Jewish immigrant and Holocaust survivor Hank R. Schwab passed away on Thursday, March 28. The former member of the Chicago Urban League’s board of directors founded the Urban League’s Golden Fellowship Dinner. His personal collection of photographs includes historical figures like Martin Luther King, Whitney Young, Julian Bond, Joe Louis, and Dizzy Gillespie.
He was once quoted saying, “I believe that Jewish and African-American people had the same exact problem in the Holocaust and slavery.”
Andrea L. Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, has issued the following statement:
“All of us at the Chicago Urban League are saddened by the loss of Hank R. Schwab. Hank served on the Chicago Urban League’s board of directors for many years, was a co-founder of our Golden Fellowship Dinner, and was a close friend and ally to Edwin C. “Bill” Berry, who led the Chicago Urban League at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
“Hank immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1939 after escaping the horrors of the Holocaust and became closely linked to the African American struggle for equality. Hank was in attendance at the March on Washington in 1963 and a key supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his crusades against poverty and housing discrimination in Chicago. Hank’s community service involvement continued well into his 90s.
“In 2009 we gave Hank our highest honor, the Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to equality. Hank R. Schwab was a trailblazer who dedicated his life to fighting for educational, economic and social justice for the disenfranchised. He embodied our mission to strengthen African American communities and the city as a whole. We express our deepest condolences to Hank’s family, friends and loved ones. He will be greatly missed.”