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10th Holocaust Memorial Lecture

An Evening with Holocaust Survivor

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Ernest W. Michel with reflections by Holocaust scholar Hubert Locke

Delivered: Monday, September 17, 2007

Ernest W. Michel Born in Germany, Ernest Michel was sent to his first concentration camp in 1939 at age 16. After nearly six years in some of the most notorious Nazi camps – Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna-Monowitz, Buchenwald, Berga – he escaped from a death march before the end of World War II. He became a special correspondent for the German News Agency DANA at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, and his articles appeared in German newspapers carrying the byline "Auschwitz Survivor #104995."

Michel arrived in the United States as a displaced person in 1946. After working for a small town newspaper, he began a 50-year career with the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). He served as executive vice president of the UJA-Federation of New York, the largest citywide fund-raising organization in the country, from 1970 to 1989.

In 1960, as chairman of the first Auschwitz Survivors Dinner held in this country, he was invited to meet President Dwight Eisenhower at the White House. He was chairman of the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Israel in 1981, which brought together 6,000 survivors from 23 countries and four continents. His autobiography, Promises to Keep, was published in 1993.

Promises to Keep, One Man’s Journey Against Incredible Odds! By Ernest W. Michel Foreword by Leon Uris Now Available at The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Mason Library Price: $15.00 (please make checks payable to: CCHS)

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Hubert Locke Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs and Dean Emeritus of the Evans School of Public Policy, University of Washington, Hubert Locke is the author and editor of several books and many book chapters in publications concerning race, criminal justice, religion, public policy, and the Holocaust. He has written extensively on German society during the period of National Socialism.

In 1970 he cofounded the Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, an interfaith, interdisciplinary, and international gathering of scholars, educators, clergy, and community leaders devoted to remembering, learning, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust. It is the oldest continuing meeting of its kind in the world and the first to bring together Jewish and Christian scholars.

Professor Locke will offer brief reflections on the need for and significance of Holocaust and genocide studies in our contemporary world.

"It was a chance for students to meet history, when several Gorham High School students travelled to Keene State College recently to listen to Holocaust survivor Ernest Michel."