Dutch American Heritage Award 2003 Recipient
Bram Benjamins was born in the Netherlands. In 1954, at the age of 27 and after reading John Gunther’s “Inside USA”, he migrated with his wife and young daughter to California and started two successful businesses in aerospace and exotic metals trading and precious metals refining. In 1987 he retired from these two businesses and retained an industrial leasing operation.
During the war years Bram and his parents and sister spent two years in hiding. Following the war he finished high school and studied at the University of Utrecht. In 1975 Bram started taking singing lessons from Mario Lanza and subsequently sang the lead in several operas, including Figaro and Rigoletto, at the Santa Monica Civic Opera.
He has been a board member of the Netherlands American Society and has for many years sponsored the annual Queen’s birthday at his home in Beverly Hills. He also has hosted summer parties for the California Children Holocaust Survivors.
Bram has two children, daughter Shulamith and son Matt. His wife Hilde perished in a tragic plane crash in 1972. In 1982 Cleo Robinson, a mezzo-soprano, joined Bram as his partner.