Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Fred Gross was a toddler when Nazi Germany began targeting the Jews in Europe. His family escaped the genocide of millions of Jews, and they found freedom on the Norfolk, Virginia, docks in 1946. Years later while on a trip to Europe in 1984, Fred’s wife, Carolyn, started questioning family members and began to piece together the story of their two-year flight to escape the Nazis.
Then a reporter for a daily newspaper in Connecticut, Gross had little time to embark on a personal writing project. But over the next four years, he began gathering information, conducting interviews with his mother and brothers (his father died in 1973).
In 1990, Gross and his wife moved to Louisville to be closer to her family. The long-time reporter left journalism, taking a public relations job working for several local school districts outside Jefferson County.
In 2009, Fred’s story was published, One Step Ahead of Hitler: A Jewish Child’s Journey Through France. Since then, he has been touring and educating youth about the Holocaust. As an advocate for Holocaust education, Fred, along with friend, Fred Wittaker, a teacher at St. Frances of Assisi School, and others lobbied to have comprehensive Holocaust and genocide education made mandatory in the state of Kentucky. In 2018, the Ann Klein and Fred Gross Holocaust Education Act unanimously passed and was signed into law.
Fred continues to travel, giving lectures and sharing his family’s story.
Please join us on May 23 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown for the 2019 MOSAIC Awards, a dinner event recognizing new or first-generation immigrants and refugees who are making a significant contribution to their profession and our local and global community. Mr. Gross and the other honorees will receive the MOSAIC Award, which symbolizes Multicultural Opportunities for Success and Achievement In our Community. For more information visit: www.jfcslouisville.org/mosaic-awards
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