The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust is honoring two prominent members of the Atlanta Jewish community during the annual state observance of the Days of Remembrance of Holocaust victims.
The commission’s Humanitarian Award is going to former Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos, The Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented to Israel’s outgoing consul general to the Southeast, Opher Aviran.
This year’s Holocaust Remembrance Week, which runs April 12 to 19, marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, and the theme of the Georgia observance April 17 is Witness to Liberation: 70 Years Later. Survivors and witnesses to liberation will light six candles during the event.
The ceremony will include recognition of the winners of the statewide Creative Arts Student Contest as well as Galambos and Aviran.
Galambos is married to a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, Dr. John Galambos, who was liberated from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by U.S. troops in 1945. John Galambos, a retired gastroenterologist, participated in the candle-lighting ceremony at the 2011 Days of Remembrance.
Eva Galambos fought for 30 years as the president of the Committee for Sandy Springs to win the incorporation of the city, and when it happened in 2005, she was elected the first mayor. She held that post until retiring at the end of November 2013.
Galambos was instrumental in finding a home for the exhibit “Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945” in her city. A longtime champion of the Commission on the Holocaust, she was appointed to its board in May 2013.
She was named the 2014 Georgia State University Distinguished Alumna, an award the Georgia State Alumni Association presents each year to honor alumni who are acknowledged leaders in their respective industries, are significant contributors to the improvement of their communities and have shown a committed record of service to the university. She holds a doctorate in economics from Georgia State.
Her volunteer public service includes co-founding and serving as secretary of Sandy Springs Revitalization, founding Sandy Springs Clean and Beautiful, chairing the services committee for the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, chairing the Fulton County Public Housing Authority; and founding the Sandy Springs Civic Roundtable.
As Humanitarian Award winner, she follows two Jewish community members active in civil and human rights: Melanie Nelkin, who chairs the Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide, in 2014; and Bill Nigut, former regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
While the Humanitarian Award is handed out annually, Aviran will receive only the fourth Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Commission on the Holocaust. The most recent award went to then-Congressman Phil Gingrey in 2013.
Aviran has served as consul general since August 2010 and will end his tenure in Atlanta this summer.
In such foreign postings as Burma, the Netherlands and Australia since 1983, he has worked to strengthen economic, academic, cultural and political ties with the state of Israel. He was given the rank of ambassador in October.
During his tenure in the Southeast, Aviran has developed professional and personal relationships with elected officials and key business, academic, cultural and community leaders across the region. Fields of particular interest for increased cooperation between Israel and the Southeast include defense, homeland security, cyber security, renewable energy, health information technology, emergency preparedness, water, agro-business and logistics.
In February 2012, the Georgia General Assembly honored Aviran for his “tireless efforts in strengthening the bond between Israel and the Southeast in the fields of economics, academics, culture and politics.”
What: 2015 Days of Remembrance
Where: Georgia Capitol, North Wing, 206 Washington St., downtown
When: 11 a.m. Friday, April 17