One Of Our Finest
By John W. Huey Jr./Managing Editor

(FORTUNE Magazine) – When the horrors of the Holocaust were most pressing in wartime Europe, Carol Junge was a high school girl in Cole Camp, Mo.--a little town in the middle of nowhere, settled by German immigrants. Today Carol Junge Loomis, the distinguished FORTUNE writer, recalls that her biggest worries were "my next volleyball game and whether my boyfriend would be able to get enough gasoline to go out on the weekend."

More than 50 years later, while playing Internet bridge with her pal Warren Buffett and someone first known to her only as Threeno (as in "three no trump"), Carol picked up the trail of some people roughly her age who had been enduring unspeakable evil during that period. Threeno, it developed, was one Albert Abramson, a "founder" of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., a designation signifying that he'd donated at least a million dollars to the cause. Through Abramson, she learned that there were five men among the founders who had actually been in the death camps, come to America, and made enough money to give at least a million of it away. "It sounded like a story to me," she says with typical understatement.

It took Carol two years to piece together these remarkable tales. Some, no doubt, will question why a business magazine like FORTUNE would dredge up such a horrible subject a half-century after the fact, and on our cover, no less. It's a legitimate question, best answered by turning to the story, with its compelling narrative and stunning black-and-white portraits shot by by Michael O'Neill, one of FORTUNE's favorite photographers. We believe it to be among the finest pieces of journalism this magazine has ever run.