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Speaker Bios

Tina Malka is the Director of Antisemitism, Research and Education at Hillel International. She is also the IAP West Coast Director and in that capacity works directly with 32 Hillels regionally on the West Coast and supports them in navigating and responding to anti-Israel activity, antisemitic incidents and BDS as well as proactive Israel education that celebrates Israel in all its uniqueness.

Tina co-wrote Hillel International’s “Understanding Antisemitism on Campus” videos and educational curriculum on antisemitism and facilitates the implementation of trainings across the country.

Tina has a BA from UCLA in Political Science and a Master’s in Human Development and Israel Education from George Washington University. She worked for 15 years at the Anti-Defamation League as the Associate Director of the San Diego office and developed and ran Jewish student leadership programs for High School students and taught new recruits at the San Diego Police Academy about hate crimes for ten years.

Robert Krakow is the creator of the documentary film, COMPLICIT, which won 1st prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival for the festival’s Judaica category for films celebrating the Jewish Experience. His foundation was responsible for bringing 14 surviving passengers from the refugee ship, SS  (MS) St Louis, to the US Department of State in September, 2012, where Deputy Secretary of State William Burns (current Director of the CIA) welcomed the passengers on behalf of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. The ceremony included the first ever “Admission of Wrongdoing” by the State Department for refusing to address the Jewish refugee crisis during the pre-war and wartime period.

In December, 2016, his foundation led a delegation of 7 St. Louis passengers to Jerusalem for commemorative events at the Knesset, Hebrew University and Yad Vashem where they honored the heroic captain, Gustav Schroeder, in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations.

In November, 2018, his foundation lead a delegation of 5 St. Louis passengers to the House of Commons in Ottawa, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the passengers on behalf of the Government of Canada and made the official apology statement for Canada’s refusal to grant them safe haven in June, 1939.

In June of 2021, the foundation’s St. Louis Program was selected by the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation to commemorate 2021 World Refugee Day.

On May 5 and 6, the foundation led a delegation of surviving (including our guest Eva Wiener for commemorative events at B’nai B’rith, the State Department and lunch with Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat.  A Proclamation of Remembrance was presented at each venue.

Mr. Krakow earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law School.

In May 1939, Sonja’s parents, paternal grandparents, two great aunts, and another great aunt with her husband, were passengers on the St. Louis..  In Havana harbor, she remembers the tearful waving to cousins who came to see their grandparents, who unfortunately went to Belgium and met their fate in a gas chamber.  Sonja and her parents went to England and when their quota numbers were reached, they sailed into New York Harbor on February 11, 1940 and the Statue of Liberty came into view.

Sonja became a high school social studies teacher. Years later she changed the direction of her career by returning to graduate school for her second Master’s degree. She became a high school librarian in an inner city school and after ten years became head librarian.  In 2016, Sonja together with Eva Wiener, participated in the mission to Jerusalem where they told their stories at the Knesset, Yad Vashem and Hebrew University.  Together with 6 other St. Louis passengers, including Eva Wiener, they presented a Proclamation of Gratitude to the Knesset honoring the citizens of Israel for safeguarding the Jewish Homeland.

Eva Rose (Safier) Wiener was born in Berlin, Germany during the rise of Hitler.  To escape the Nazis, her parents were able to book passage on the St. Louis, for its ill-fated voyage to Havana, Cuba.  When the ship was forced to return its passengers to Europe, Eva and her parents were among the fortunate ones to be accepted into the quota for England.  They immigrated to the United States in May of 1946. Eva was employed as a Budget Analyst at Fort Monmouth, an installation of the U. S. Department of Defense. While at the Fort she was instrumental in establishing a yearly program commemorating the Holocaust.  This program grew to become the most successful program of its kind for a military installation.

In November of 2006, Eva was honored by being the recipient of the Eishet Chayil (Woman of Valor) awarded by the Central New Jersey Women’s Branch for Conservative Judaism.  In 2012 Eva was selected by her synagogue as the Woman of the Year.  In May of 2012 Eva also received a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” for “invaluable service to the community”.  In 2018, Eva was invited  by the Canadian Government to participate in the Apology Ceremony delivered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the delegation of SS St. Louis passengers.  Eva and Sonja Geismar were met by the Prime Minister where he gave them his personal greetings on behalf of his government.  Eva recently (May, 2024), the SS St. Louis Mission to Washington, DC where she participated in commemorate events at B’nai B’rith and the State Department to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of the SS St. Louis and Yom HaShoah.