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Jeannie Opdyke Smith  

Inspiring Holocaust Rescuer

Jeannie is part of a new generation of Holocaust speakers sharing life stories from their parent's first-hand experiences. She is the daughter of Polish rescuer Irene Gut Opdyke, whose story became the nationally acclaimed Broadway Play "Irena's Vow" starring Tovah Feldshuh.

Updyke Smith is a regular speaker for the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the Bearing Witness Program, Israel Bonds, and an international speaker for the Jewish Federation of North America. In November 2015, Updyke Smith was one of the Honorees at the Anti Defamation League's event, "Houston in Concert against Hate," where she was awarded a Civil Rights Medal.

Updyke Smith travels to organizations, events, schools, churches, camps, fund raising groups, and clubs throughout the United States, Canada, and the UK.

The story she shares, although filled with the horrors and hate the Holocaust holds, also brings a message that faith, hope, and love can ultimately triumph over evil. It proclaims the conviction that one by one, we can say no to hatred, persecution and prejudice.

The story speaks to the power of love, and emphasizes the fact that “One person can make a difference!” Love is the greatest weapon we have. Hate is easy, but it takes real courage to Love.

Speech Topics

Holocaust, Courage, One Person can make a difference, Strong Women, Love, Forgiveness


A Nazi officer's housekeeper hid 12 Jews in the basement. All of ...
Jan 28, 2022 ... Irene Gut Opdyke, who saved 12 Jews during the Holocaust, is among the ... “My mother got very emotional,” Jeannie Opdyke Smith said in an interview.

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