PHONE: (313) 593-5644
DATE: Nov. 22, 2005
Gift establishes the Erwin and Riva Baker Memorial Holocaust Collection
DEARBORN---Erwin and Riva Baker were Holocaust survivors, the only members
of their immediate families to survive the Holocaust in the Ukraine.
Steven Gershman is honoring the memory of the Bakers with a cash gift
to the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Voice/Vision
Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive.
His gift establishes the Erwin
and Riva Baker Memorial Holocaust Collection, a reference set that
will be a visible, widely-accessed resource to students, researchers and
"It is an honor and a privilege for me to fund this collection,"
Gershman said. "It is my wish that when the reader makes a selection
from the Baker Collection, they will learn about the Holocaust and the
Bakers as well."
Erwin and Riva Baker both came from large families; Riva from a family
of eight siblings and Erwin from a family of four. Their entire families
were exterminated by the Nazis.
"I cannot even begin to fathom the extent of their loss," Gershman
"Although Riva Baker was not biologically related to me, Riva was
my family," he said. "She became both my mother and father.
Through the 25 years that I took care of her following her husband's death,
we developed a bond. She came from the same European town as my father.
Consequently, she knew my father's family and my father knew hers. This,
in and of itself, created another bond."
Although the bulk of the collection centers on Holocaust survivor memoirs
and diaries, it also focuses on monographs, pictorial works and documentary
sources concerning the Holocaust, according to Jamie L. Wraight, curator
and historian of the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive.
The collection, which currently contains more than 180 books, videotapes
and DVDs, is housed in UM-Dearborn's Mardigian Library.
Items will continue to be added to the collection, with a catalog available
Gershman hopes other donors will contribute to the Voice/Vision Archive
so that the project will become one of the nation's premiere archival
"What I did was lay the foundation for this portion of the collection,"
Gershman said. "Now we must build."
For more information on the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History
Archive and the Baker family, visit http://holocaust.umd.umich.edu/.