2008 New York State Senate Woman of Distinction


The NYS Senate 2008 Woman of Distinction Award was presented by State Senator Dean Skelos to Marion Blumenthal Lazan at a festive ceremony at the State Capitol in Albany on Tuesday evening, June 3, 2008.

The Women of Distinction program was created in 1998 as part of the Senate`s celebration of Women`s History Month. It honors exceptional achievement, personal excellence and outstanding, courageous, and heroic actions on the part of individual women from across the state. Each honoree`s photograph and biography has become part of a special exhibit proclaiming the unique contributions of exemplary women in New York. The women honored represent a small sample of the countless women who have enriched the quality of life in the Empire State and beyond.

Marion began speaking publicly about her Holocaust experiences in 1979; her memoir, Four Perfect Pebbles, co-authored by Lila Perl, was published in 1996. Upwards of one million students and adults in schools, organizations and houses of worship have personally heard her messages of tolerance and respect. 

Marion gives a moving, first hand account of the Blumenthal`s family`s life from events preceding Kristallnacht, to incarceration in Nazi concentration camps, and finally, to liberation. She asks her audiences to be tolerant of others, and not stereotype individuals based on religious belief, color, race, or national origin. Marion stresses the importance of positive thinking as well as creativity and inner strength to overcome adversity. She warns her listeners to be true to themselves, and not blindly follow the leader.

It gives me great pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment to accompany Marion on her many visits throughout the country and beyond.

I would like you to know that, although Marion does not seek honors & awards, that if this award helps people focus on Holocaust awareness, and the need for tolerance and respect towards one another in our world, then the honor will have served a good purpose.

And, G-D willing, on August 2, Marion & I will celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary! Where have the years gone?

Best wishes to you all,
Nathaniel Lazan

Photo of Marion flanked by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and Senator Dean Skelos