A Legacy of Compassion

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The logo for Magen David Odom, Israel’s delegate of the International Red Cross.

Yesterday, January 27, 2020, marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Both Helen and Sam Tramiel (Trzmiel) survived the camp and transferred to displaced person camps in Germany. Before they met, Helen and Sam both received aid from the International Red Cross, and then together – after the war – they received Red Cross assistance again in the United States.

Jack died in 2012, and Helen followed in May 2019, but not before they left $500,000 to the Red Cross in their wills.

“Charitable giving has always been a part of the family,” says Sam, their son. “We were taught to give where people need it.”

Of the Red Cross Sam says, “You can look all over the world and see their response. They are there at the drop of a hat.”

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Helen and Jack in Paris, 2009.

Throughout their lives, the Tramiels made many gifts to the Red Cross. They successfully advocated for Magen David Adom to receive formal recognition as a member of the International Red Cross. Magen David Odom is Israel’s national ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization, serving as emergency medical first-responders for the state’s 8.8 million people.

“They were clear that Red Cross affiliation was not a political issue,” says Sam. “The Red Cross is a giving entity.”

The Tramiels raised their three sons on the Lower East Side in Manhattan then moved the family to Kew Gardens, Queens. Sam became involved in tech, playing a significant role in the launch of Commodore computers. He and Helen moved permanently to the Bay Area in 1968. Jack’s company, Tramel Technology, would go on to launch Atari as we know it today.

The Tramiels’ love story changed a generation, and the Red Cross helped to shape theirs. The Red Cross is grateful for their ongoing support and for the opportunity to have played a compassionate role in their lives.

For more information on legacy giving, please click here.