When I decided to create “Faces of Auschwitz”, my ultimate goal was clear: I did not want the impact of this project to be limited by digital barriers. The central aim has always been to reach as many people as possible, taking the important lessons left by the Holocaust to all who want to learn more about them. It was as if everything was aligned so that I could meet Michael Frank, a New York entrepreneur as passionate by the idea of the project as I am. Michael and I jumped into a phone call, and we soon realized that we share the same vision and are equally excited about the opportunity to contribute in some way to creating a better world. The Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund is now the official sponsor of the project and will be making monetary and non-monetary contributions so that we can make the impact of this project resonate beyond any limits. From now on, we can set more ambitious goals and invest in major activities, such as touring exhibitions, books, talks, educational events in general, and others. The investment will be aimed at expanding the reach of the project and creating a solid foundation that will enable us to talk with more and more people through a variety of plataforms. I am delighted, honored by the generosity and opportunity to work with Michael, and hopeful that we will take the stories – and faces – of the victims far beyond the digital world. –Marina Amaral, founder.
The Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund was recently established in 2018. Its mission is to find unique and creative “start-up” projects that have the capability to impact a large audience in a positive way.
The Foundation’s founder, Michael Frank, grew up in Long Island, New York. An entrepreneur at heart, he began his first business at age 11 shoveling driveways during snow storms. At a young age, he can remember feeling soulfully connected to the events of the Holocaust and it having a profound effect on him. He attended the University of Michigan where he continued with his innate entrepreneurial endeavors opening a handful of businesses geared toward college students. Between his junior and senior year, he spent a summer as a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Defense Force, an experience that would continue to strengthen his connection to the events of the Holocaust and to Israel and lay the groundwork for his dedication of wanting to make the world a better place.
After his University studies, Michael moved to New York City and began working in advertising where he would later open his own advertising agency. He ran a decade-long business in New York City event’s promotion and in 2006 began his building and development business. Today, his highly successful residential real estate development business focuses on building luxury homes in the Hamptons.
Michael is a Board Member of the Long Island Hearing and Speech Society, a Trustee at The Jewish Center of the Hamptons, and a former Board Member of AISH New York. In 2013, he created the “Survivor-Soldier” project that focused on the experience of Holocaust survivors on the modern day Israeli soldier. Across 4 venues in the United States, a large audience got to hear a Holocaust Survivor’s miraculous story while hearing from soldiers the effects it has on their morale and actions in the military today.
In March of 2018, while reading a local New York newspaper, Michael and his wife Giulia came across Marina Amaral’s colorization photo of Auschwitz prisoner Czeslawa Kwoka. “We were so moved by it. The color gave the young victim life, it gave her a story. We knew instantly we had to get involved with this.” Michael connected with Marina and saw right away that “here was not only an incredibly talented artist but a bright, creative, soulful person way beyond her years.” They shared a similar vision – how do we tell more stories like that of Czeslawa Kwoka? The timing was perfect as Marina had just gotten permission from the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum to work on more photos like this. The Auschwitz Memorial will also provide access to different documents about the prisoners as well as help in writing and developing the historically accurate content of this project.
The project, “Faces of Auschwitz” aims to colorize black and white Auschwitz victims’ photos while telling their stories, to the best we can find. The Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund is proud, humbled and excited to be the sponsor.
Michael resides in New York City. He celebrated this year his marriage to his wife Giulia. They both share a goal to expand their family foundation to new and meaningful causes and are both committed to Marina and the “Faces of Auschwitz” project and are determined to try and expose these photos and stories to the largest audience possible.