Faculty & Staff

Deborah Lauter, Executive Director

Deborah Lauter was appointed Executive Director of The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Education and Human Rights (TOLI) in August 2022.

She brings three decades of nonprofit and government leadership in civil and human rights, inter-group relations, and anti-bias education. Deborah provides strategic management and vision to grow the organization’s domestic and international professional development programs that empower educators to use the lens of the Holocaust to foster social responsibility in future generations.

Deborah served in senior management at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for 18 years, including as Senior Vice President, where she oversaw ADL’s domestic programs on anti-bias and Holocaust education, civil rights, extremism, and hate on the internet. In 2019, the Mayor of New York City appointed her to create and lead the NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, the first of its kind in the country. Deborah is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and received her J.D. from Cardozo School of Law.

A native Californian who lived in Atlanta for a number of years, she now resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she is active in civic affairs.

Sondra Perl, Senior Director, US Programs

Sondra Perl is Professor Emerita at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. An acclaimed teacher, she is the author of six books and the recipient of both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Carnegie Foundation’s Professor of the Year award. Perl’s desire to explore the difficult subject of the Holocaust began in 1996 when she was invited to teach in Austria, a journey she chronicles in On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate. Ever since, she has been involved in post-Holocaust dialogue with members of the second and third generations in the United States and in Europe. Contact: sperl@tolinstitute.org

To read an excerpt from On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hateclick here.

Andrea Elliott, Director, US Programs (Incoming)

Andrea Elliott, Ed.D. is transitioning into the role of US Director of Programs.. Andrea is an educator with over 20 years of experience including social studies classroom teaching, curriculum writing, curriculum alignment, and assessment design. She worked extensively with Holocaust survivors in developing stand alone social studies courses on the Holocaust & Genocide and in editing their memoirs for publication. In addition, Andrea has expertise in data collection, literature review, stakeholder engagement, data analysis, cooperative teamwork, and writing for diverse audiences. She completed undergraduate degrees in History and German Language, and a Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum Development, with honors theses completed at both levels. 

Recently, Andrea earned a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations from Vanderbilt University culminating in Capstone research of how the student academic placement process can affect equity in the classroom.

Jennifer Lemberg, Associate Director, US Programs

Jennifer Lemberg received her Ph.D. in English and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She also holds a certificate from the International Trauma Studies Program, and has published essays on Holocaust literature, American Indian literature, graphic novels, and television studies. In addition to her work with TOLI, Jennifer has taught interdisciplinary seminars, composition, American women’s literature, and American Indian literature. Her co-edited volume with Alexander Pope, Becoming a Holocaust Educator: Purposeful Pedagogy Through Inquiry, published by Teachers College Press and the National Writing Project, was released in October 2021.

Contact: jlemberg@tolinstitute.org

Oana Nestian Sandu, Director, International Programs

Oana Nestian-Sandu has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and vast experience developing educational programs for teachers, youth and civil servants in Europe, the United States and MENA region. Her fields of interest are: human rights education, Holocaust education, intercultural education and education for democratic citizenship. She consults for the Council of Europe, the United Nations and IHRA. Oana joined TOLI in 2014, in order to expand its programs at the international level. She developed an interdisciplinary approach combining Holocaust education, human rights education and intercultural education, with the aim to develop teachers’ and students’ critical understanding of history and empower them to act for human rights. Oana is a strong believer in the power of cooperation and has built a wide network of partners who are contributing to promoting this approach and supporting teachers throughout Europe.

Here you can access the handbook for teachers, Learning from the Past, Acting for the Future – An Interdisciplinary approach to Holocaust, Human Rights and Intercultural Education.

Wendy Zagray Warren, Satellite Program Coordinator

For over 25 years, Wendy Zagray Warren has facilitated learning opportunities for first graders through graduate students. While teaching middle school, Wendy realized the importance of Holocaust education as vehicle for awakening empathy and allowing students to consider their own humanity. This and her growing commitment to Indian Education for All, a Montana educational mandate, drew her to the work of the TOLI in 2009. In 2015, Wendy earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. She is honored to serve as TOLI’s Regional Program Coordinator, working in community with the brilliant educators who facilitate Satellite Seminars around the nation. Wendy is also director of the Forestry Outreach Center at Berea College in Berea, KY, and is author of An Illusion of Equity: The Legacy of Eugenics in Today’s Education.

Ildiko Kope, Office Manager & Administrative Assistant

Ildiko Kope began her work with the organization in the early 90s as founder Olga Lengyel’s personal assistant. It was her friendship with and devotion to Olga that inspired her to help make Olga’s vision a reality long after her death. Today, Ildiko works as TOLI’s office manager and administrative assistant, serving the needs of teachers, staff, faculty and board members. Ildiko did her undergraduate studies in Computer Science at City College and she holds a BS in Real Estate and Metropolitan Development from Baruch College.

Victoria Fabisch, Director of Development

Victoria Fabisch has over 20 years of experience as an administrator in higher education and nonprofits, working in development, grants management, and research.  Her strengths in project management, collaboration, team building, and stewardship are critical aspects of how she approaches her pursuits.  Victoria has a lifelong interest in Holocaust studies and human rights, strengthened by her European grandparents who fled Germany and Austria in the 1930s.  She received a BA in Economics from Brandeis University and an Ed.M. in Higher Education Administration from Harvard University.

Contact: vfabisch@tolinstitute.org

Oana Bajka, Associate Director, International Programs

Oana Bajka has made it her life’s mission to create learning opportunities and build support systems for people belonging to various groups, such as teachers, young people, women and people from minority communities, especially Roma and migrants. Having always worked in multicultural environments and interdisciplinary teams, she promotes intercultural values and human rights. She leads the TOLI Impact Grant Program for European teachers, working with several hundred teachers who are graduates of TOLI seminars in Europe, and co-leads several national and international seminars. She also works as Project Manager at the Intercultural Institute Timisoara, Romania and has an M.A. in Political Science.

Tena Banjeglav, Associate Director, Education and Development, International Programs

Tena Banjeglav holds an M.A. degree in History. She has worked as a teacher for several years and has recently shifted her focus to training and research. She works with young people, youth workers, and teachers in formal and non-formal education settings on topics related to contemporary history, civic education, human rights education, and peace education. Tena has joined TOLI in order to support the growing Community of Practice and diversification of programs in Europe. Based in Zagreb, she leads the TOLI seminar for teachers in Croatia and works as the Educational Program Coordinator for Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past. She is the co-author of the Guide to Zagreb in the Second World War.

At TOLI, we value all employees and job candidates as unique individuals, and we welcome the variety of experiences they bring.  As such, we have a strict, non-discrimination policy.  We believe everyone should be treated equally regardless of race, sex, gender identification, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by law.  

Contact

For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact info@tolinstitute.org

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)

The Memorial Library

The home of TOLI is at the Memorial Library building located on Manhattan's East side.