Houston Treasure for 2012
Photo by: Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design
Walter Kase changes lives every day with his own powerful life story—the Holocaust survivor’s moving, articulate and passionate description of his harrowing experiences he suffered under Nazi tyranny. Born in Poland in 1929, Kase and his family were swept up in the events of the Holocaust. During the war he endured forced labor camps and five concentration camps including the most dreaded Auschwitz, suffering starvation, illness and incomprehensible cruelty. When he was liberated at age 15 by Patton’s 3rd Armored Division, Walter weighed 65 pounds and leaned that most of his family had been killed. After months in the care of the Red Cross Hospital, with little education, without the English language and no one to travel with, he arrived in the United States in 1947 where he finished his education and started his journey toward the American Dream. He became a successful businessman and upon retirement dedicated his time to speaking out about the horrors of the Holocaust. He has spoken to tens of thousands of people, students in schools, churches and organizations. He does so with the hope that people will treat one another with respect and truly believes there is “No Place for Hate.” Kase says, “I am a walking example of The American Dream, and I love, cherish and appreciate the U.S.A. All of us are witnesses to the most tragic chapter in human history, and we must never, never allow a Holocaust again.”
In January 2006, H Texas Magazine identified Walter as one of Houston’s significant “Leaders and Legends.” The Anti-Defamation League established The Walter Kase Teacher Excellence Award to honor four teachers each year “who help create an ethic and atmosphere inside their schools that rejects prejudice, questions stereotypes, promotes diversity and confronts hate in all its forms.” The State of Texas recognized Walter for his dedication with the “Governor’s Award for Volunteers.” In May 2011, the University of Houston presented Walter with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
His own loved ones include his wife Chris, four children, their spouses and two grandchildren. To quote Walter: “Love enriches. Hate destroys. God Bless America.”