I rise today to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Mrs. Kitty Williams, a Holocaust survivor and tireless advocate, as our Iowan of the Week. Mrs. Williams is a resident of Council Bluffs, Iowa. She is a public speaker who travels to schools with the goal of educating the youth of America about her experiences as a survivor and to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust and the horrors of hate, bigotry, and discrimination are never forgotten. She is described as extremely resilient and tough as nails and I couldn’t be more proud of the work she has done to educate youth and people from all walks of life.
Through Kitty’s imprisonment at Auschwitz and later in Allendorf, she endured unspeakable atrocities. While she suffered greatly, she survived and worked to make a life for herself. She ultimately made her way to the United States. In her first marriage she experienced heartbreak and the loss of her son. She had been pressured to hide her Jewish heritage and her past but struggled to deny her heritage and the horror she experienced. Eventually, she became a working single mother and trained bank tellers. She remarried and found a loving husband who embraced her past.
Through a challenging life, Kitty has persevered and survived. She has taken these experiences and – despite great heartache and trials – has touched the lives of countless individuals and made a lasting impact on the lives of those she interacts with. While the pandemic had brought a halt to her ability to do presentations, she has since been able to secure a vaccine and fully intends to continue her work at the age of 96 educating and giving speeches to school children.
During Women’s History Month it is crucial to remember the hard-fought rights and freedoms gained by women like Kitty. Her bravery and determination highlight the efforts taken by those who came before us. While stories like Kitty’s aren’t often told or shared, her grit and force of will show how women can and must persist.
We can never forget our past and the atrocities that have been committed as there are still too many instances of bigotry and hate occurring today. It is through stories like Kitty’s that we can bridge the experiences of those in the past and connect to the battles still to come.
Kitty’s efforts to educate others and be an advocate is inspiring and I hope she can soon return to schools to remind the next generation to stay vigilant in the face of adversity and to be allies to those who face discrimination. I am proud to represent constituents like Kitty Williams, who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and ensure the next generation doesn’t forget the past. In this third week of Women’s History Month, I couldn’t be happier to name Ms. Kitty Williams our Iowan of the Week.