Meet the Board Members

The Board of American Friends of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace

CHAIR'S CORNER Drawing from Experience by Sarah Heim

My involvement with ARSP began in 2007, when I spent a year volunteering as a researcher and tour guide at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site in Germany. My job gave me the opportunity to connect with young people and engage them in deep conversations about the Holocaust and how we can apply lessons from the past to problems we face today. I also had the honor of working with several survivors, who generously spent their retirements bearing witness to the horrors they experienced during the Holocaust, while also fighting anti-semitism and other forms of discrimination in today’s society.

On a personal level, I feel deeply connected with ARSP’s mission of fostering intercultural communication and learning from our past. As an international volunteer in Germany, I was often confronted with the term”Vergangenheitsbewältigung,” which roughly translates to “the struggle to overcome or grapple with the past.” ARSP’s work pushes volunteers to think critically about past wrongs while also focusing on ways to build a more peaceful and just world in the present. It emphasizes the importance of interpersonal relationships and dialogue to promote understanding across cultures and generations. And it empowers young people to identify and fight injustices in their own communities.After my year of service, I returned to the States, completed my education,and eventually moved to Brooklyn, NY. I always felt connected with ARSP’s work and mission, so I was thrilled when asked to join the Board.

For several years, I helped to mentor young German volunteers who were working with project partners in New York City. Although I recently relocated to Vermont, I hope to remain engaged with the volunteers and find new ways to support ARSP’s work.In the coming years, I look forward to working with our Program Director and the Board to strengthen ARSP’s work in the United States. The Board is actively discussing ways in which we can lend additional support to our project partners, volunteers, and host families. I encourage other Boardmembers, project partners, former volunteers, and anyone interested in becoming more involved with ARSP to reach out to me with any questions or ideas you’d like to share.

Let’s make this world a better place


Sarah Heim



The Board Members of the American Friends of ARSP

In 1998, in response to a growing interest from United States supporters, American Friends of ARSP (a 501(c)3 non-profit agency) was born. Through this network of friends, ARSP is continually expanding its service and educational outreach, public relations, and fundraising work in the United States. Its board members are also active in recruiting American volunteers for volunteer service in Germany

Sarah Heim

Sarah Heim is a litigation lawyer based in Burlington, Vermont. She is a former ARSP volunteer at the memorial in Dachau. She began mentoring ARSP volunteers in New York and is the current chair of the Board of Friends of ARSP.

Rachel Falkove

Rachel Falkove is the executive director of PIHN (Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network). She has been the former Board president and a project partner for many years.

Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow

Sara Paasche-Orlow is a rabbi and chaplain living in Newton MA. She and her family have a deep connection to ARSP, as Franz v. Hammerstein, an ARSP founder, was her beloved great uncle. She served as the Director of Spiritual Care at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston where 17 years ago with Franz’s help she established it as a project partner, worked closely with volunteers, and most recently served as a host family .

Mark McGuigan

Mark McGuigan is on the Board of the German-American Society in Philadelphia. He is well-connected with other non-profits in the Philadelphia area such as the Diaper Bank. He was the former US program director of ARSP.

Lynn Esch Williams

From 2012 until 2014 I worked with the Protestant Church of Reconciliation as a volunteer for ARSP at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. I learned so much and was honored to hear the stories of former prisoners. The rise of neo-Nazi and other extreme right-wing groups puts anyone who is different from them or who thinks differently from them at risk. That is why it is important to me to advocate for ARSP. We must keep the truth about what happened alive and that is done with education and with service to others.”

Emily Mohney

Emily Mohney is the Registrar at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, near Chicago. She is a former ARSP volunteer at the Neuengamme memorial and worked with the elderly Jewish/Survivor community in Hamburg, Germany

Ellen Lederman

Ellen Lederman and her husband Richard have nurtured our volunteers for many years. Her professional career as an occupational therapist involved working with people from various socioeconomic , cultural and religious backgrounds and a variety of physical and psychological disabilities.

Dr. Eckardt Johanning

Dr. Eckhardt Johanning is a medical doctor and public health specialist. Dr. Johanning was one of the first German ARSP volunteers in the US in the early 1970s where he volunteered for the Farmer’s Union.

Dr. Maryjo Fink

Dr. Mary Jo Fink is a medical doctor and teacher at Columbia University where she continues to work with students, in particular with asylum applicants. Dr. Fink is a longtime supporter and host family in the New York area. She serves on the board as treasurer.

Dr. Ralf Wiedemann

Ralf Wiedemann is an immigration lawyer and the Honorary Consul of Germany in Philadelphia. He has advised ARSP volunteers for many years on Visa issues and provided legal services.

Debbie Linick

Debbie Linick served more than a decade in government service in Congress, DoD and the Department of State. She was also a lobbyist for the Jewish community, organizer of regional Holocaust commemorations and intergroup relations. She began volunteering with ARSP in 2015 in Washington DC.

Bob Byrne

Bob Byrne
Bob Byrne is the Director of Operations at PIHN (Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network). Bob has closely worked with and supervised our ARSP volunteers for the past years.

Britta Faust-Burak

Britta Faust-Burak
Britta Faust-Burak is a Financial Advisor in New York City. Britta has been a host family to our volunteers at Selfhelp in New York since 2016. She is active in the Jewish and German communities in the city. Britta grew up in Germany and has been living in the US since 2006.

Claus Petersen

Claus Petersen is connected to Luigi Toscano’s „Lest we forget“ and helps Toscano exhibit portraits of Holocaust survivors in open-air exhibits. Claus and his wife Laura have been a trusted “host family” to many ARSP volunteers and active in the Philly community.


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