Beginning in 2017, the National Jewish Book Award for Holocaust studies and narratives will be named to honor the memory and legacy of the late Ernest W. Michel.

Deported from his hometown of Manheim, Germany by the Gestapo at 16 years old, “Ernie” Michel escaped seven years later after the death march from Auschwitz to Buchenwald and dedicated the rest of his life to Jewish life and Holocaust remembrance. A founding trustee of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Michel served as executive vice president of the United Jewish Appeal from 1970 to 1989, in which capacity he raised billions of dollars for Jewish causes, oversaw the UJA-Federation of New York merger, and organized the 1981 World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem.


The Holocaust Book Award in Memory of Ernest W. Michel fulfills a particular legacy of the National Jewish Book Awards, a program founded by the Jewish Book Council in the late 1940s in response to the events in Europe as a means of preserving the Jewish narrative. Now approaching the program’s 67th year, the National Jewish Book Awards celebrate Jewish literary achievement in a wide range of genres and form, honoring writers in 20 different categories each year.

The Holocaust Book Award in Memory of Ernest W. Michel will be administered by the Jewish Book Council, a not-for-profit dedicated to the enrichment of Jewish life and education through literature. Promoting the reading, writing, and publication of books of Jewish interest, Jewish Book Council is the flagship of Jewish Book Month, the National Jewish Book Club, and the JBC Network of JCCs, Federations, synagogues, and other institutions.

Submissions for the 2017 National Jewish Book Awards will be accepted beginning in June 2017. For more information, please visit or contact the Jewish Book Council at or 212-201-2920.