SD Holocaust survivors share stories at UCSD

Series to include five presentations from local survivors at public events from April 15 to May 20

Five local Holocaust survivors will recount their personal experiences during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany in "Discovering History: Holocaust Survivors in San Diego," a series of presentations being held by UC San Diego's Holocaust Living History Workshop, a joint effort of the UCSD Judaic Studies Program and the UCSD Libraries.

Local Holocaust survivors who will participate in the presentations include: Lou Dunst and Hilda Pierce, who will kick-off the series on April 15; Gussie Zaks on April 22; Benjamin Midler on May 6; and Dr. Edith Eger on May 20.

At the presentations, members of the campus community and the public will have the opportunity to meet the survivors and hear their stories and also learn about other survivors' testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, which includes the personal stories of more than 50,000 survivors of the Holocaust.

All presentations will take place at 5 p.m. in the UCSD Geisel Library Electronic Classroom (Room 274) on the main floor of the Geisel Library building.

At the April 15 presentation, Lou Dunst will discuss his experiences as a survivor of the ghetto at Mateszalka and the Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Ebensee concentration camps. Dunst arrived in San Diego in 1951, where he has been a successful merchant and real estate investor.

He has been active in the San Diego community, sharing his story with various schools and community groups. He has also taken San Diego-area teens to Poland and Israel on "March of Living" trips.

Hilda Pierce will also share her personal memories at the April 15 event. Pierce, who was born in Vienna, Austria, fled to England with the assistance of the Jewish Children's Refugee Committee.

Pierce, who came to the U.S. in 1940, is a popular professional painter-her portrait of founding University Librarian Melvin J. Voigt hangs in the lobby of the Geisel Library building- and the author of a recently published memoir, Hilda: A True Story of Terror, Tears and Triumph.

On April 22, Gussie Zaks, a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen, Flossenburg, Blechhammer, Saybusch, and Neusalz concentration camps, will relay her personal story.

Gussie travels throughout the San Diego community speaking to students, synagogues, and other community groups. She is also the president of the New Life Club for Holocaust survivors in San Diego.

The May 6 event will feature Ben Midler, who survived the Bialystok ghetto and the Blizyn, Majdanek, Ohrdruf, Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Potsdam-Babelsburg, and Oraniensberg concentration camps. He also fought during the formation of the State of Israel after WWII and has a published memoir, The Story of a Child Survivor from Bialystok, Poland.

The May 20 presentation will focus on the remembrances of Edith Eger, a survivor of the Auschwitz, Gunskirchen, and Mauthausen concentration camps. Eger, who came to the U.S. with her husband and daughter in 1949, earned her PhD in psychology and now has her own psychotherapy practice and an appointment at UC San Diego.

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