Simon Goldberg, 21
For Simon Goldberg, 21, the call came when he was a high school sophomore and attended a huge rally on the National Mall to raise awareness about the Darfur genocide.
Somebody handed him a T-shirt bearing the slogan, “Don’t mourn a genocide. Stop one.”
The connection between present-day horrors and the Holocaust clicked and the roots of Goldberg’s work with the organizations Triangles of Truth and the Student Holocaust Education Movement were planted. “It’s the ultimate expression of ‘Never Again!’” he said.
In 2008, Goldberg brought Triangles of Truth, the brainchild of a group of students in Boca Raton, Fla., to the New York area. Participants in the project sell paper triangles, each dedicated to a different Holocaust victim, for a dollar each. So far, the group has raised more than $60,000, donating about $40,000 of it to the Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network. $5,000 more has gone to help buy pencils and educational kits for Darfuri children living in refugee camps in Eastern Chad. Triangles of Truth is also thinking of using its funds to help build two preschools, but until construction on those begins, it will continue to support existing programs that do things like provide school supplies.
Goldberg expanded the organization globally, built its web presence and created domestic and international partnerships. Now he’s the executive director.
The next year, he created SHEM, a student-run group whose mission is Holocaust memory preservation. It will train high school students to become Holocaust educators.
A graduating senior, Goldberg will be moving to Hong Kong to teach Jewish studies at a Jewish international school and to help develop a Holocaust center. He’ll stay involved in Triangles of Truth.
“This is the kind of thing that even if you want to put it down, you can’t,” he said. “These things are happening right now.”
Goldberg was known on campus as “the genocide guy. People don’t realize that there’s more to me than mass murder,” he said.
The write stuff: Goldberg spent most of his childhood in Israel and moved to the U.S. when he was about 13, so he started writing for pleasure in Hebrew and then added English as his abilities improved. Today he writes in both languages.