The Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award

The JCRC honors a teacher or school whose passion, dedication, and excellence elevates the teachings of the lessons of the Holocaust in Minnesota and beyond. This honor, the Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award, is bestowed on a local educator or institution who embodies decency, righteousness, and integrity in their devotion to teaching their students about the Shoah.

To nominate someone for consideration, please fill out this form and attach the two paragraph essay about why this candidate is remarkable in their endeavor to educate about the Holocaust.

The person or institution that is selected will receive Holocaust education resources and will be awarded participation with the JCRC on the one day trip to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. (all expenses paid).

About Leo Weiss, z”l

Leo Weiss, while interned during the war, was on his way to what he knew would be certain death. He exemplified courage by saving the life of a young woman when he was given the opportunity for a second chance to live. Leo bravely told the commanding officer that he wouldn’t leave without his wife who was in the next cell. Leo wasn’t married, but his schoolmate was in the next cell, and he valiantly saved her life.

Leo believed unequivocally in the value of human life- that it is a precious gift that must be defended and cherished.

Leo’s message to students was that regardless of the adversity they faced, they should always be hopeful for the future and should see themselves not as victims of their circumstances, but as empowered to leave their mark on this earth through hard work and compassion for others. Leo’s commitment to Holocaust education was his contribution to protecting future generations from the horrors he experienced. His legacy lives on in these students.

The Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award is generously supported by Heather and Mark Stesin. 

Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award Winners

2019 City Academy, St. Paul

2018 Candice Ledman, Wayzata School District

2017 Colleen Bell, Milaca High School

2016 Mary Baumgarten, Beth El Synagogue and Talmud Torah Minneapolis

2014 Sue Devereux, Mesabi Community College

2013 Anneke Branderhorst, Calvin Christian High School

2012 Mark Lagergren, Central High School, Norwood Young America

2011 Neil Anderson, South High School (Minneapolis)