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Her story: Andrea Klepetar Fallek

At age 98, she found she had a lot to say

People behind the science

Date: October 23, 2018
Weizmann Magazine Volume 14
Andrea Klepetar Fallek (left) with former Institute President Prof. Haim Harari and his wife Elfi.

Andrea Klepetar Fallek (left) with former Institute President Prof. Haim Harari and his wife Elfi.

At age 98, Andrea Klepetar Fallek sat down to write her memoirs, My Story, and found she had much to say. Born in Austria in 1920, she moved to Yugoslavia on the eve of World War II. She survived the Holocaust while crisscrossing through Yugoslavia, Croatia, and Italy, but her first husband was killed. Ms. Klepetar Fallek continued to move around throughout her life, arriving in Israel in 1948; she has also lived in Argentina, Switzerland, and, in recent decades, New York City. She married three more times, and maintains a network of friends across the globe.

As described in her memoirs, her experiences culminated, in part, with a friendship she began with the Weizmann Institute two decades ago. She and her late husband Fred Fallek established a professorial chair for Prof. Hadassa Degani, of the Department of Biological Regulation. That decision was taken after Ms. Klepetar Fallek became interested in the scientist’s work on a non-invasive, MRI-based method to detect breast and prostate cancers, which, after FDA approval, became accepted protocol for detection of these cancers worldwide.

“I became very enthusiastic about [this] wonderful organization,” she writes. “My connection to the Weizmann Institute became very important to me and very positive.” 

A close friend, who penned the book’s preface, wrote of Ms. Klepetar Fallek: “Philanthropy comes with a mantle of responsibility and Andrea wears it well. She exemplifies what it means to give. It is not only that she is a generous supporter of the arts but that she puts her gifts where her heart and ideas live.”