Jona Goldrich, a well-known supporter of Jewish institutions in the Los Angeles area, was a Holocaust survivor who fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
Goldrich was born Jona Goldreich in 1927 in Lvov, Poland, which is today part of Ukraine. When he was just 15 years-old, he and his brother Avram traveled across Europe to Israel to escape the Nazis in 1942.
He spent the next 11 years in Israel, as a soldier fighting for Israel’s independence and earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Israel’s Technion Institute of Technology.
In 1952, he traveled to the United States, making his way to the Los Angeles area with only $50 to his name. He changed his name to Goldrich, and started working as installing screens in Los Angeles. Just two years late he started his own company, Active Cleaning & Maintenance. Only three years later Goldrich developed his first property, and apartment building in North Hollywood.
Through the years Goldrich made his more in Southern California real estate.
His influence in Los Angeles was not confined merely to real estate. He was a large supporter of Jewish institutions, and still is through the Goldrich Family Foundation. The foundation is endowed with over $100 million, and supports a huge range of causes, from research hospitals and local schools to organizations in Israel.
One of Goldrich’s largest contributions was as the force behind the creation of LAMOTH, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park.
“He wanted people to experience history in the present,” said Samara Hutman, executive director of LAMOTH. “[He wanted] people to remember the people who are no longer with us, and if we don’t tell their stories, no one will.”
Jona Goldrich passed away in 2016, leaving behind his wife of 56 years, two daughters, a brother in Israel, and grandchildren.