Firsthand Account

A Holocaust survivor tells her story at UW-Eau Claire

Thom Fountain

While researchers and historians can write in-depth, detailed accounts of major historical events, no academic can truly capture the experience of living through something, of witnessing a piece of history as it happens. Gerda Weissmann Klein lived through the Holocaust. Since the three horrifying years Weissmann Klein spent in labor camps, she has spent her life telling her story, first in an autobiography All But My Life – which she released in 1957 – and later in film and in live settings. Weissmann Klein was born in Poland and lived there until the rise of the Nazi party in 1939. She lived in fear for three years and was sent to a number of labor camps from 1942-1945 until she was liberated at the end of World War II. When she was found, she weighed only 68 pounds and had witnessed countless murders in the concentration camps, including that of her closest friend. She ended up marrying one of the U.S. soldiers who liberated her and moved to the United States, where she began writing and sharing her experiences in an attempt to prevent such a horrendous tragedy from happening again. In 2011, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal Of Freedom for her work as “an author, a historian and a crusader for tolerance.” Weissmann Klein will be bringing her life story to UW-Eau Claire on Oct. 1 as part of the university’s Forum Series.

The Forum Series - Gerda Weissmann Klein: “One Survivor Remembers” • Oct. 1 • Schofield Auditorium, UW-Eau Claire • 7:30pm • $8 general public, $6 62 and older, $4 students • 836-3727