Debby is a Second Generation Storykeeper who grew up in New Rochelle, New York. She lives with her husband in Greenwich, Connecticut and has three grown children.
- Which workshop did she take? Safekeeping Stories of the Holocaust Workshop led by Jill Sarkozi in 2016.
- Who did she write about? Her father, Herman Ziering, who was from Kassel, Germany.
They are an unlikely pair — a Jew and a Muslim — but Debby Ziering and Dr. Mehaz Afridi share a passionate partnership rooted in their collective vision of doing what they can to stop antisemitism, genocide, and human rights violations. Debby met Dr. Afridi, Director of the Holocaust Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College, when looking for a home for her father’s extensive Holocaust educational resources after he passed away. Debby recalled, “After going through the first box of materials Dr. Afridi looked at me with a gleam in her eye and said, ‘You have no idea what you have here!’ I knew I’d found them a home.” After a few years of preparation, The Herman and Lea Ziering Archive Collection opened in November, 2019.
Debby’s father, Herman Ziering, was part of the ADL’s task force on Nazi war criminals in the 1970s. Their work was to bring Nazis living freely in the United States to justice. After doing some research, Herman was surprised to find that one such Nazi was living comfortably in Mineola not far from his home. And this particular Nazi had not only ordered mass shootings of over 200 villages in Latvia during the war, but had killed the mother of Herman’s friend. The Ziering family and others protested in front of the Nazi war criminal’s home and it led to his exposure, deportation, and trial. “I was taken out of school that day to protest,” Debby explained. As a result of Herman’s work as a Nazi hunter throughout his life other Nazi war criminals hiding in the United States were deported, too.
Debby continues the family legacy of educating about the Holocaust by sharing her father’s story in a variety of educational and community settings. She also teaches 8th graders at SAR Academy in Riverdale in the Names Not Numbers Program, an oral history film project that enables students to interview Holocaust survivors, learn about the war, and create a documentary. She became a Safekeeping Stories Facilitator to help others in the Second and Third Generation explore and preserve their family’s story.