is an award-winning lecturer, author, and activist for Palestinian human rights. She works as National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of more than 400 organizations working for justice and equality in Palestine/Israel. Baltzer has appeared on television more than 100 times and lectured at more than 500 universities, schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, and policy institutes around the world. She is author of the book, Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.
Epstein was born to a Jewish family in Freiburg, Germany, and in 1939 fled Nazi persecution via the Kindertransport to England. All but two of her family were killed at Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust. During World War II she worked in munitions factories and joined a group of left-wing German Jewish refugees who hoped to re-introduce democracy in their homeland – "the foundation of my political education which still stands me in good stead today," she says. Some 60 years later, she was interviewed about this experience for the film Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport.
After the war, Epstein worked with the Allied occupying forces in Germany, including working on the Doctors' Trial at Nuremberg. In 1948 she immigrated to New York City, then moved toMinneapolis, and then to St. Louis, Missouri. There, she took up activism for affordable housing, the pro-choice movement, and the antiwar movement. In 1982, news reports of the Sabra and Shatila massacres committed by a Lebanese Phalangist militia with the complicity of the IDF, during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, "horrified" Epstein. Her reaction was to take a different perspective on the Arab–Israeli conflict; she began to express opposition to Israel's military policies. In 2001, she founded a St. Louis chapter of the Women in Black, an anti-war group that originally focused on Israel's occupation. In 2003 she traveled to the West Bank to work with the International Solidarity Movement. She has returned once a year since, claiming to "CounterPunch" that she had been strip searched and cavity searched in 2004 by guards at Ben Gurion International Airport.