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Obituary: Erika Hess Merems Noted Holocaust Teacher, Dead at 78

Erika Hess Merems passed away peacefully at an assisted living facility in Tucson, AZ on May 28, 2011. She is survived by her ex-husband Bernard H. Merems, their three children, Julie Albrecht, Paul Merems (wife Katrina) and Claudia Merems. She is also survived by numerous grandchildren and her brother and sister-in-law, Peter and Marlene Hess.

As a young girl, Erika and her family were refugees from Nazi Germany. Her family migrated to New York and she settled in Great Neck to pursue her career and raise her family. From Sept 1968 - June 1996, she was an outstandlingly devoted junior and high school teacher in Great Neck.

She had a passion for liberal causes, international music and everything purple.

She received a grant from B’nai B’rith to visit and examine the teaching of the Holocaust in Germany. This led to her writing a teacher’s guide for use with the book of the same name, The Holocaust Years: Society on Trial. Published by Bantam Books, the guide included suggestions, reading lists and discussion topics dealing with six major themes; including the importance of Holocaust study and application of that study to the present and the future. She was also a frequent guest lecturer on Holocaust teaching methods at various universities.

Based on her commitment and dedication of 28 years to the Great Neck School System, her family has established the annual Erika Merems award to be given to students who embody Erika’s passion for Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs. Donations for this award can be made in her name to: John L. Miller Great Neck North High School, 35 Polo Rd., Great Neck, NY 11023.