Gerda Weissman Klein speaks at a citizenship swearing-in, Mar. 23, 2009, Phoenix, Ariz.

Congratulations to Gerda Weissman Klein, a Scottsdale resident who this week was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

People who receive the award have made significant contributions “to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

It is the highest U.S. honor a civilian can receive.

As the story describes it:

Among the honorees was Weissmann Klein, a Holocaust survivor.

“As an author, a historian and a crusader for tolerance, she has taught the world that it is often in our most hopeless moments that we discover the extent of our strength and the depth of our love,” Obama said of Weissmann Klein.

The 86-year-old author, humanitarian and public speaker in 2008 founded Citizenship Counts, an organization dedicated to engaging young people in civics education and the responsibilities of citizenship. “All But My Life,” her 1958 memoir of her survival of Nazi persecution, formed the basis for the Academy Award-winning documentary, “One Survivor Remembers.”

Weissmann Klein was born in Poland and separated from her family when the Germans invaded. She endured six years in labor and concentration camps and a 350-mile forced march. In 1945, Kurt Klein, a German-born U.S. soldier, rescued her and they married. She later became a U.S. citizen.

Here at the State Bar of Arizona and Arizona Attorney Magazine, we know Gerda.

In the magazine, we have covered Citizenship Counts, in which retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has also been involved. Here is a story we ran about a 2009 citizenship swearing-in that counted Gerda Weissman Klein and Justice O’Connor among its speakers.

And a few years ago, Klein delivered a great speech at the annual Bar Convention. Her story, and her commitment to furthering good causes, is remarkable. Well done.