Alumni Spotlight: Emanuel "Manny" Mandel 202

In honor of the upcoming Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday, January 27th, the AACHS is shining a spotlight on Emanuel Manny” Mandel, 202. 

Born in 1936, Manny was only seven when he experienced the profound effects of the Holocaust in Hungary during the later war years. Following an unexpected deportation to Bergen-Belsen, he endured a two-year long separation from his father.

In 1945, Manny and his mother immigrated to Palestine, where they joyfully reunited with Manny’s father. Four years later, the family relocated to the United States, making Philadelphia their home. 

In 1951, Manny commenced his educational journey at Central High School, becoming a proud member of the 202nd class.

Manny shared what Central meant to him and how it helped him to cope and adapt to a life in America. 

CHS became an immeasurable instrument in Americanization, in learning how to live in a brand new environment, and in making lifetime friends.”

After graduation, he attended Temple University studying Education, and then completed graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his Master of Social Work degree. 

He became an established psychotherapist in Maryland starting in 1984 and dedicated himself to this profession for forty years until his retirement in 2014.

When asked about his time at Central and what he would like students to know, Mr. Mandel shared this:

“I have always been impressed by the interdependence that all of us students felt. My recall is that it was one school with appropriate divisions between ages and classes. The range of interests went from the required English to the so called “minors” of Astronomy, Philosophy and Ethics. This was unique to CHS and I would urge all current students to avail themselves of the richness of this rare educational institution.”

Emanuel “Manny” Mandel, 202, Yearbook Photo

Mr. Mandel has devoted decades to sharing his poignant Holocaust survivor story, leaving an indelible impact on those fortunate enough to hear his account.

Last year, his compelling narrative was heard at the 30th Annual Holocaust Remembrance event hosted at the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Manny’s involvement in both national and local forums underscores his unwavering commitment to educating diverse audiences about the historical significance of his experiences.

Learn more about Manny’s story by visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site.

Dr. Les Wurtele, who also happens to be a member of the 202nd class, helped to create the annual Holocaust symposium held at Central.

AACHS Honorary Life Member, Dr. Wurtele, recalls fondly that their friendship began when his classmate became his teammate on the soccer team. 

While planning their 55th class reunion back in 2009, Les reached out to Manny and learned of his work as a survivor volunteer speaker.

Les worked with Central administration to initiate the symposium and they agreed that Manny’s story was not only for students, but it was important for faculty to hear as well. 

Since 2009, this annual conference has offered students a unique chance to engage directly with Holocaust survivors and foster awareness about this historical event. Each year, faculty advisors of the Jewish Student Union, Mr. Michael Horwits (251), Mr. William Graham, and Ms. Ashley Zeserman, work to facilitate this impactful experience for the students.

Listening to the distinct and poignant narratives of multiple survivors provides students with an opportunity for reflection, igniting conversations about our role in preserving history and our responsibilities to society in the years to come.

Chuck Feldman, 229, who serves as the President of the Board of Directors of HAMEC (Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center) in Elkins Park, PA has assisted with the symposium for years.

Chuck shared that he enjoys coming back to Central each year for this educational program, which provides an opportunity for today’s students to hear from Holocaust Survivors like Mr. Mandel speak about this important historical event and its relevance.

Speaking on the work of HAMEC, Chuck exclaimed,

In just the last 12 years our programs with Survivors providing first hand testimony of the horrors they experienced have reached over 370,000 middle and high school students throughout Pennsylvania, the United States and the entire world.

Let’s unite as Central Alumni to build a future free from hate – together, our collective strength can make a lasting impact. 🤝