Michael Baran was a dedicated teacher of Jewish history, Yiddish language, literature and folklore for more than 65 years. His work as a writer and performer of the Forward Hour on WEVD for decades enabled him to bring the beauty of Yiddishkayt, its music, poetry, culture and traditions to the masses on a weekly basis.
He taught in the Workmen’s Circle Yiddish schools, Queens College and Circle Lodge and continued to enrich children’s lives in Kinder Ring, a Jewish summer camp in upstate New York until 2018, at the age of 95. One of the positions he is most proud of, however, is that of being the Director of Camp Hemshekh, a unique, Jewish camp, composed of children of Holocaust survivors, dedicated to the perpetuation of Jewish culture, Yiddish language and social activism.
At the time of the Holocaust, Michael escaped from the ghetto in his hometown of Oshmiany. He also had the opportunity, later on, to fight against the Nazi war machine. After the war, he searched for his family and found his mother. The two of them were the only survivors from a large, extended family. Then he married his wife, Millie. Due to the horrific antisemitism in Poland after the war, they realized that they had to leave. Together Michael and Millie spent 4 years in a Displaced Persons camp in Foehrenwald, Germany. On a beautiful spring day in May of 1949, they immigrated to the United States, truly one of the most glorious days in both their lives.
Michael and his wife have 2 daughters, both teachers, and 3 grandsons, and 2 great grandchildren. Michael died April 17, 2020.