,000 adults have been trained in the Museum’s customized professional development programs over the last 20 years. A recipient of the Global Peace and Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations, visitors to the Museum of Tolerance and Simon Wiesenthal Center have included American Presidents, Israeli Prime Ministers, four Popes, Kings, and European and religious leaders, as well as numerous Nobel Laureates.
Rabbi Hier’s vision for the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem will soon be fulfilled as it is scheduled to open in 2023 in the heart of the city. It is a 185,000-square-foot campus that will celebrate the vibrancy of Israel’s democracy by promoting universal respect and co-existence as well as dealing with the vital issues of our times. Designed for visitors of all ages, religions, and cultural backgrounds from throughout the region and the world, the Museum will encourage democracy, promote regional stability and global harmony, combat the roots of extremism and anti-Semitism, and advance tolerance and human dignity for all.
Simon Wiesenthal Center Board Chair Dawn Arnall said, “America’s greatest institutions, those which change the course of human events are not only products of their noble missions. Rather, they are the manifestations of extraordinary leadership. Since its founding in 1977, America’s Simon Wiesenthal Center has been led by its founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier. For nearly five decades Rabbi Hier has been a mighty force creating and leading the Center’s international efforts combatting the darkness of anti-Semitism and hate and supporting the State of Israel. His remarkable leadership has inspired audiences from Israel to Rome and in communities across America fostering tolerance among all people while remaining ever faithful to his commitment to Simon Wiesenthal. America and the world are safer because of the leadership of Marvin Hier and his able direction of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It is in this setting of nearly a half century of distinguished service that the Center is preparing to celebrate the legacy of Rabbi Hier as it prepares to embrace his honorable transition and chart a bold course to find its next leader. The torch of leadership of the Simon Wiesenthal Center will be passed, but the memories of one whose service made an extraordinary difference will never fade.”
Said Rabbi Hier, “It has been my greatest privilege to have founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center and to have served as its CEO since 1978. The Center has kept its promise to Simon Wiesenthal by fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry around the world. Its Museum of Tolerance has been visited by more than 7.5 million people including four American Presidents, six Israeli Prime Ministers, leaders of the Arab world, religious leaders such as the Dalai Lama and we have had six SWC Papal audiences in the Vatican. Our Moriah Films has produced 17 documentaries, two of which have won Academy Awards®. I have been extremely privileged to be the only Rabbi who is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a recipient of two Oscars®.”
He continued, “It is now time to find and train a successor and pass the torch on to the next generation. After the new CEO comes aboard, I will continue to serve the SWC in the capacity of Founder and Dean Emeritus.”
“I want to especially thank all of our chairmen and members of the Board of Trustees who have served over the years with distinction and honor to make the Simon Wiesenthal Center what it is today. We could not have done our important work without our devoted staff worldwide who have worked tirelessly to bring our vision to life. Finally, my sincere gratitude to our hundreds of thousands of loyal members around the world who have helped carry out the mission of Simon Wiesenthal whose motto was 'Freedom is not a gift from Heaven, it is something we must fight for each and every day,'" Rabbi Hier concluded.
Executive search firm Korn Ferry has been retained to manage the search.