Elected Member of the Interfaith Council of the Contra Costa County
Celia Menczel was born in London, England, in 1940, weeks before the Blitz began. Her most significant influence in life was her mother, who had escaped from Vienna to London with the aid of righteous gentiles, and her English father, who had volunteered in the British Army and was terribly wounded in Normandy. Her mother emphasized the importance of forgiving but not forgetting the Holocaust, while her father taught the futility of war.
As a result of the suffering she witnessed, in her Jewish faith, Menczel has tried to be a pacifist and better understand “the other.” After WWII, her family immigrated to Canada, where she received her education and became a nurse before immigrating to the United States in 1962.
She worked in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and California for the Veterans Administration and Kaiser Hospital. She has also been a bookstore owner and a foster parent—but the role closest to her heart is that of grandmother.