Manfred Ohrenstein was born in Mannheim, Germany in 1925. He grew up under increasingly restrictive Nazi rules, holding his Bar Mitzvah at age 13 on the precipice of the Holocaust. In November 1938, less than a week before Kristallnacht, Ohrenstein and his family escaped Germany, made their way to London, and then found refuge in New York City.
Ohrenstein attended high school, college, and law school in his new home, shedding his German accent along the way and practicing public speaking as a soapbox orator on behalf of Zionism.
Ohrenstein became a prominent civic leader in New York, representing Manhattan from 1961 to 1994 in the New York State Senate and serving as the Minority Leader of the State Senate for more than half of his tenure. He co-founded the Museum in the 1980s and still serves as a Vice Chairman of its Board of Trustees.
Join Ohrenstein and Jack Kliger, Museum President & CEO, for this Stories Survive program exploring Ohrenstein’s story of escape and leadership.
A $10 suggested donation enables us to present programs like this one. We thank you for your support.
Stories Survive is made possible by the Goldie & David Blanksteen Foundation.
Public programming at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act; and other generous donors.