WWII refugee, writer to be lauded at federation awards ceremony

Hans David Schonwald, who fled Nazi Germany, and writer Susan Golovin have been named recipients of two separate awards for their contributions to the Jewish community in the South Bay.

Schonwald will receive the eighth annual Harvey Koch Leadership Award and Golovin will get the second annual Jim Brooks Achievement Award in a ceremony Thursday at the Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto. Both awards are sponsored by the South Peninsula region of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation.

Schonwald, who is in his early 90s, has been a volunteer in the region for more than 30 years. The German-born Holocaust refugee came to San Francisco in 1946 after living in Manila for about eight years. He now lives in Palo Alto.

He managed to leave Germany in 1938 just as Hitler was tightening his noose around Europe, after his sister-in-law's uncle sponsored his move to Manila. However, Schonwald ended up going from one battle zone to another, as the Japanese commandeered the Philippines and occupied Manila following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Schonwald is president and leader of the ALSJCC Thursday seniors group.

Golovin, a resident of Atherton, is the second recipient of the Jim Brooks Award, designated for a community leader under age 50. She has served on a number of boards including the ALSJCC and Temple Beth Jacob in Redwood City. She's currently a member of the South Peninsula region's Jewish Council and is a Jewish Bulletin board member.

In addition to her volunteer work, Golovin is a writer and editor in the Jewish community. She launched and edited the newspaper Connections for the ALSJCC, she's edited the federation's South Peninsula newsletter, D'varim, and she co-edited the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California's literary supplement.

The Koch Award honors the memory of Harvey Koch, former president of the ALSJCC and Congregation Beth Am, and first president of the JCF's South Peninsula Council. The Brooks Award honors the memory Jim Brooks, who died in 1995 and had also been an ALSJCC president.

Both awards are made possible by the Koch family, who established an award fund under the aegis of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund.

During the ceremony, tribute also will be paid to campaign volunteers and outgoing South Peninsula leaders.