Inspiring Commitment Across Generations: The Ann Wolk Krouse and Paul C. Krouse* Family
“The challenge is really for the next generation and the one beyond the next generation to impart the same enthusiasm, concern, and responsibility, because this mission cannot die with one generation or two generations.”
Ann Krouse fondly recalls when she and her late husband, Paul, made the trip to Washington with their then 11-year old grandson Justin.
“Justin is our oldest grandchild. When he heard us discussing our plan to bring each grandchild on similar trips he told us, ‘Don’t worry; if you are too old, I will bring the other cousins.’”
Although their families were not directly affected by the Holocaust, Ann and Paul’s involvement with the Museum began more than three decades ago when Elie Wiesel’s bold dream of putting a Holocaust Museum on the National Mall captured their imagination. They hosted one of the first fundraising meetings and immersed themselves in all aspects of the Museum, but their greatest gift is the gift of passion to Holocaust remembrance that they ignited in their children and grandchildren.
Embracing an ethos of active leadership, Ann and Paul led the first of what would become the highly successful Grandparents Missions to the Museum. “The challenge is really for the next generation and the one beyond the next generation to impart the same enthusiasm, concern, and responsibility, because this mission cannot die with one generation or two generations,” explained Paul at the time. “Our job is to put the tools in their hands.”
It was toward that objective that more than ten years ago the couple helped launch another new Museum initiative. With their $1 million endowment gift, the couple became inaugural Guardian Founders of the Museum’s Legacy of Light Society. As Ann explained, “Our legacy gift will help the Museum continue to teach and evolve. Holocaust education is broader than learning history; it’s about learning how to be moral human beings.”
Like all their children, Ann and Paul’s late daughter Amy Krouse Rosenthal shared that passion. It was Amy’s incredible knowledge and insight of the Museum through her years of involvement behind the scenes that led her to coin the term “a global classroom” — a phrase that has come to define the Museum’s unique role. “Amy’s ability to look at our issues and find new, creative ways to approach them was enormous,” reminisces Jill Weinberg, the director of the Museum’s Midwest Region. “Her imprint is indelible in so many ways.”
In spring 2018 at the Museum’s 25th anniversary events in Washington, DC, generations of the Krouse family dedicated the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Classroom in her memory. “Amy contributed so much to the Museum that naming a space there after her was incredibly important to us,” Ann explains. It would be Paul’s last trip to the Museum.
“Paul and I were so proud to be involved with the Museum. When we were honored with the Museum’s National Leadership Award in 2013, he said it perfectly — ‘Our family’s involvement is a classic example of getting far more than we have ever given.’”
This article was first published in spring 2019.