On Wednesday, April 24, Rotary Club of Ann Arbor awarded the second annual 2019 Robert S. Northrup Humanitarian Award to Dr. Irene Butter. Dr. Butter is a Holocaust survivor, champion of peace and justice and University of Michigan Emerita Professor of Public Health. She is the co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Medal and Lecture at U of M and co-founder of Zeitouna, an Arab-Jewish women’s dialogue group in Ann Arbor. Ashish Sarkar welcomed the audience and shared a brief summary of Rotary and its contributions to the community. Ken Fischer introduced Dr. Butter and the award was presented by Greg Stejskal, Ashish Sarkar, Ken Fischer and Dr. Rob Northrup.
Rotary Club of Ann Arbor invited the community to join us for this Rotary public event. There were 102 members of RCAA, 7 visiting Rotarians from area clubs and 91 guests from the community.
Dr. Butter told her story of a happy childhood which ended when her family was taken into custody by the Germans. Through it all she never gave up hope and was able to survive and move to the United States. She pursued her education, completing a PhD and pursuing an academic career at the University of Michigan. In her retirement, she has written, Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope My True Story. Attendees were able to purchase a book with a personal message from Dr. Butter. Dr. Butter continues to speak to many groups and encourages all to remember the past, never be a bystander and always know that one person can make a difference.
—submitted by Norma Sarkar and Ken Fischer, photos by Ginny Geren