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Gerda Weissmann to Deliver KSC Holocaust Memorial Lecture

KEENE, N.H., 9/15/09 - Holocaust survivor, author, and scholar Gerda Weissmann Klein will present Keene State College’s 12th Annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture on Monday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center.

Gerda Weissmann’s life changed forever in 1939 when, at age 15, German troops invaded her home in Beilsko, Poland. Both Gerda and her brother, Arthur, were separated from their parents and sent to slave labor camps. Her resilience supported her through three successive years in slave-labor camps and a forced 350-mile death-march in which 2,000 women were subjected to exposure, starvation, and arbitrary execution. Throughout, she never lost the will to survive. In 1945, she was rescued at the point of starvation by her future husband, Kurt Klein, an American intelligence officer.

Weissmann has lectured throughout the country and has written several books, including her autobiography, All But My Life. A documentary about her experiences during the Holocaust, One Survivor Remembers, won an Academy Award in 1996. Another film that features her story is shown regularly at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and CBS Sunday Morning and was featured on 60 Minutes and Nightline. On January 27, 2006, Gerda addressed the United Nations General Assembly on its first International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Fourteen members of Gerda Klein’s family, including her parents and brother, were killed at Auschwitz.

The Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College, recognized as a “center of excellence” by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, has a strong collection of print and media resources, and holds a biennial residential summer institute for educators. It supports the only BA in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the United States. One of the nation’s oldest Holocaust resource centers, it is a nonsectarian organization dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust. It fulfills founder Dr. Charles Hildebrandt’s charge, “to remember … and to teach,” through annual community programming and educational outreach activities.

For a schedule of workshops, in-service training, classroom presentations, and individual curriculum consultations, visit The Holocaust Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Cohen Center at 603-358-2490.

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