First director of Pittsburgh’s Holocaust Center dies of COVID-19
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First director of Pittsburgh’s Holocaust Center dies of COVID-19

Kuperstein lead center from 1980-85

The Holocaust Center etchings depict scenes from the Shoa in stark detail. (Chronicle photo by Angela Leibowicz)
The Holocaust Center etchings depict scenes from the Shoa in stark detail. (Chronicle photo by Angela Leibowicz)

Isaiah Kuperstein, the first director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, and the first director of education for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, died from COVID-19 on April 4. He was 70.

“His leadership in this field was groundbreaking and laid the foundation for all that we are able to do today,” read an emailed notice from the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

Kuperstein was born in Haifa, Israel to Holocaust survivors. After his family later emigrated to the United States, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in philosophy from Columbia University.

While at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Kuperstein was the curator of “Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story,” an exhibition geared to explaining the Holocaust to young children. That exhibit is still featured today.

He eventually moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he owned the Indianapolis-based Double 8 Foods grocery chain.

In 2017, he donated a collection of oral interviews with Holocaust survivors to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

He is survived by Elena, his wife of 43 years; sons Adam and Daniel; sister, Leah; mother, Rachel Markowitz; and five grandchildren. PJC

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