In its continuing tradition of recognizing those who have exhibited either a lifetime of morally courageous behavior or one momentous righteous act, Holocaust Museum Houston presented its Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award to French Catholic priest Patrick Desbois for his dedication to confronting antisemitism.
The man who uncovered more than 800 hidden mass graves of Jews and Roma killed during the Holocaust was honored before a gathering of more than 920 at the annual dinner, which was held at the Hilton-Americas Houston. Desbois is president of Paris-based Yahad-In Unum, the leading research organization investigating the mass executions that occurred between 1941 and 1944.
Keynote speaker was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who received a standing ovation even before she began her remarks on the horrors of genocide and the importance of the United States' role in both stopping and preventing it.
Chaired by Barbara and Michael Gamson, the evening raised $1.1 million for the museum's educational programs on the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy and for its free admission program.
The evening was a poignant moment for outgoing executive director Susan Myers, as the dinner marked her last official day on the job after 15 year at the museum's helm.
The VIP gathering included HMH chair Tali Blumrosen and husband Eric, incoming chair Mark Mucasey and wife Judy, Holocaust survivor Bill Morgan and wife Shirley, Fred Zeidman, Joyce and Arthur Schechter, Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza, Rabbi Brian Strauss, Velva and Fred Levine and Eric and Noyland Pulaski.